As was probably obvious from my earlier article, I’m pretty pro-swimming. The science backs me up, with numerous documented health benefits from swimming, especially cardiovascular benefits but also muscular and psychological benefits. It’s a sport that people often take up after they have been injured from some other sport, and it’s a true lifelong sport, with active participants into their 90s and beyond.
In light of that, with various proposals on the table for building new pools in Davis, you might think I am also pro-pool. And generally speaking, I am – but I also recognize that any proposals for new pools must be weighed against other priorities, and those are complicated conversations. So, what I’d like to do here is much more minimal, namely, to just point out the extent of the need for pools in Davis, because I think there has been some confusion as to how many “private” swim group workouts there are and whether those groups could make use of a high school pool.
First, what are the needs of the “private” groups in Davis? There are at least three such groups: Davis Aquatic Masters (DAM), Davis Aquadarts, and Davis AquaMonsters, with each serving different populations.
DAM, the adult swim group I swim with, has nine workouts during the weekdays: 6AM (two workouts), 7AM, 10AM, 11AM, 12PM, 1PM, 6:15PM, 7:15PM. These are all held at Civic Pool with the exception of one of the 6 AM workouts that is held at Arroyo Pool.
I went to the websites for Aquadarts and AquaMonsters, hoping to list their workouts here too, but the short answer is, “it’s complicated.” There are multiple, sometimes overlapping workouts at varying pools around Davis. For those who want the details, see the Aquadarts schedule here and the AquaMonsters schedule here.
I’m probably missing some scheduled activities, both from these groups and from other groups. But the bottom line is that 3:00 PM through the evening is an especially busy time for the “private” swimming groups, with the early mornings also quite busy.
What about the high school, then? Well, one thing that should be clear from the above is that the high school swim team is going to try to have to find workout times in Davis’s pools in and amongst all those other workout times, and that can’t be easy.
More importantly – and I think this point is getting lost in the discussion – the proposal for a high school pool isn’t just about the competitive swim team. It’s also about having swimming for the physical education classes through the school day.
Here is where the point about learning a lifelong, healthy skill comes into play. I support all sports, and engaged a lot of them in my youth (besides swimming: running, softball, gymnastics, volleyball, rugby, and skiing in particular). But I do think that prioritizing a sport that can be done throughout a person’s lifetime with documented health benefits only makes sense. This isn’t just about “learning to swim” (which is important too) but about learning to swim well and to enjoy it, to make it an activity that one can engage in throughout one’s lifetime. And even though it might work to have the competitive swim team swim at other pools in Davis, that won’t serve physical education purposes.
What about having some of the “private” swim teams use a high school pool? Well, that is going to be challenging for DAM, for one thing. The daytime hours when DAM currently has workouts would be taken up with physical education classes, and access to the pool would have to be regulated.
Yet the Civic Pool where DAM swims is aged, with serious future maintenance costs looming. A new City pool which can be swum 50 M in one direction (Olympic-sized, aka “long course meters”) and 25 yds in the other direction (the length of Civic Pool and of many competitive events in the U.S, aka “short course yards”) could serve not only DAM but also other “private” needs, with more people being able to swim at the same time. A pool like that could also host multi-day swim meets, which would attract business to town.
So, should we build a new high school pool or a new City pool or both? Again, I’m not going to take a stand on that question here. (Really, I’m not). I just want people to understand what the issues are before they come to a decision, weighing what I have said here against other high school and City needs. And, since I’ve no doubt left things out, I encourage others to add or correct anything I’ve said here.