View Full Version : Should USMS own a pool?

Michael Heather
May 27th, 2006, 11:44 AM
I have always thought that USMS should own and / or operate a swimming pool complex in order to put our theories and concepts to use without interference.

This is not to suggest that we should put ourselves in a precarious position financially, but rather, establish a sinking (savings) fund dedicated to the eventual purchase or construction of a national training and competition center.

USMS could even start out by contracting to manage a facility in order to learn, train and test our view of facility operations.

Any thoughts?

Swimmer Bill
May 27th, 2006, 12:55 PM
Yes!! Yes!! Yes!!

May 27th, 2006, 01:09 PM
I'm not a fan of this idea. Owning and operating a pool takes a TON of money and only benefits a very small portion of our membership. Why would 40,000 people want a not-so-insignificant portion of their dues to go towards the benefit of 1-2,000 people at the most?

Operating a pool in Colorado Springs makes sense for USA Swimming. They have the concept of a national team that they take to international events and need to spend funds in support of that. We don't have a national team and I don't see that ever becoming part of USMS. Without such an entity, owning and operating a pool will benefit the locals to that pool only, and I'm opposed to my dues going towards that.

May 27th, 2006, 01:36 PM
Yes put the pool in Delta BC a few min from my house. Then I will have to decide which pool to swim at. That would make 6 pools within 15 min.

May 27th, 2006, 01:58 PM
6 pools within 15 minutes. In Central Illinois we don't have enough pools to support the swimmers we have. Come to Champaign. We even have a group trying to bring a 50 meter indoor pool to town and could use support. Right now the U of I 50 meter pools are closed for 2 years, the outdoor pools are being changed over to water parks. A friend I have who works for the sporting goods store that sells the majority of competive swimwear says she has people come in all the time wondering where there are pools to swim in. We are in dire need!

Peter Cruise
May 27th, 2006, 05:03 PM
Oh, Dorothy- George is such a tease...I know the area he's talking about & with today's traffic it would be more like twenty minutes. I am relatively disadvantaged in Nanaimo with only 2 pools (3 in summer) less than ten minutes away, along with 3 very swimmable lakes in summer even closer.

May 27th, 2006, 05:58 PM
Peter I timed the time from my house to the 50m pool in Richmond, 11 min. Minuro pool Richmond 13 min. Ladner outdoor pool half a block from my place, Winskill pool Tsawassen 15 min and the New USMS pool to be built in my backyard. The Sun God North Delta pool is 20 min away. I never travel during rush hour.

An after thought I drive my new Kia Sportage and know the short cuts. EEEahah

Peter Cruise
May 27th, 2006, 08:59 PM
I tried to visualize that George, including the bicyclists
& pedestrians flying for cover...

May 27th, 2006, 11:32 PM
I have a muddy silty river 5 minutes away!

The Y pool is probably 15 miles away, but hardly any traffic. The outdoor 25 meter pool is another 3-4 miles on the interstate. There is not one single 50 meter pool within 50 miles open, bah!

Peter Cruise
May 28th, 2006, 01:43 AM
The solution dear Dorothy, is obvious: emigrate to British Columbia- great pools, great beer & no Geek!

Michael Heather
May 28th, 2006, 02:52 AM
To the fist swimmer,

It seems that you are taking the short view of the "project". All aquatic facilities take a considerable amount of money to maintain, much less build or buy.

I never indicated that the facility would be open to USMS swimmers only. That would be a foolish and shortsighted business tactic.

No matter where it may be located, the facility would only serve a fraction of the total membership of USMS, that is undisputed. It would also serve the larger local community including USA swimming, water polo, diving, synchro, adaptive and therapy swimming, geriatric and infant classes, SCUBA, TriFed, Kayak, Red Cross, YMCA, Schools, Prisons, Hospitals, churches and synagogues. The list is endless if you know how to sell your product.

Why close a pool at 9 pm if you are paying for the water 24 hours a day? Underwater hockey can play at 10 pm, nude innertube water polo at midnight. Ice rinks often have pickup hockey games after 12 am, why not swim then if your schedule allows or demands?

If it is successful in one place, it could possibly lead to more facilities nationwide. Or, a series of contracts to manage municipal pools.

And to George,

Until Canada becomes the 51st state (or all Canadian Masters register in USMS), I'm afraid we'll have to limit our parameters to one country.

May 28th, 2006, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by Peter Cruise
The solution dear Dorothy, is obvious: emigrate to British Columbia- great pools, great beer & no Geek!

Tooooooo cold.

And Geek is many miles away from here, although I did visit his town last May and did not see him anywhere!

May 28th, 2006, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by Michael Heather

And to George,

Until Canada becomes the 51st state (or all Canadian Masters register in USMS), I'm afraid we'll have to limit our parameters to one country. With our new Primeminister Harper we will be The 51st state pretty soon. He wants Canada to adopt your electoral system where winners don't have to win. At the press conferences he wants only Fox news types to ask questions. Etc etc etc. An after thought I think I am going to become a Mexican.

Swimmer Bill
May 28th, 2006, 02:44 PM
In addition to Michael's ideas, I see possibilities for Masters camps, testing and research...

Peter Cruise
May 28th, 2006, 03:01 PM
Dorothy, Dorothy, Dorothy...Illinois is not cold in winter? And frequently too hot & humid in July/August? Whereas we live in lotus land on Vancouver Island, shielded from both winter's ravages & summer's worst excesses. Don't judge our climate by the rest of Canada.

Sabretooth Tiger
May 28th, 2006, 04:27 PM
Ah, Vancouver Island . . . the Hawaii of the 22nd (global warming) century.

Peter Cruise
May 28th, 2006, 07:18 PM
Exactly & SoCal the new Galapagoes...

May 28th, 2006, 10:41 PM
I can only remember 4 days this year with a temperature just below freezing this year Peter. I was away for two weeks in Nov. and 2 weeks in Feb. are we fast becoming that tropical Paradise.

May 28th, 2006, 11:50 PM
Sounds interesting. I will have to visit sometime.

I don't mind heat, I just really dislike cold late in the spring and early in the fall. And bitter cold, which we have not had lately. One winter when my kids were small it was below zero for a week and I did not go outside at all. I hate cold weather, and should probably move South!

Matt S
May 30th, 2006, 12:32 AM

Please elaborate. What would we (USMS and its members) do with our pool? I understand we would rent it out to a lot of other groups to defray the costs of operation. But, what would we do with our time slots in that one pool?

Alternately, are you proposing a business model for opening more than one pool in areas where we think such pools could have the most utility? What would the goals be? What is the business plan you are proposing?

I've heard some say that such a USMS National pool could be the permanent home of National Championships. That has a certain appeal of not having to put the arm on a local club to do the incredible amount of hard work required to pull off the USMS meets, and having to find a pack of these lunatics twice a year. On the other hand, I think the meet might suffer as it loses a bit of the touristy, novelty of traveling to a new place for a meet appeal. (To say nothing of the new crop of locals at each meet who show up because, hey, it's within driving distance.) I'm an infrequent participant at Nationals. Let me ask the regulars. Say our National meets were always at the same facility in, oh say...southern California. Would you still come as often as you do now. If so, why? If not, why not?

I'm not criticizing this idea. I think if you have thought it through, this could be a brilliant suggestion. On the other hand, if you are proposing we fork out the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, to open what I assume would be an 50m facility that would be little more than one more place to swim in its local area, I have to wonder why we would do that?


Paul Smith
May 30th, 2006, 09:53 AM
I think it's great idea and could have some tremendous long term oppurtunities!

If you look at the USS model in Co Springs and apply the successful elements of that program to a facility like this it could make a lot of sense.

I was involved for a tme in trying to get an indoor 50m pool built in th Vail area....we'd brought in several college and USS teams over the years and there was a lot more who would have come with the right set up.

If USMS owned the facility they could have mulitiple camps going on thru the entire year, not just for competitive swimmers but triathlete, fitness, rehab, etc. Add in the college & USS programs they could lease the pool to, international teams, local PT programs, etc. and you have a pretty interesting concept.

The key in my opinion is having it in a location that people want to travel to for more than just swimming.....gotta have some vacation elements involved. Having it built at altitude makes a lot of sense as well.

May 30th, 2006, 10:37 AM
Are there any existing examples of 50m indoor pools that don't lose hundreds of thousands of dollars per year?

June 5th, 2006, 05:17 PM
i don't think usms should own a pool
there's plenty of pools across the country
it would be a huge unnecessary expense and an ongoing burden on the USMS annual budget

plus where is fair?


Matt S
June 5th, 2006, 07:15 PM
Oh Tall One,

I'd be interested in a business plan to combine all the elements you suggest. I think it may be feasible, but I'm not savvy enough to evaluate the business side of running a swimming facility. My bottom line as a USMS member is that I would want it to generate enough revenue to cover anual operating costs (including staff salaries to run all the programs), and I would want the programs to be sufficiently "knock your socks off" to justify spending the millions of USMS dollars it would take to build it. Do you have any creative plans to partner with others to get the facility built? Any of the sponsorship kind of deals we've batted around before?

Second question: do you propose that this facility become the permanent home for USMS Nationals?

Lastly, will I see your smilin' face the first weekend of FINA Worlds? It's been a few years, and I'd like to tip a cold one with you.


August 18th, 2006, 02:31 AM
We could 'show them how it's done' first by finding a mismanaged closing facility and leasing it for several years.

I think a lot of commercial leases go for about 5 years, i wonder if it would work similar with a sports facility.

Aren't there several pools in San Diego that closed down in the last year? Maybe someone would be interested in an affordable lease rather then having it just sit there collecting tax write-off.

Just a thought...

August 18th, 2006, 02:38 AM
I would lease one myself. I was looking at leasing a facility on Vancouver Island but the surounding population was not enough to support it. A friend of mine has a little pool in Oakville Ontario and does about $500,000 business a year teaching swimming.

Michael Heather
August 18th, 2006, 03:43 AM
No need for a lease, and there is very little need for a USMS facility in Canada. Perhaps when we annex the 51st-64th states, but not before.

There is ample precedent in the pool facility managed by GRIN Masters in Noblesville, IN for no lease. The club has exclusive use of a county (or city) pool with the agreement that they take responsibility for the management and programs. Doug Church has all the details (I may be way wrong on some, but the club runs the public pool).

In a closed pool, if a club or LMSC were to offer to take on the operation while maintaining access to the public, backed up with statistics and the success in Indiana, the city would be foolish not to consider the offer.

In this way USMS would not nationally be buying pools, but rather, insinuating itself into the fabric of society by taking small steps through subsidiaries (LMSCs) and affiliates (clubs).

August 18th, 2006, 10:28 AM
Clearwater Florida wants to lease there swim pools lane by lane for $5.00 an hour. Do a google search Clearwater Florida swimming pool lease.

August 18th, 2006, 11:23 AM
USMS should never own a pool. It woudl make it far too elitist appearing and many noncompetitive swimmers woudl leave the organizaiton.

Rob Copeland
August 18th, 2006, 03:00 PM

Youve lost me. If USMS owned a pool and used it to run camps, clinics and programs (including adult Learn-To-Swim and possibly even water aerobics), how would this be perceived as elitist?

The USMS mission is to promote fitness and health in adults by offering and supporting Masters swimming programs, any pool USMS owns would be used to support our mission.

Michael Heather
August 19th, 2006, 03:13 AM

I am curious about your line of logic. If USMS were to perhaps buy a pool in Little Rock, Arkansas, how would that affect swimmers in Colorado? And if the Colorado swimmers were so offended at a somehow perceived elitist move, do you think they would leave their pools and programs 1000 miles away?

I must reiterate now that USMS is in no way trying to purchase a facility in Little Rock or anywhere. USMS is not even in the faintest way considering buying, building or running a pool.

This may change in the future, but this thread only deals with "what if?" as a conversation.

August 21st, 2006, 07:23 PM
After reading this thread for a while now, I feel it is time to say a few words.

USMS could own a pool, but it would need to be pursued under the right circumstances, I think Connie had some good points regarding finding "belly up" or bust pools, unfortunately those would probably be smaller private etc. Once you fixed it got it running and making a buck or closing the subsidy considerably they would probably want it back...

Team Sheeper a triathlon club in Nor Cal just undertook a lease to run the City of Menlo park's Pool for the next few years, they claimed they can make it work and even turn a profit, within 6 months they decided they needed to go back to the City for a small amount of help ($100,000/annual subsidy). The City was losing this much to start with and now the community no longer controls the pool the community payed to build.

How much a pool looses depends directly on factors that include, amount of users and number of programs, temperature target, environmental factors, water cost, gas costs, electricity costs, type of thermal blankets, administrative costs, and more...

I do not believe it would be an elitist move, but I am curious about who the "elite" of Masters Swimming are? I keep hearing about them but only run into working folks that are swimmers in my circles. Some are also volunteers that help the organization at convention and meets.

I think Mike had it right, we need to start selling calendars and t-shirts, perhaps masters gone wild videos from the annual convention.

Rob Copeland
August 22nd, 2006, 01:32 PM
Originally posted by swimnjim
I think Mike had it right, we need to start selling calendars and t-shirts, perhaps masters gone wild videos from the annual convention. Not another Jim Wheeler Masters Gone Wild production We are still trying to settle all the law suits from the last one :)

jim clemmons
August 22nd, 2006, 06:59 PM
It's about time Mr. Wheeler chimed in.

Last years "Master's Gone Wild" was great. ;)