Top swimmers at the Langley Olympians swim club are resorting to desperate measures to try and maintain conditioning during the coronavirus pandemic that has closed public swimming pools, Langley Township council was told Monday, June 29.
One athlete has been swimming in a three-foot-deep pool while tethered to a fence, said Kristi McIntosh, who spoke for a group of parents of Olympians swimmers.
Others members of the club are working out in their garages, or swimming in lakes and swim spas, McIntosh added.
“There is no substitute for a pool,” she declared.
Langley Township should do what Langley City and other Lower Mainland municipalities are doing and allow swimmers back in municipal pools, McIntosh argued.
In March, the swimmers lost their practice places at the Walnut Grove and W.C. Blair indoor pools, when they were ordered closed as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Now that those conditions are being eased, some Metro Vancouver pools are reopening, and Langley Township should follow suit, McIntosh urged.
“We respectfully ask that you open the Aldergrove pool immediately, and outline and publish your timeline for opening the remaining pools,” she said during an appearance before a virtual meeting of council by video.
For the more than 260 five- to 19-year-old swimmers in the club, plus masters-level competitors, the enforced idleness has been a source of frustration, she said.
“It’s been hard.”
While Langley City, Surrey and Burnaby have announced they will be opening pools, all of them outdoors, next week, Langley Olympians have nowhere to swim.
“There are three outdoor pools in the Township of Langley and we do not know when or if they will be opening,” McIntosh told the Langley Advance Times.
Al Anderson Pool in Langley City has set aside several hours per day for the competitive summer program for the Langley Flippers swim club, McIntosh noted.
Some Olympians will be trying to get laps in at the Langley City pool while they wait for a decision from the Township, she added.
Olympians are the current 2020 Winter Provincial Champions and have three nationally carded athletes, McIntosh added.
“Several members of our team were supposed to go to Olympic trials last April, and need to continue training for Olympic trials in 2021,” she advised.
As the delay drags on, “our kids are increasingly worried about their athletic futures,” McIntosh said.
“For some of the kids, swimming is their ticket to university.”