Friday, July 27, 2007

struggling for lanes

proximity to a pool is something i consider when i move. and so the last time i moved, i moved blocks from a decent public pool. it has been a serious disappointment and frustration. crazy pool hours, messed up lanes, etc. so i have finally decided to take matters into my own hands. if you are here in the dc area and feel so inclined, please join me in my letter writing campaign.

24 July 2007

Mayor Adrian Fenty

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington , DC 20004

Dear Mayor Fenty:

I am a fledgling triathlete and frequent user of the city's public pools, and write to urge you to dedicate more lap lanes and longer operating hours at our cities beautiful pools. The Banneker Pool is a beautiful Olympic-length pool—a rare find—and not a single lane is set up for Olympic-length lap swimming!? Only one-third of the East Potomac pool at Hain's Point is used for lap swimming during inconvenient hours. Sometimes 18 swimmers are pack into those few lanes while the rest of the pool stands empty. I regularly ask the pool manager to add one more lane for lap swimming. The answer is a firm no with absurd rationale: the pool needs to be available in case someone comes; the pool is for the public and so lap swimmers can't have it all; non-lap swimmers are tax payers. Some people, exasperated at the over-crowded lanes, try to swim laps in the large open area of the pool, pausing mid-stroke to push the rope out of the way. Additionally, the Eastern Market pool has very limited lap swim times when the lanes are set for 25 yards. Most of the time the pool is arranged to accommodate those who come to frolic rather than exercise, with lanes crossing the short length of the pool (making it 18 yards). In the mornings when the lanes are arranged for lap swimming, only 75% of the pool is roped. From 6 - 9 am the lanes are full of lap swimmers, swimming with 4 - 6 people in each lane. Clearly, the public wants more lap lanes!

As a Washingtonian and taxpayer, I believe that accommodating this very simple request will add immeasurably to our quality of life and public health of many residents. Surely I don't need to rehearse the health benefits of swimming. More people will use the public pools if there's a place dedicated to exercise, adding to our overall health and well-being. Those people will feel more invested in the pools, and feel more ownership of this public resource.

As a fellow triathlete, I'm sure you can appreciate that training for a long swim is hard enough without having to fight for space in lanes, or cross under ropes, or irritate the lifeguards, or worry about running into swimmers. The city has built beautiful pools with our taxpayer money, and athletes, such as I, can't use them.

Please add more lap lanes to public pools, specifically Eastern Market, East Potomac and Banneker. Please leave lanes open for lap swimming throughout the day at Eastern Market. And PLEASE do not close the pools so early. Keep these pools open past 7 pm to accommodate working and recreational schedules of Washington residents. Working out and cooling off at the pool during DC's infamous summer shouldn't be limited to just six hours in the afternoons, five days a week.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter,


here are some other people you can mail your letters to:

Mike Walker, Pool Manager
Department of Parks and Recreation
3149 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010

Loretta Jones, Program Manager
Department of Parks and Recreation
3149 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010

Wanda S. Durden
Director, Department of Parks and Recreation
3149 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010

1 comment:

julie g said...

well said, my friend. i hope he responds positively and not just, "well, we will certainly look into it."