Beyond The Lane Lines: University Of Kansas Closes Swimming Pool for Student Body

Get your news fix on happenings outside the pool with the latest ‘Beyond the Lane Lines.’ Each edition collects personal stories, little-known facts, and general items of interest from around the world. Read on and learn something new this week.

#1 Daiya Seto Wins Sports Award

Olympian Daiya Seto of Japan has been honored with the Kozuki Sports Award. The annual prize is given to athletes having earned “excellent results in international competition.”

The 28-year-old Seto took the bronze in the men’s 200m IM at this year’s FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest.

Seto’s next competition is scheduled to be the National Athletic Meet taking place later this month. Regarding his future goals, the IM and fly specialist stated,  “I’ll do what I have to do. I want to break the world swimming record in the 200-meter individual medley.”

#2 Site Named for New South Australian Aquatics Facility

The southwest corner of the North Adelaide parklands in South Australia is set to see a new aquatics facility constructed by the year 2026.

With a budget of $82 million AUD (~$57 million USD), the new building is set to house a 25-meter and 50-meter indoor pool, large indoor water play area, learn-to-swim pool and leisure swimming pools alongside fitness areas.

The site’s selection came after a four-month-long public consultation process which considered location factors such as convenience as well as impact to surrounding trees and bushland.

South Australia is already home to the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre, home to the nation’s Tokyo Olympic Trials as well as this year’s Australian Championships.

#3 University of Kansas Closes Remaining Pool – to all but varsity athletes

The University of Kansas has announced that swimming pools in the school’s Robinson Center will no longer be available to students, faculty or staff for open swimming.

The Department of Health Sport & Exercise Science the organization which managed and maintained the pools revealed in May that it would no longer be providing swim-related programming. That, combined with the difficulty in hiring lifeguards, resulted in the decision to keep the pools exclusive to only the KU Swimming and Diving teams.

According to the school’s statement, the university is in the process of developing a new master plan to identify campus facility needs and align facility planning with its institutional vision and strategic plan. Included in that process is an assessment of health, wellness and recreational facilities, including pools and other aquatic facilities. The research and assessment phase of the master planning process is expected to be completed in January 2023.

#4 Pools Closing Nationwide in France

The nation of France is in the process of closing nearly 30 swimming pools due to soaring energy prices.

According to France 24, Vert Marine, which operates pools and ice rinks across France, said Monday that its annual energy bill had jumped to 100 million euros ($99 million) from 15 million euros—a figure it said equaled “the company’s entire annual revenue”.

Vert Marine said it was up to “local authorities and the government to take necessary and unprecedented decisions to get back to bearable energy costs”.

In response, the French Swimming Federation (FFN) said in a statement, “These closures directly impact all children and adults who won’t be able to learn to swim.”

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22 days ago

Will the swim team at KU be the next to go? Is this just the start of the university doing away with the program altogether? They already cut the men’s team a few years back.

22 days ago

I swam at the Kansas pool for a college club meet. Fun swim meet.
College administrators may find an aquatic center (pool) to be a luxury but I wouldn’t have attended my college if it didn’t have a pool and reasonable swim time.

Reply to  Seth
22 days ago

I agree that an aquatic center is a luxury vis-a-vis a college education.

But what (warning, loaded questions about college economics incoming) is driving the explosion in college tuition rates if not luxuries? What is everyone paying more for?

Tuition at Kansas in 1987 was $1,290. Inflation-adjusted, that would be $3,364. Instead, in-state tuition today is more than triple that number.

If I’m paying $3,000/year for tuition, I wouldn’t necessarily expect access to a pool. But for $11,000 a year I might.

Dan Smith
Reply to  Braden Keith
22 days ago

Braden: Costs have soared all over. For public universities, depends whether the building is approved and constructed using state funds or donated funds…and NEVER is there money for upkeep and maintenance and staff included in the price…that comes from “other sources”, or the state…in which case the university has to get the funds on the state allocation to pay for it. Which means the institution needs to raise the money to pay for it all, and that is money not coming from state taxpayers…so fees kind of keep it going. I’ve seen at least two State University of NY schools close their pools in the last five years: Univ. at Albany (DI and swimming programs canceled at least 25 years… Read more »

Coach mary
23 days ago

I remember when Missouri had a really old pool and fielded a less than competitive swim team. Missouri made the decision to build an awesome facility for the university. When attending meets the outside pool is filled with students enjoying aquatics. Now talented swimmers In The Midwest choose to attend Missouri over Kansas. Many people drown each year throughout the USA and the world. It is really concerning that KU does not wish to offer these facilities to their students despite increasing tuition year after year!!!

23 days ago

Kansas State just closed their pool within the past 2 years because they didn’t want to maintain it. Such terrible decisions in the state.

Coach mary
Reply to  anonymous
23 days ago

It is unbelievable that our swimmers can’t attend a college in Kansas which has a swim team. With increased tuition these days it would be nice to go in state to school. There are several schools that offer a team:
KU. Women only
St Mary’s
Any others?

KUSC member
Reply to  Coach mary
22 days ago

Barton County CC!

23 days ago

We have 1000’s professional “consultants” who make a living by just making more rules, especially in aquatics. Training is more intensive than it needs to be, costs more, takes too much time, and the staff requirement are over the top.

But please. Keep making more rules for “safety” without realizing you’re making aquatics exceedingly scarce and dangerous.

23 days ago

>the difficulty in hiring lifeguards
This is an excuse. Every supposed “hiring difficulty” can be solved with higher pay.

Coach Tom
Reply to  BearlyBreathing
23 days ago

100%. The town pool in my town hasn’t opened in the past 2 years due to “lifeguard shortages”. I reached out to them about spearheading a re-opening and taking care of the staffing in exchange for them letting my club team use the pool. Surprise, surprise, their “staffing shortage” was due to the fact that certified lifeguards didn’t want to sit in the summer heat for minimum wage.

When I was in high school, the reason everyone wanted to lifeguard is because it paid better than the other jobs typically held by high school students, like flipping burgers and bagging groceries. I have no idea why a young person would go out of there way to do all of the… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Coach Tom
Georgia Rambler
Reply to  Coach Tom
22 days ago

In our county Lifeguards were paid less than fast food workers…but the county finally stepped up and increased their pay to $17. hour same as the other county workers. Although there is still a shortage of lifeguards, we should attract more eventually. This is a good thing as our aquatic centers are heavily used by club teams, HS teams, masters swimmers and a large group of senior citizens for aerobics and fitness classes.

Reply to  BearlyBreathing
22 days ago

Then you won’t need any lifeguards because no one will be able to afford the programming.

This concept is not difficult.

Jesse J
23 days ago

That poor decision is very short-sighted, KU!
RIP KU Swim Club.

KUSC member
Reply to  Jesse J
23 days ago

I’m on the club, we still exist. We just have to practice once a week together at the indoor public pool.

DCC Parent
23 days ago

Come on KU… you are better than that. It’s bad enough the local high schools have access to better aquatics facilities. But with 25,000+ students on campus, a fresh bball natty ($$), and 1000s of PhD’s a stones throw away, this is the best answer you can come up with?

By all means, study it some more. You’ve been doing that since the 1980s when Robinson was already considered “old”. Embarrassing.

Dan Smith
Reply to  DCC Parent
23 days ago

The real question is has the administration deferred maintenance and repairs? That is usually a BIG signal the programs and the pools have been “teed up”.

Last edited 23 days ago by Dan Smith

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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