View Full Version : Wanted: 50 Meter Pool

July 16th, 2003, 01:00 PM

My Masters swim team is going to attempt to gain support for a 50 meter pool to be built in our city at an upcoming city counsel meeting. I vaguely remember a similar thread a while back where people listed both pros and cons for a 50 meter pool vs. two smaller pools but I can't seem to find it with the search function. Can anyone help lead me in the right direction? If not, please just respond to this new thread. We really need this pool.


July 16th, 2003, 04:53 PM
I the approach to take is to emphasize that a 50 meter pool can accommodate the full range of aquatic activities (water aerobics, swim lessons, diving, water polo, USA/Y swim teams and masters, etc.)

I would strongly recommend against selling this as a great venue for large swim meets or argue that the area needs a "world class" competitive swim facility. Instead emphasize how important it is to reach a broad section of the community, that learning to swim is important for child safety, that swimming is a healthy activity for all ages, etc. If you can build strong grass root support you'll make a convincing case that potential demand exists that cannot be met with existing facilities. Also if you put together some lane usage scenarios you'll find out that you need a 50 meter pool to meet this demand because many of these programs want to use the facility at the same time.

The USMS Planning Committee led by Betsy Durrant, and aided greatly by Mel Goldstein and other volunteers, can give you some brochures and other materials that will help. You can reach Betsy via email at: durrant6@cox.net

Also network with your local Y. Think about joining forces also with other people active in aquatic activites.

Good luck

July 16th, 2003, 05:38 PM
I agree with Seltzer on the wide range of aquatic activities a new 50M pool could support. You might want to find out if they Y needs more pool time...for instance our Y swim teams practice at local colleges because the 4-lane 25y Y pool cannot accomodate all the demand for pool time. If a new facility is built it can probably gain income from all the local swim teams since they may pay pool rental fees to use the nice new pool.

There may also be more demand for things like swim lessons, water aerobics, and lap swim hours, which are a hot commodity in many locations.

Are you proposing indoor? Domed? I don't know where you live, but a domed pool is very versatile and could also serve as a nice outdoor pool to join in the summers. In this case you might want to propose an aquatics center complete with slides, zero depth entry pool for young children, fountains, etc. It may sound like a lot...but many cities are putting these in now. I know of several cities that have new ones if you want to do your research: East Lansing MI, Highland Park IL, and Rockaway NJ.

Good luck!

July 16th, 2003, 05:50 PM
I am by no means an expert in this area, but one advantage of separate 25Y x 25M pools comes to mind. If they are built with two separate filtration and heating systems, one could be kept at a warmer temperature for lessons, aquacizing, and such while the other is kept at a cooler temperature more appropriate for competition.

If a single 50 M pool is built with no separate dive tank or other area that could be used for warm up / warm down, it is not all that useful as a 50 M competition pool. I believe that USMS rules state that you must either have a warm up / warm down area available continuously throughout a meet or schedule frequent breaks in a meet for warm up / warm down.

July 16th, 2003, 06:16 PM
You could still use it for meets. A long course meet that I did recently had lanes 1 and 8 reserved for warm up/down and lanes 2-7 for competition.

July 16th, 2003, 07:43 PM
With the budget problems of California, it might be wiser to push for a smaller pool. They are talking about cutting back on health services, so recreatonal pools are not that high on city budgets there. Anyway, there is a 50 meter pool about 7 miles from me but there is only a summer league team that uses and when I went one there one and its only set up 25 yards for lap swimming. You can swim long course in a short course pool. by doing 125 yard swims or 225 or 250 yard swims in place of 100 yards or 200 yards. I switched back and foth between 100 yards and 125 yards.

July 16th, 2003, 08:02 PM
Thanks for all the feedback so far. I'm looking for arguments in SUPPORT of a 50M pool. Our
swim team is quite large and we just won't be able to swim in a smaller pool. (Well, it would be *very* crowded.) Currently we're swimming at a private school 50 meter pool but it's becoming likely that we could lose those privileges in the near future.

Thankfully, our team will be able to bring in enough money for 50 meter pool expenses so that isn't an issue. Also, we're not looking to build a competition pool, this would be for community use and perhaps small, local meets. We need to emphasize community use and versatility.

I really appreciate all your help.


July 16th, 2003, 08:10 PM
Well, I hope that some of the money you are raising is private money. I hate to think that building a 50 meter pool in your neighborhood would result in losing money for programs at the local high school. I'm full aware of the billions of dollar debt of California,so let us think a little about this and hope that building a 50 meter pool doesn't hurt other people.

Phil Arcuni
July 16th, 2003, 09:18 PM
OK, the city is already planning to replace an old and obsolete community pool (100 ft. long (!) and does not meet modern state code, but heavily used.) The current plan is, I believe, a 25 yd x 25 meter pool, with the expectation that it will support local rec. swim teams, aquacise, etc.. There will be another shallower pool for young children. There is plenty of space for this project, which is located at the major city recreation facility, which includes playing fields, gymnasium, field house, tennis courts, library, etc.

Meanwhile, our team of 400+ uses a nearby 50 m pool at a private upscale school. We run 19, 1.25 hour practices a week, and provide most if not all of the daily operating costs. On the other hand, you can imagine that our presence is disruptive to the school, and our presence is problematic to the school board of directors. The loss of a 50 meter pool will probably spell the end of our team, as nearby large facilities are already committed.

We are proposing to commit to the pool and provide significant operating costs. We will also present a pledge of $500,000 (private funds) to cover the additional costs of construction, if necessary (though we have not yet met that pledge amount. (Yes yes, I know, but there are a lot of deep pockets in this area)). Costs, space, local high schools, should not be issues.

I would not be surprised if our team grew even more if we were based at this community pool - the synergy between the pool and the nearby athletic facilities would be a benefit for the triathletes and multi-sport fitness people, and or existence would be much more visible to the general population.

On the other hand, we are entering the debate pretty late, and planning has gotten pretty far. The problem is to convince the city council that a 50 m pool would serve the community better than what is planned now, when compared to the alternative use of space and labor. We need to convince 5 council members pretty quickly. The current tally is two for, three against.

Guppigirl is asking for proven, cogent arguments for this cause. Any help and experience in similar situations is appreciated.

July 16th, 2003, 10:25 PM
Thanks for spelling out all the details, Phil. Phew! So yes, that is the story. Our team will be in big trouble if we don't find another pool. I'm passionate about this cause because this swim team means the world to me. Not only is it a place where I've been able to exercise and stay in shape, but more important, it's a wonderful commutity, full of great people and huge network of friends which are like family.

Actually, if people want to post negatives to a 50 M pool, that might be okay as then we can plan and come up with counters to the negatives.


July 17th, 2003, 12:17 AM
1) I think you need data on expected usage levels (ie, # people using pool per hour) and a proposed schedule of operations (swim team practices, open swimming, water aerobics, swim lessons, etc). YOu want to prove that the demand necessitates the larger pool.

2) Longer pool better for long run. Think big to meet future demand, not small and have a pool that's too small.

3) Competitive analysis of pools in other nearby towns/suburbs, esp the newer pools. MOst new pools/aquatic centers are BIG. Your town wants to keep up, right?!

Good luck!

July 17th, 2003, 09:01 AM
Again, I strongly recommend that you contact Betsy Durrant at the email listed above. She is in contact with people who have successfully helped such efforts in their area.

If you email me at: seltzer@metasoft.com I can put in touch with someone locally who successfully made the case for a 50 meter pool AND a shallow 25 yard "instructional" pool based on a careful study of swimming usage patterns and showing people that based on no more than 3 swimmers per lane they needed a 50 meter pool to accomodate the different aquatic programs. He also created some future demand forecasts. I'm not sure if he saved all of this data/secenarios but it worth a try and I'm not sure how available he will be to provide this information right now.

I'd also strongly recommend that you contact Mel Goldstein, a member of Betsy's committee at goldstein@mindspring.com
Mel has lot experience and is very savvy when it comes to marketing/fundraising. I'm pretty sure that Mel will respond to you right away. He's that kind of guy.

Good luck

Ken Classen
July 17th, 2003, 02:12 PM
Guppie girl in an earlier post you discounted the use of this possible new pool for competition other then local type meets. If you have a first class 50 meter pool, many times you can host large USA age group swim meets. Meets of this sort can attract up to 1000 swimmers at around $50 in entry fees per swimmer + concessions etc. You could gross $60,000 in one weekend! Don't try to limit that option. Yes the masters may not get to workout that weekend you host a meet but one or two weekends a year can be good trade off for that kind of revenue.

July 17th, 2003, 02:28 PM

I understand that a large facility could bring in a lot of money for the city, however, I know that this city would not tolerate a large venue that would attract huge regional/national swim meets. It's going to be enough of a struggle to get the neighbors to agree to this proposal. I'm firmly convinced that community usage alone will bring in a lot of money without making this proposed facility a target hot spot for large swim meets.


July 17th, 2003, 03:12 PM
Why would you not want to host meets at the possible new pool. The revenue brought in from either masters or aau meets would be benificial to the community. Am I understanding this thread right and it's only to be for Masters? Having aau swimmers, meets, lessons is vital, after all, those youngsters are the masters future, don't be so quick to shut the lanes down on them.


July 17th, 2003, 03:33 PM

This pool would absolutely NOT be just for Masters. The vision is to have a large community pool that would be able to accomodate a wide variety of aquatic activities *including* a large masters team. We want this to be community based, not a pool that would attract large swim meets because the neighborhood would not tolerate such crowds.


July 17th, 2003, 03:44 PM
Ok,sorry been a long day here at work and was getting confused with this thread, happens often with me :confused: Still though, unless the pool is near the backyard of someones platt, I don't see how the hotels, restaurants and all other businesses would not be for the extra revenu brought in by a few meets a year.

Good luck with the proposal.


Kevin in MD
July 17th, 2003, 04:35 PM
Funny because I just sent an email to the pool manager at the club I swim in informing her the pool was 85 this morning.

I'll take an 82 25 meter pool over an 87 50 meter pool any day of the week.

If you advertise the pool as being good for the general public and mean it; then the pool will be at 87. Water aerobics, swim lessons, lap swimmers, floaters' they all want an 87 pool.

You want it at 80 and can deal with 82. You will lose. You will be stuck with a pool too hot to seriously train in. This will be more to your detriment at the local long course meet than having trained in a 25 meter pool will be.

September 2nd, 2003, 01:14 AM
I have been part of a committee the last few years trying to get a fifty meter pool for our city. They do agree now that we need a pool but will put it to public forums to decide just what we get, an fifty meter with a bulk head or another 25m. It will be in an aquatic center which is what we brought tp them. The Aquatic center will have wave pool, small water slide, hot tubs and hopefully a 52m pool with the moveable bulk head. A center like this can then operate at the same time as a swim meet and won,t disrupt lessons etc. Also try to show a fitness center is the center as well as that can bring in good revenue that you could show as using to help offset the operating cost of the pool. Bring up leasing out areas of the center for retail as well as this brings in revenue. You want to show them everything that could help to pay the cost of operating. Also remember you may get those opposed to the pool saying that a 50m pool will cost twice as much to build and operate when in fact it doesn't. We are now putting together a game plan to make sure that we are at every public hearing and we ask the right questions. Also write as many letters to the editor in your local paper as you can stating that the city really could use one. We found that bringing up major meets that could be held there didn't carry much weight because they could only be a maybe.
Get the diving teams involved as well as water polo teams even tri clubs if you have them.
Try to get hold of other pools like the one you would like to build and get their operating costs and the cost to build the pool. Try to find as many cities the same size as yours that have a 50m pool and list them. I don't know how many pools you have in your city now but check out how many pools per thousand population other cities have. Go in with as many facts you can and make a good presentation and have the answers for all their questions.
Look into private public partnership and if it would be a possibility for your city.
Good Luck

Peter Cruise
September 4th, 2003, 12:15 AM
I think you are proposing a private partnership already, but Glen is right-the more versatile the pool (which argues for a 52m facility such as we just built, with two movable bulkheads) the more likely that more people will be satisfied. Want to motivate your politicos? Well, in Glen's case (as he well knows) we are a smaller (75,000 versus 100,000+) community that has our province's largest percentage of people on social assistance. If we can do it, so can Kelowna! And Menlo Park...good God! I have been there & affluence is your middle name. I recall training at UC San Diego pool & hearing that local Masters had guaranteed debentures (or something like that) for building their pool & been guaranteed times thereafter. Maybe there are alternatives to the loval city hall..'

September 4th, 2003, 12:35 AM
Peter forgets that their are poor cities in States with 50 meter pools. One is the Clovis Center in Frenso,CA. Frenso has a high hispanic population and many come from a migrant farm worker background. Also, the Hmong from Cambodia which are refugees and tend to be on welfare. As for San Diego, it borders Mexico. And some of the residents of San Diego from Mexico live sometimes as much as 10 to 20 people per 2 to 3 bedroom apartments so they can send money back to their relatives in rural parts of Mexico and these people are pretty busy making a living on low wage jobs to be bothered with master's swimming. Probably as a whole San Diego has a lot more wealth but not everyone that lives there is upper-middle non-hispanic white.

Peter Cruise
September 4th, 2003, 12:41 AM
I'm not sure what exactly you are saying, Cynthia- were those 50m pools built before influx of minorities? If not- I don't see your pont. If so, then it illustrates my point, that ours is a poor community (by our standards), yet by stressing the versatility of 52m bulkheaded pool we convinced politicos to go for it. If this is not possible in Menlo Park (a very different community from what you describe), then i was suggesting they look for a private partner to work with.

September 4th, 2003, 12:50 AM
Frenso is very different from Silcon Valley. It is mainly farm industries and there are a lot of migrant farm workers and refugees. They were able to get a 50 meter pool in Frenso, probably because of Cal-State Frenso. How you can get one I don't know.

September 4th, 2003, 12:59 AM
Well, they probably built many of the pools before San Diego was 28 percent hispanic. In USA swimming publication there was mention a big gap in the acess to pools between the upper-middle class and those that live in the barrios.

September 4th, 2003, 01:16 AM
We will get another pool in Kelowna but we will need to fight for a 50m right to the end. Kelowna is not a poor city so you would think it wouldn't take much more than a rubber stamp like they do every time they build a new arena but we have the problem in Kelowna where our city fathers are a good old boys club who believe in HOCKEY RINKS over anything, they have come out and stated that with the lake right here why would we need a pool. We have more rinks per pools than any city in Canada(they have built 2 new ones in the last 10 years and have started building 2 more as we speak). We have most of the seniors on our side as they are the ones that use it the most and would like something that they can still use while other things are going on like lessons, meets, etc. as well as they are the one who turn out to vote more than any other age group here. Peter I think you guys built as close to perfect pool as you can get and I enjoy going there. That is one facility that any committee should useas an example.
Peter just a little update, the fire has turned towards the city again tonight and 3300 people have been evacuated over the last 2 hrs.

Peter Cruise
September 4th, 2003, 11:29 PM
Again, may the contents of a million 50m pools dump in Glen's general vicinity. Your community is undergoing incredible trials & you know our prayers are with you. Kind of makes debates about the contents of Swim magazine pale in comparison...

September 5th, 2003, 07:02 PM
I've found that serious swimmers like a water temperature of about 79, while old folks and little kids [learning to swim] prefer much warmer temps.

I swim at a Y that has two pools (one warm, one cold) that satisfy the temperature desires of nearly every customer.

But, I also attend a public 50 meter pool where the temperature is kept at 82 (it used to be 84, but a well organized minority of lap swimmers convinced the management to lower it) as a compromise. Lap swimmers still complain that the water is too warm, while rec swimmers (most of whom would prefer a water temp of 85 or 86) find it's way too cold.

Phil Arcuni
September 5th, 2003, 07:59 PM
Here is the sad update on this 50 meter project.

the team presented a well organized case, arguing that the team would cover additional construction costs, and additional maintainance costs for a negotiable period of about 10 years.

the team made a good argument for the pool as a community resource.

But we got in the process late, and the city staff found out that a couple of side streets were projected to increase traffic flow by about 7 cars a day. That would trigger another environmental impact report that would, they said, take almost another year and would cost $100,000 dollars. The city council voted against the larger pool 3 - 2. There were some strong emotions floating around that I don't fully understand.

While many of the suggestions here were good, they weren't quite applicable to this situation. In particular, the pool would have been located in the middle of a mid-sized city, on the border between commercial and residential districts. The residential district is well organized with people with strong voices, and is generally against growth, or perceived growth, of any sort. Income is not a strong motivator - after all, the city turned down what was effectively a free upgrade from a 25 to a 50 meter pool. The political task was to convince the sceptical that the pool would have no effect on the surrounding environment.

Meanwhile, the pool we are using just reduced the number of workouts from 19 to 9, and things have gotten more crowded, and the lack of noon workouts, now gone, is a big problem. Not good for what I understand is the "third largest masters team in the country!"

September 11th, 2003, 04:31 PM
I'm so sorry it did not work out for you. Is there a USS team in the area you could partner with to build another pool in the future? :(

September 12th, 2003, 11:28 PM
Well, Phil how can people be against growth in a state with a large amount of immirgation. Just joking, but some people are against any development. There's a lot of politics involved these days. About 40 to 30 years ago it was easier to get pools in Ca or other places. A lot of middle class folks thought it was a great idea but with areas that once were semi-rural about 40 years ago or just being suburbazied then, now their developed and people don't want more development.

Michael Heather
September 15th, 2003, 09:52 PM
Not meaning to be insensitive or clueless, I wonder if your arguments and presentation included references to the pools and programs at Santa Clara and Walnut Creek? They both have incredibly successful municipal facilities (with large Masters teams) that could have been role models. It is hard for city planners to say no to free money and a proven cash flow, so I suspect there were other forces at work that you may or may not know about.

It is a pity that the planners of today have such little foresight, opting to make safe decisions rather than bold ones.

I am on the USMS planning committee, and have proposed that USMS build or buy a facility, in part to use for just the type of presentation that you made, in order to get more water space for the dollars spent (don't hold your breath, it could be years before the House of Delegates even considers such a move, if ever).

Phil Arcuni
September 15th, 2003, 11:49 PM
The Santa Clara facility was mentioned several times - by the other side.

"We don't want a 'regional facility' like at Santa Clara (or even a national facility!). It would attract too many people and vehicles. This pool should be local."

The problem, as I said before, was that we needed to convince the city that there would be *no effect* with the larger pool. Impact on the neighborhood, and delays, were the deciding issues. The Santa Clara facility is an older one in what is an established residential/commercial area. The residents are used to it. Walnut Creek is in the middle of a park with not much residential impact. This facility would be added to an established community, and the neighbors didn't want it.

Michael Heather
September 16th, 2003, 01:21 AM
I am very sorry for the negative outcome in your quest.

It seems that the interests of a few well placed and vocal obstructors are given more weight than the future of the community. This happens with alarming frequency in cities all over the country, and for what? The perceived comfort and quietude of an aging group that cares not for their neighbors or posterity. They move next to a park and wonder why all the noise happens during ball games, so they picket city hall until the games stop, and wonder why the drugs come into the park later on. Building on this logic, they are sure that there will be too many outsiders using "their" pool, and they will be inconvenienced by having to share a lane at 6am during their 20 lap morning swim before they retire to the TV for the rest of the day to get their brains muddled further.