Why Community Pools Matter
The effort to save aging pools is not only a struggle for places to play and exercise — it’s also a fight for the character and future of the communities they serve.—Aqua Magazine, July 2015
How long is the average lifespan of a public swimming pool? Is it 30 years, 40, 50 or more? Although statistics are hard to come by, we do know that a great many community pools across the U.S. are in a state of decline and in many cases have already closed due to a variety of factors, most of which come with dollar signs attached.
The available numbers are sobering: According to Mick Nelson, facilities development director for USA Swimming, more than 2,000 pools throughout the U.S. have closed since January 2009. Nelson, who has painstakingly tracked the demise of community pools in recent years, believes there are several reasons behind this rash of closings.
Rescuing Community Pools
Lap swimming engages almost every major muscle group. It improves strength, cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone and helps manage weight—without putting stress on the body. Suitable for all ages and fitness levels, for people with injuries and disabilities, it may be the best exercise ever.
The Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool offers a variety of lap swimming options, including advanced, open, evening, senior lap, and senior gentle.
Weekly water aerobic classes are also offered to swimmers of all levels.
We really need to educate our families. We’re surrounded by water. It’s crazy that our kids don’t know how to swim. You wouldn’t put your child in a car without a seat belt.— Parent
Learning to swim is a life skill—and a survival skill. Drowning is a leading cause of death for children and the leading cause of death among children under four in Oregon. Eight in ten child drownings happen in front of parents. Swimming is the only sport that can save your child’s life.
Of course, swimming is fun, too! Plus it works hearts and lungs—and helps children believe in themselves.
The Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool’s Starfish Swim Lessons offers classes for babies, preschoolers, and swimmers aged 5-7 and 8 plus. It also offers a Swim Team Camp and Swim Instructor Mentorship programs for youth ages 8-16.
I know what it means to work hard for something. —Kelsey Gida, Ashland High School Alumni
Water polo is one of the world’s toughest sports. Ashland High School’s water polo teams compete at the highest level, but can’t host meets: the Daniel Meyer Pool isn’t deep enough.
Graduates return to the pool once a week for open scrimmage.
In an effort to raise money for a new pool, the AHS water polo team started an Indiegogo Fund. While the fundraising wasn’t successful, their campaign bears reading:
Come in, try, and just see how it feels. How does it affect your body? If you’re doing something like water aerobics, it’s easy on your muscles. It’s a good way to get back in touch with physical exercise.—Greg Frownfelter, Talent, OR
Just as drowning is a risk for young children, falling is a risk for adults 65 and older. Swimming offers an ideal workout for seniors. It’s easy on the joints, increases flexibility, tones muscles, reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and contributes to heart health.
It also creates situations for older adults to be social and avoid feelings of isolation or loneliness—adding to mental longevity.
The Daniel Meyer Pool integrates seniors into all of its activities.