Things are busy in the city of Edmond where construction for the new pool is moving ahead. This pool is a joint project of the City of Edmond, Edmond Public Schools, and the Edmond YMCA. Photos are courtesy of Gene Lavastida, project architect, Crafton Tull.
Norman has a long history of competitive swimming. Check out this great picture of NHS state qualifiers from the late 1980s!
Two articles highlight some of the many reasons that Norman should have a year-round swim complex. On September 5, USA Swimming reported on what Memphis is doing to make swim lessons more accessible after the deaths of a 13 year old and a 15 year old in swimming pools. Over 30 community organizations came together to make certain it didn’t happen again. The full story can be found at http://www.usaswimming.org/ViewNewsArticle.aspx?TabId=1&itemid=4710&mid=8712
City of Midland Aquatics, a swim club in Texas, is working towards adding a 50-meter multi-purpose pool to their aquatics complex. The first pool is still in use today, an eight-lane, 25-yard pool. It now includes a competitive pool with a diving tower, aerobic and therapy pools and a gym and therapy center. City of Midland Aquatics also sent two people to compete in the Summer Olympic Trials. http://www.mywesttexas.com/top_stories/article_48700068-f8b0-5a67-b376-13006737c3aa.html
Look at the similarities between Midland, Texas to Norman. Population? Midland’s is 107,175 (City of Midland, 2010). Norman’s is 110,325 (Oklahoma Department of Commerce, Census Data 2010). Midland’s swim club is 44 years old. Norman’s swim club–Sooner Swim Club- will be 50 years old next year. Midland has a year-round swim complex. Norman does not.
The BBC Olympics site had a lot to say about the sport of swimming, from Olympic champions to the children in the country. Found out more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/swimming/16529484
Why does Norman need a year round swimming pool? Recreation and exercise come immediately to mind, but perhaps the most important reason is to provide the opportunity for everyone to learn how to swim.
According to The Takeaway program, America is barely staying afloat with the Red Cross reporting 37 percent of Americans admit to not being good swimmers. Almost a third of that number said they couldn’t swim at all. Even worse is among minority groups: 70 percent of African-American children and 60 percent of Hispanic children don’t know how to swim. More than half.
Read more about the state of swimming in America at http://www.thetakeaway.org/2012/jul/30/why-can-so-few-american-minorities-swim/
The Olympic Swim Trials were held from June 25-July 2, often in front of sell-out crowds. That’s 18,975 seats in the audience. Three Oklahomans swam in the trials: David Plummer, Paul Le, and Eastman Holloway. It was exciting.
It’s hard to fathom the popularity of swimming as a spectator sport when swimmers in Norman are begging for water time in a limited number of lanes. The Olympics is the one time that the general population gets excited about swimming. According to USA Swimming, the future of swimming looks bright:
Anyone who bemoans the future of USA Swimming, look no further than the 200 backstroke events, men’s and women’s. On the men’s side, three of the most dynamic swimmers in our future – Ryan Murphy, Jack Conger, and Jacob Pebley – showed America why swimming’s “After Phelps” future is bright. Murphy wowed all week, including dominating his own age group national record in the 100m backstroke while challenging Peirsol’s record in the 200. In the women’s 200m backstroke, every finalist was a teenager except for Teresa Crippen. When is the last time an Olympic Trials championship finals featured seven teenagers? While it’s true, many older and post-graduate athletes competed, some standout youngsters hinted there’s a long road of success ahead.
Let’s remember to use the momentum of the excitement drummed up by Olympic swimming to further swimming in Norman—for all ages and types of swimmers.
Drowning is the second leading cause of unintended, injury related death of children under 14 and a leading cause of death for children ages 1-5. Research shows participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88% among children aged 1 to 4, yet many kids do not receive formal swimming or water safety training. The number one water safety tip from the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) is to teach children water safety and swimming skills as early as possible. Encourage swimming lessons and water safety in our community. Drowning is such a preventable accident, but we need swimming pools!
June 14th is the day that the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson takes place. Click on http://piscesproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/1012.pdf for more information.
Don’t forget to like The Pisces Project on Facebook!
Support for a year-round aquatic center in Norman continues to grow. See what these Norman residents have to say.
See what The Oklahoman has to say about the recent city council meeting about Norman’s Cultural Center.
The Pisces Project’s efforts to get a new aquatic center in Norman are gaining momentum,
but it needs a big push from the swimming community. The City of Norman is
engaged in open discussions about a “cultural center” that is to be
part of University North Park (UNP). The definition of cultural center is broad
and could mean an aquatic center. The aquatic center, along with at least two
other projects, are being considered. If the aquatic center is chosen, funding
from University North Park (TIF) will be applied to the project. This does not
require a public vote only a City Council vote. So City Council members need to
be convinced that the aquatic center is the clear choice.
Here’s how you can help. Contact the City Council members and tell them to build the
aquatic center. Urge the city council to choose an aquatic center as the
cultural center planned for UNP in the TIF. Explain what an aquatic center would do for Norman’s quality of life. Then ask friends, neighbors, and family in Norman to do the same. If you don’t have the contact information, you’ll find it at the City of Norman government page at http://www.ci.norman.ok.us/cityclerk/city-council.
Thanks for your support!