LONDON, ONT. -- If you want to beat the heat with a swim in a public pool this weekend, be sure to sign up early.

Select public pools begin opening on Saturday, but with COVID-19 protocols in place, there will be far fewer recreational swimmers allowed at any given time.

That’s OK with parent Leacia Monick, who has already booked one of the spots at Thames pool, at Thames Park on Ridout Street, which opens Saturday.

"The nice thing about it now is that they have the ability for you to register for your spot. So they’re only allowing certain numbers of people in. So we feel safer knowing that it’s not going to be jam-packed with people."

Also opening Saturday are the city’s indoor pools at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre on Wonderland Road North and the South London Community Pool on Bradley Avenue.

Further pool openings around the city will take place on Monday, then again next Saturday. For the complete list of pools open for recreational swimming visit the city's FAQ: Recreation Updates.

Parks and Recreation and Aquatics Manager Lynn Loubert said to expect the recreational swimming experience to be a lot different this season, as COVID-19 protocols are implemented.

"That includes asking people to book online for a space, rather than just coming for a recreational swim. Individuals will be screened prior to coming in, and of course we’re limiting the number of people we’re able to have in our pools."

She says diving boards, climbing walls and water slides will not be open in accordance with health and safety precautions surrounding COVID-19.

In the meantime, modified swimming lessons will also be offered at some locations as of Saturday. They will also be downsized because of COVID-19 restrictions, said Loubert.

"Significantly less class numbers in the pool, so our ratios are smaller based on our instructor-to-patron ratio. Very small children will actually have to have an adult in the water to help and assist."

More information on lessons can be found on their website.

Whether it’s swimming lessons or recreational swimming, the two-metre rule for physical distancing applies both inside and outside of the pool, said Loubert.

"A facility like [Gibbons Park pool], families can play together and congregate of course, but our lifeguards will be monitoring and asking people to keep a distance."

Glen Cairn pool, on Chippendale Crescent will not be opening for the season. Right now the street is under construction. Further, Loubert says lifeguards are in short supply.

Oakridge pool on Valetta Street will not be opening either, as the facility is being used as a COVID-19 assessment centre.