SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A lingering post-pandemic downside has been Springfield’s inability to hire enough lifeguards during the summer.

Last summer, Five Mile Pond remained closed, depriving many of its hot weather pleasures but the city had no choice due to the lack of enough lifeguards. This week marked the start of lifeguard training classes at the Milton Bradley School. An indicator foretelling the depth of lifeguard application.

Springfield Aquatic Director Joe Federico told 22News, he can’t make any predictions yet, but there’s something to feel good about, “Too soon to tell but we’re having a lot of returnees from previous summers, they’re coming back for college, now we have a lot of new recruits, another course in April.”

It’s a youthful group of possible lifeguard applicants starting at age of 15, testing themselves by swimming the 300 yards and surface diving to retrieve a ten pound object and returning to the surface.

Joe Federico added, “I find a lot of them step into the role after they get certification and you’d be surprised how quickly they take that responsibility and I think that starts right here while they’re training.”

Of course, Joe Federico will have a much better idea during the follow up training in April. His hopes are high that all who hope to use all of Springfield’s pools and waterways will have a full compliment of lifeguards looking out for their safety.