This week after swimming at the Wilson Pool, I picked up the following flyer in the locker room announcing a possible change to the configuration of the lanes.
I know this pool is prized by many for its 50-meter set-up, which is hard to find around here, but I can also understand where the high school swim team is coming from. The meeting where this will be discussed is TODAY.
Please see the announcement below regarding the next meeting of the Wilson Aquatic Center Advisory Board. Among the topics for discussion at the meeting will be the standard/default lane configuration of the Wilson competition pool (large pool).
The Wilson competition pool can be configured with either eight lap lanes (each 50 meters in length, aka "long course") or 22 lap lanes (each 25 yards in length, as is used at the Takoma pool). Seven swimmers are permitted in each 50-meter lap lane (56 total swimmers) while five swimmers are permitted in each 25-yard lap lane (110 total swimmers). At present, the Wilson competition pool is routinely configured in eight 50-meter lap lanes.
The Woodrow Wilson High School Swim Team has requested that DPR routinely configure the Wilson competition pool in 22 25-yard lap lanes, at least during the winter competitive swim season. High school swim meets use 25-yard lanes, and the team would like to practice stroke counts, breathing and turns under competition conditions. It also enables more swimmers (both team and non-team) to use the pool at the same time.
At the Wilson Aquatic Center Advisory Board meeting Wednesday 11/18/09, community input will be sought with respect to lane configuration. If you have an interest in how the Wilson competition pool is configured or have feedback regarding the aquatic facility and programs, please plan to attend next week's meeting. Details below.
[signed by a parent of a Woodrow Wilson HS swimmer]
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Wilson Aquatic Cener
4551 Fort Drive NW
Washington, DC 20016
The flyer added that people should RSVP by Monday if they plan to attend, but I wanted to pass along the info in case anyone is interested.
The DPR contact listed is Stephanie Pitt (stephanie dot pitt at dc.gov).
My primary reason for making the trek to Wilson is because it is 50 meter indoors. The only one in the District, I believe?
I wish I could make it to the meeting. Hopefully some kind of compromise can be made.
This doesn't surprise me at all. I will throw out my planned workout tonight (or maybe swim nude in protest) and voice my opposition. If DPR allows this, DC Tri will never be able to practice long course at Wilson ever again. The city and this 'concerned' parent will make it impossible. The city will not want to rotate the lanes between 25-yards and 50-meters on a weekly, let alone daily basis. So, much for a 50-meter winter swim meet.
You want e-mails of DC DPR people. Here, have all of my DPR e-mails. E-mail away!
HI, I took down the majority of our contacts at DPR b/c I don't want the short course people using them. E-mail me @ kildaylisa at yahoo.com to get this list of DPR contacts if you're a supporter of 50-meters. Go long or go home!
P.S. The best training that you can get as a swimmer is in a 50-meter pool. Don't drink their kool-aid that a 25-yard pool is needed. If you can't swim 50 meters nonstop, then maybe your kid shouldn't be on a swim team. Plus, you can stack 10 people to lane in a 50-meter pool.
I can see why they plan to switch the pool to 25-yard lengths. They can accommodate club/high schools and open swim for residents. During the winter months the USMS holds short course masters meets in the 25 length. Same thing happens at the UMD pool for it's collegiate swimmers and masters. In May or June is when the switch is made to the 50 distance, which is the same as the long course masters meets.
you can switch the pool back and forth between 50 and 25 format easily within 15 minutes. the santa monica comm coll pool does this everyday, the only thing you need is lifeguards that actually work and also the high school swim team is the one that helps switch the pool back and forth. you need people to actually do the work. I personally dont' see that happening at the wilson pool at all.
I could see the pool not wanting to ever swtich back because they will claim its "better that way so that more people can use it".
I'm sorry but if you have ONLY 1 pool that is used for 50 meters in the ENTIRE DC Metro Area, leave it that way, the high school team can go to any number of the other indoor pools (whcih is every other pool in the dc metro area) that are ALWAYS 25 yards and practice there. That is just them being greedy.
No - so total bummer - but I can't see community interest outweighing the HS swim team. Most justifications for building these pools is for HS swim teams, not the community at large so the HS always gets accomodated first and then the seniors doing water aerobics that fill all the community meetings. At least this is always the way it works in Alexandria at Chinquapin - another reason the water is 84F - old ladies doing water aerobics. Chinquapin is now beholden to HS swim practice until March as well - 1 lane - the ramp lane with 2.5 ft of water is open for lap swim from 4-6p.
I too was making the trek to Wilson to avoid Chinquapin (which also closes at 5:45p on Fridays!) and HS swimming, water aerobics and to enjoy the 50 m luxury - alas ....
Wetsuits in the Potomac anyone?
Hugh, you are voted off the island. The point is once the lanes are switched to 25 yards, DPR will NEVER switch them back to 50-meters. The kids won't do it for practice or meets, either. Have you ever seen a DPR lifeguard help out at one of our training tris? After Flanagan's morning sessions at Hains in the summer, the lifeguards sit around while the Master's swimmers roll up the lap lanes.
USMS Masters meets would probably switch the lane lines because 1) they are adults; 2) they are paying to rent the pool despite their exorbitant taxes; and 3) they would like to return. Kids don't have to be nice. They get privileges whether or not they appreciate them or not.
ACTUALLY, I have witnessed the lifeguards at Wilson move lanes around at night to both open the diving boards and take out a lane for the water aerobics class. So its not out of the realm of possibility! Admittedly, going from short course to long course would take more work than just moving a few lane lines, but its not like the lifeguards are just sitting in the stand or in their lounge currently...
Takoma could be 50 meters but is never set up that way.
DC Tri has a significant presence, too. If DPR switches Wilson for the high school team during the winter, why not campaign to make Takoma 50 meters for the same period of time? Then during the spring and summer when the demand for a 50-meter pool in NW is higher, switch back.
In any case, nothing has been decided yet. Go to the meeting, or write an email.
Am I voted off the island? ;o)
as you just mentioned TAKOMA COULD BE 50 METERS
emphasis added. the could be is the major thing, just because its possible doens't mean it will ever happen.
I think you would have a better chance at getting the Unibomber released on parole early than that happening. LOL.
But by all means go for it, if you can get it done i'm impressed. I know i called them one time over the sumemr and asked if they ever put it to 50meters and got a very confident "NO".
ahhh this is terrible! As a new swimmer just learning and trying to improve i really appreciate the 50 meter pool because it forces me to build up endurance. I cant come tonight, actually will be swimming for once at eastern market instead of wilson to accomodate dinner plans, but if anyone goes to please mention that there are others of us out there (my tri training partner included, who swam in college and loves long course) that do NOT support this decision!!!
Takoma and Takoma Park suck. Even though I live closer to Takoma (aka the People's Republic of Takoma) than Wilson, I'm not going to Takoma. I barely made it to a few practices at Catholic U.
Ask away for 50 meter lanes, extended hours at Hains Point, and decent hours at Eastern Market Pool (what is up with the 20-yard pool at night?). You are thinking logically. You know what happens next...
I can't make the meeting (and as a VA resident, I don't think my opinion matters much in DC decisions) but I would point out that tax payers (not just high school parents) paid for that pool to be built. Being one of the only 50 meter pools around, it generates some (although minimal) revenue. If it is 25 yards all of the non-DC residents will pay to go to a pool closer to home.
If they do switch it to 25 yard, we should propose DC put up a bubble or temporary structure for the winter over the Hains Point Pool and leave that open year round. I mean the city just spent $4 million on a bike rack at Union Station for only 100 bikes (with some federal funding) and that will never come close to making a dime for the city.
remember as a VA resident you are allowed and encouraged to goto DC pools so long as you pay the HIGHER FEE PER VISIT as a non resident, which means you are just as much a paying customer as a DC resident that uses the pool.
i already sent an email to all the members emails that were listed earlier expressing my displeasure with the fact that they are considering changing the pool and was told to come to the meeting, so they are encouraging anyone that is interested to go and state their piece there.
That sounds to me like they want a full, vibrant and happy debate to take place.
If i can make it i'll be there.
I just sent an email as well, I can't make it to the meeting tonight but hopefully they will listen to my concerns via the email.
The flyer displayed in the locker room at Wilson, and signed by the parent of a Wilson HS swimmer, has set forth two main concerns. The first being under the long course configuration 56 swimmers total are permitted to swim, while in the short course configuration 110 swimmers total are permitted to swim. I'm not sure where this assertion came from. Long course lanes are slightly more than 2 times the length of short course lanes, usually allowing for two times the number of athletes to swim in them at a time. Configuring the pool either long course of short course should accommodate around the same number of swimmers (after taking into consideration 8 lanes long course and 22 short), unless there is a local law that requires otherwise (does anyone know anything about that??) The second concern expressed by the Wilson HS parent is that high school swim meets use 25 yard lanes and the team would like to practice stroke counts, breathing, and turns under competition conditions. There is definitely merit in practicing these aspects of swimming under competition conditions, however long course training also provides merit. Collegiate and national teams train almost exclusively under long course conditions when they can. Obviously the needs of a national level swimmer and a high school swimmer are different, but swimmers of all levels benefit from the challenge of long course training.
That being said, if DC Parks and Recreaction decides to configure the lanes as short course for the Wilson HS team practice, I would request that the pool be configured as long course for at least part of the remainder of the pool's use. Switching an Olympic size pool from short course to long course, and vice versa, is very common among these types of facilities. Many of the Olympic sized facilities I know well switch their lane lines daily to accommodate swimmers wanting both long course and short course pool time. In fact some of the Olympic size facilities in neighboring Baltimore switch between long course and short course configuration to accommodate each and every high school swim team practice, there is no reason why this kind of compromise can not be made at Wilson. Wilson already provides many aquatics courses that require small reconfigurations of the lap lanes to be made, ie. scuba and the use of the diving boards. The DC Parks and Rec pool in Eastern Market also switches it's lanes between two configurations daily. If parks and rec says they can't change the configuration back and forth: THAT IS JUST LAZINESS.
The bottom line: DC parks and recreation has built and currently maintains two Olympic caliber swimming facilities at Wilson and Tacoma. DC residents, whose taxes paid for Wilson's remodel, should be able to use at those facilities in a long course lane configuration. Why build an Olympic facility if you can't use it as such?
Keep writing e-mails. Everyone has a voice whether you live or work in DC or just outside of DC. Here is a list of DC City Council members and their e-mails. Ultimately, funding for DC Parks and Recreation is up to them. So, please include them on your e-mail list. I hope to see you tonight @ Wilson Pool.
Committee on Libraries, Parks and Recreation: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't know who the local ANC commissioner is. Perhaps, someone from Upper NW could chime in with the ANC's name and e-mail.
Contact form for the Mayor:
Mayor's chief of staff e-mail: email@example.com
Just my thinking, but the DC Council ESPECIALLY Vincent Gray might have more pressing concerns right now...but what the heck, spam em if you got em!
After all, how often does one get to contact a world-famous figure (firstname.lastname@example.org)....
Btw, I think Stephanie dot Pitt at dc dot gov was the contact for extending the hours at the Hains Pt pool into fall, so you might be sure to contact her.
What time is the meeting? At the Wilson Pool I assume?
The meeting is at the pool tonight at 7 pm.
I just sent emails to everyone. This pool is wonderful because of its long-course abilities. I think the high school parent should have greater issue with them taking two lanes for 15 water aerobic exercisers.
I am rearranging plans to try to make the meeting.