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February 16, 2023

Dive into a frigid pool in Fairmount Park to support Philly's lifeguards

The city has struggled to staff its public swimming pools in recent years. The Philly Phreeze fundraiser will pay for new recruitment incentives

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The Philly Phreeze invites intrepid swimmers to raise money and jump into Kelly Pool at Fairmount Park on Saturday, Feb. 25. The fundraiser will pay for new lifeguard recruitment incentives.

With 60-degree days in February, what's the harm in taking a little swim to benefit Philadelphia's public pools?

The city has sought more effective ways to recruit and retain lifeguards. To avoid staffing shortages and pool closures this summer, the city is offering $1,000 bonuses to prospective lifeguards who apply by April 1 and $500 bonuses to those who apply by May 15. 

To fund these bonuses, Parks and Recreation is inviting people to jump into Fairmount Park's Kelly Pool on Saturday, Feb. 25 as part of a fundraiser dubbed The Philly Phreeze.

Participants are asked to solicit donations for their willingness to take a jump or dive into the cold water. Those who raise $50 will get a Philly Phreeze T-shirt. At $100, the prize becomes a T-shirt and a cooler. People who raise $250 will receive the T-shirt, cooler and a beach towel. 

The top overall fundraiser will get to open the city's summer pool season.

It's also possible to simply make a donation to the cause without taking a dive.

Philadelphia has 74 free outdoor swimming pools that require 400 lifeguards and 400 pool maintenance attendants to safely operate.

Last year, Philadelphia's pools were impacted by a broader, national lifeguard shortage that has left many recreational facilities and beaches in a dire position. The city only had 196 certified lifeguards.

In addition to the recruitment bonuses, Parks and Recreation will waive certification fees — typically $110 per person — for trainees ages 16 to 24.

For Philly Phreeze sponsorship information or to make a gift toward the fund, contact

The Philly Phreeze

Saturday Feb. 25, 
John B. Kelly Pool
4231 Lansdowne Dr., Philadelphia, PA 19131