FAMILIES hoping to make the most of the hot weekend weather in Oxford were forced to queue for more than 90 minutes to get into the city's outdoor swimming pool.

Due to a shortage of lifeguards, just 40 people at a time were allowed into Hinksey Pool, South Oxford, meaning families had to queue outside in the heat to wait for people to leave before they could take a dip.

Rachel Isom, of Botley Road, queued for an hour and 40 minutes on Saturday with her three children, Thea, 13, Amelia, seven, and Isobel, five.

Mrs Isom said there were about 100 people queuing to get in.

She added: "It's obviously a bit hot to be waiting in a queue for this long, and the children are just really disappointed. It just seems so disorganised."

The family had cycled over from Botley Road, and Mrs Isom said they had been keen to cool off in the pool.

She said: "It's a great facility for Oxford but they don't seem to have the people to man it.

"People were giving up on the queue and leaving.

"Some people were being very patient but some were getting very annoyed."

Mrs Isom and her family were near the front of the queue after an hour, with the pool operating a one in, one out policy, and waited an extra 40 minutes to get inside.

She said: "The people working there were all really flustered and were being given a hard time, and they were frantically trying to ring people and get people to come in and work.

"The number of people who just gave up and went home was huge. It's just a real shame.

"It's ridiculous to be paying to have the swimming pool open, but then losing money because you can't cater for the customers.

"Other people in the queue said they had been there on Thursday and Friday and hadn't been able to get in."

The family stayed in the pool for more than three hours when they arrived.

Mrs Isom said by the afternoon there were five lifeguards working and the queue had diminished significantly.

At its peak, the swimming pool can cater for up to 250 swimmers, but the pool's policy is that there must be six lifeguards to safely look after that number of people.

An Oxford City Council spokesman said there had been a shortage of lifeguards, with three people on duty on Saturday morning.

She said an additional two lifeguards had been brought in for the afternoon to deal with the high demand.

At peak season, during the school summer holidays, six lifeguards are poolside with a further two swapping in and out during break times.

She said it had been the pool's busiest period so far of the 2007 season.