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Bayside pool lifeguards had no saves all summer until some bunny ruined their streak

Five places to swim for free in Whatcom County

With summer approaching, here are five of the best places to go for a swim in Whatcom County.
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With summer approaching, here are five of the best places to go for a swim in Whatcom County.

With a mid-September seasonal closing fast approaching, lifeguards at the Bayside Swimming Club almost made it through the summer without having any “pullouts” or rescues, general manager Ken Ericson said.

But with the Labor Day weekend looming, that streak was ruined by a hare-brained idea.

A rabbit worked its way under the Edgemoor facility’s fence Friday afternoon, Aug. 30, “freaked out,” and jumped into the 30-foot-by-75-foot outdoor swimming pool — not once, but twice.

“It was one of the more unusual rescues we’ve ever had to make,” Ericson told The Bellingham Herald. “I’ve been here 35 years and never heard anything like that.”

Ericson said pool staffers have found a number of mice in the water over the years, including one that swam laps along the wall next to an adult swimmer.

He even had to “roust” a pair of ducks off the water’s surface who just wanted a place to swim.

But this rabbit was a first.

Ericson, who was not at the pool at the time but learned of the incident from aquatics director and Wade King Elementary fourth-grade teacher Amy Venter, said the pool’s senior guard, Josh Larson, calmly used the pool’s dipping net to safely remove the rabbit from the water and place it on the pool deck.

“They put it down, and then the rabbit freaked out again and jumped right back in the pool,” Ericson said.

So a second time the rabbit was removed using the dipping net, and this time Larson and fellow lifeguard Christina Funk wrapped it in a towel to help calm it. Ericson said they then put the rabbit back under the fence and it ran off, bringing this story to a hoppy ending.

The kids who witnessed the hare-raising incident — Ericson said the pool annually has the most swim lessons in Whatcom County — got pretty excited over the experience, but calmed down once they saw the lifeguards were able to safely get the rabbit out of the pool.

“The rabbit was underage, so it swam free,” Ericson joked about the funny bunny. “Kids under 4 and seniors get in free.”

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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