Opinion: Lamenting The Closure Of Nearby City’s Public Summer Pools


I still consider myself a ‘northerner’ after having been born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. But, after having been in the Cincinnati, Ohio area for the past 20 years, specifically just over the river in Northern Kentucky, I’ve learned that southern living has wonderful benefits as well.

Separated by only 3 hours, my hometown and current residence generally share the same weather patterns, which means kids in both spots typically hit the summer club pools non-stop between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

I was a huge summer pool rat in my day, with my mom dropping me off in the morning for swim practice and not coming back to pick my sisters and me up until they pulled the chain across the entryway to lock up at dusk.

We’d build towel forts on the deck chairs, scrounge up spare change for pizza bagels during the adult swim and take turns trying out crazy positions jumping off the diving board.

The lifeguards at my pool wore t-shirts that read, “Lifeguarding: Adventures in Babysitting” across the back to capture exactly how much of a close little community we truly had for 3 months of the year.

In addition to straight-up fun, the summer pool offered some out-of-school structure in terms of morning swim practices, dual meets and the serious quest for the end-of-season league trophy. So serious that we devised team chants to the tune of “Go, Bananas…..Go, Go Bananas, Hey!”

The memories made at summer swim clubs stay with you forever and can serve as a source of positivity when times get bleak, as they seem to be sometimes nowadays.

With this in mind, I was disheartened to learn today that Covington, Kentucky, a city less than 5 miles from my current home, has already decided it will not be opening its public pools this summer due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Just like that. No towel forts. No back diving contests. No seeing how long you can stand to walk on the hot concrete before lunging for shade.

With the city’s decision, I am lamenting the mere escape that a summer pool provides youth everywhere. Paying a small fee to take a break from your home life, school life and everything else to dive into crisp water is something that symbolically cleanses you of stress, worries, and strife.

I wonder what kids will turn to in order to fill the void left by not being able to meet up with friends at the pool. Will they be back the following year? Will they drop off the summer swim league map? Will they take up other hobbies?

Or, will they yearn for the day they can dive back in as if they never missed a beat? Will their love of water build and build through these trying times to where they want to do nothing else but get back to their once-favorite social summer spot.

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ct swim fan
9 months ago

Seems a bit early to me to be canceling stuff during the summer.

Reply to  ct swim fan
8 months ago

Not really when you think about it. Municipalities need money for essential services. With the future in question, the need to make sure that they have enough resources for essential services to be paid for for God knows how long. As much as we love the local pool, it is not essential and thus, goes to the back of the funding line.

Swim fan
9 months ago

Too early to make drastic decisions-let’s see how things go.

9 months ago

Smart move – We don’t need this thing to take us. We might need the water in pools to drink!

Reply to  Ladyvoldisser
9 months ago

Your cringeworthy trolling is a harder pill to swallow than watching NCAAs 2020 and Toyko 2020 both get annihilated by a virus. Please do us a favor and find a new hobby, preferably away from this website.

Book it!
Reply to  200 SIDESTROKE B CUT
8 months ago

200 sidestroke B cut – I wish I could up vote your comment a million times.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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