Westminster Municipal Pool's weekday opening signals start of summer

Bryan Deckelman sat on top of a tall chair, whistle around his neck and life preserver in his lap, watching kids jump and swim around the deep end of Westminster Municipal Pool.

It's Deckelman's first year as a lifeguard, but lifeguarding is a family business. His two older sisters — Alexis and Julia — are also lifeguards at the pool.


Friday marked the first weekday the pool has opened this year, and there were already between 40 and 50 people that came to swim, as of 2 p.m., Alexis, 21, said.

Bryan said he's grown up coming to the Westminster pool. It's close to his house and he would come to swim with his friends. This year, Bryan was finally old enough to join his sisters as a lifeguard.

"So I decided, why not get paid to be here," he said.

Alexis, now a manager at the Westminster pool, has worked as a lifeguard for five years. Her siblings followed in her footsteps, she said, but Bryan, 16, and Julia, 19, clarified that it was their mom's footsteps that they were following.

The Deckelmans said they spend their childhoods around water, coming to the pool before they were old enough to lifeguard.

"We grew up around pools," Alexis said. "I was born May 10, and my mom had me at the pool May 30."

They all swam at least one year on the pool's swim team, and the three "have chlorine in their blood," she said.

As a manager, Alexis is in charge of her two younger siblings, and she said they sometimes have to put away their home problems to focus on work. Other times, it's easy because they are a close-knit family.

And as lifeguards, the three Deckelmans are part of another family. There isn't a huge group of lifeguards at the pool, so they have all become close. The group will hold "family" dinners and breakfasts, Alexis and Bryan said.

It's the family aspect that also keeps manager Glenn Kaufman, 20, at the pool.

"This place, more than any other, is a real family atmosphere, especially among the guards," Kaufman said.

Kaufman has been lifeguarding since he was 14. It's a summer job for him, and his third job. He also works as a sautee chef at Linwoods in Owings Mills and volunteers with the Westminster Volunteer Fire Company. Like the Deckelmans, lifeguarding runs in Kaufman's family — his brother also took up the whistle.

"I've always loved the water since I was a kid. It [lifeguarding] seemed like the natural choice," he said.

Kaufman said the family atmosphere extends past lifeguarding at the pool, which maintains a family-friendly atmosphere.


The pool offers a slide into a pool, as well as a playground outside of the pool for anyone who wants to stay dry. If the slide is closed, kids and adults can jump off the sides of the pool into the water. That's what Landon Rein, 7, was doing Friday afternoon.

Landon's favorite part of the pool is going all the way to the bottom and doing front flips in the water. It was his first time at the pool this summer, "but last summer I went like 20 times," he said.

The pool has been open since Memorial Day, but only on weekends, Kaufman said. It's also been open for the pool's swim team, the Westminster Stingrays, to practice.

A.J., Nathan and Tasia Sebian are all on the Stingrays team. The three Sebian siblings were at the pool Friday with their mom, Beth, and their friends.

Beth Sebian said the family often comes to morning practice, before the pool officially opens, and will pack a lunch and stay a couple of hours after practice when the pool opens to the public.

They were at the pool Friday because it was the kids' first day of summer vacation and it was what they wanted to do, Sebian said.

Tasia, 8, said her favorite part about coming to the pool is coming with friends. She was at the pool with her friend Libby Green, 8.

Libby likes the slide at the Westminster pool, she said.

"It's really fast and you can stop yourself at the bottom [of the slide] and just drop down," Libby said.

Tasia's favorite stroke is breaststroke because she likes that the breaststroke kick looks like frog legs, she said. Libby's favorite is the backstroke.

"I really like going backwards without knowing where I'm going," she said.