What happened to our community pool?

I read an article in The Patch about the success of our high school’s swim teams and their dominance over the rest of the league. I am sure the quality of swimmers BHS attracts has something to do with the quality of the facility but I think it might have more to do with the quality of the community swim team, The Pass Stingrays, which feeds talent to the high school. I know from experience as a high school swimmer and water polo player, that the schools with the best programs had solid community swim teams. I just wonder how much better our team could be and how many more aquatic scholarships would be available to our kids if the BHS pool was the community pool promised us by our city council and school board.

My daughter joined the Stingrays this year and it has been a lot of fun to return the swimming community. The coaches and parents involved in the program are outstanding dedicated volunteers. I wasn’t surprised to see many of the same people who volunteer at every school event. In the first few swim meets I have had a chance to meet many of these people and I have been impressed with their level of dedication and how much the swim team has been a part of their family histories.

I know many of these families were excited driving by the high school when the pool was being built and looked forward to sharing the community jewel promised to them by their community’s leaders. I’m sure they felt much the same way our football families feel today as they drive by the construction site of the new stadium. Many of the same community leaders have promised the new athletic complex will also be a community jewel. Let’s hope they are a little truer to their words this time.

I remember reading in the newspaper that the pool would be opened during the hot summer days and that the facility would support all the local organizations who wanted to use it. Last summer I thought about the promises as we drove past the closed pool to take my 8 and 4 year old to their swimming lessons in a freezing deteriorating pool. It is true the Pass Stingrays and the local masters (adult) swim team use the pool but the cost charged by our school district prohibits many families from sharing in this community jewel.  

One of the first board meetings I attended, almost four years ago, the swim team coaches appealed to the school district not to raise fees and keep them low enough to encourage more participation. The amount of revenue the district makes on the pool isn’t much more than a rounding error in our annual school budget. Our board members knew that the fees would never come close to covering the cost of running the pool but they believed they were justified in raising the fees they were charging because they were comparable to other pools in the area.

The current swimming season is about four months. I’ve heard there would be support for an all year round team if the cost was more affordable. I wonder how many star swimmers have been priced out of the community jewel and I wonder how much better our high school team could be.

I wonder how we can believe the same thing isn’t in store for the stadium.