SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As spring draws closer, Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation has already turned its attention to summer.

As the swimmers turn laps inside Midco Aquatic Center, Program Coordinator Jean Pearson is looking to hire additional lifeguards for the outdoor season.

“No time like the present is what I like to say. Once we turn over the calendar for the next year I already get busy lining up interviews, visiting with former staff, interviewing new staff and getting ready to staff the outdoor pools,” Recreation Program Coordinator Jean Pearson said.

She had three interviews on Monday alone and credits recent increases in pay.

“The fact that we are very competitive with other jobs makes us an employer of choice, people will look to us to come to work,” Pearson said.

After increasing lifeguard pay last year, Parks & Rec added another 3% at the start of 2023, bringing starting pay to nearly $16.50 per hour.

“We’re able to attract good, solid staff and then we continue to be very flexible with our scheduling. We know that kids also want to have a summer too, so we work around that and provide both full-time and part-time summer jobs so the kids can still enjoy the summer fun that they look forward to all school year,” Pearson said.

“It’s definitely been really helpful for the past two years, especially with like saving for college and whatnot,” 18-year-old lifeguard Sarah Zino said.

18-year-old Sarah Zino has been a lifeguard for about 18 months. She welcomes every raise but doesn’t do it solely for the money.

“I’ve been an avid fan of helping people and being a supporter so becoming a lifeguard is basically is pretty much the job for me I’d say,” Zino said.

“While this just might be a summer job working at an outdoor pool and making sure kids stay safe, it’s our hope that they’re going to be taking some skills that are going to apply to them later in life as well,” Pearson said.

And the window to apply is currently open.