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August 10, 2017 10:00 PM

Sioux Falls Has More Swimmers

Sioux Falls

You might expect with the hot temperatures we've had this summer, that people in Sioux Falls would be flooding the outdoor pools.

Yet, it's also been a busy first summer for the Midco Aquatic Center, where people seeking an indoor swim have pushed up attendance.

A day at the pool.

Not possible, at the Midco Aquatics Center this week.

"Well, it's closed...I'm kind of bummed," swimmer Grace Steffen said. 

These kids actually want to spend a beautiful summer day inside.

For nanny Mataya Otten, the outdoor pool works just fine. 

"It's usually about the same. Today there's not many people because of the weather," Otten said. 

With Laurel Oak Park is in the neighborhood, the Midco Aquatic Center is a hike for Otten and the kids. 

"We haven't been to the indoor pool, no," Otten said. 

"They don't do too well in long car rides, so we like to keep them as close as we can get them," Otten said. 

Which might explain why both the Midco Aquatics Center and the outdoor pools have seen steady attendance all summer. 

"We purposefully, we made the Midco pool, we wanted that to be in a centralized location," Huether said. 

This location puts the aquatic center close to mass transportation. 

"We wanted it to be attractive, usable, and accessible to everyone regardless of where you live in our great city," Huether said. 

Outdoor pools are spaced out around Sioux Falls. 

They service specific neighborhoods, including where Otten babysits.

"The outdoor pools through June and July this year are holding very strong," Parks and Rec director Don Kearney said. 

In July this year, nearly 30,995 people used the Midco Aquatics Center. 

"You'd think that the Midco would be pulling numbers from the outdoor pools, but the outdoor pools are as strong as they were last year," Kearney said. 

When you compare this year to last, July outdoor pool attendance is about the same.

In July 2016, just over 81,058 people went to the outdoor pool. In July 2017, total outdoor attendance was nearly 82,794. 

"We did not know what was going to happen, it's our first year out of the blocks," Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said. 

Parks and Rec officials say, overall they've seen about 30,000 more people at the pools this summer.

"The attendance at the Midco Aquatics Center in my mind, I believe is because of pent-up demand. We've been talking about it for years," Kearny said. 

"This is a topic, Julie, that we've been talking about since 1951," Huether said. 

Kearny says both the outdoor pools...

"The outdoor pools, you know, they're part of a typical Midwestern summer," Kearny said. 

And indoor pools have a place in the community.

"Once and a while, our outdoor facilities will get too crowded, and I know that can keep people away, so maybe it's eased some of the crowds at our outdoor pools," Kearney said. 

For Otten, the outdoor pool has it's perks.

"I like to get a nice tan," Otten said. 

 It's also a way to get the kids to settle down. 

"It's a way for them to get out all their energy, so then when we go home, they fall asleep in the car," Otten said.

A nap. A likely result from pool play time, whether you're inside, or outside. 

It might surprise you to hear that attendance at the outdoor pools for June of 2017 was lower than 2016.

That may be because the outdoor pools in Sioux Falls were closed for five days because of the weather.

Those closures weren't seen last year. 

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