Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

December 23, 2007

Howard needs 50-meter pool

An article Dec. 16 in the Howard Sun discussed the Howard County budget wish list and spoke about the need for a 50-meter pool in the county. I am very involved with swimming in Howard County on many levels, and I believe that not only is a quality 50-meter pool necessary, but also that it is affordable and would be profitable.

The following are reasons why we need such a pool:

Howard County has excellent swimmers and a great club swim team (the Clippers), but the inadequate pool space for practice and meets drives many swimmers away.

Despite the fact that the summer swim venue is conducted in 50-meter pools, there is not a single 50-meter pool in the county, so Howard County swimmers must travel across county lines to practice. There is also not a single facility in the county in which to hold a big meet.

I helped to spearhead a drive to have a high school swimming program started in Howard County. Now the state of Maryland has a formal high school swimming program and championship meet in which nearly all the state's swimmers can participate.

But Howard kids cannot, and many quit swimming or even move to private schools to swim. Those who continue swimming in the county receive no recognition for their accomplishments. The lack of adequate public pool space was the primary reason that the county denied kids a chance to swim for their high school.

I am a geriatric physician and find it appalling that a county as affluent as Howard County provides no public swimming facilities for its residents. Certainly county residents of all ages should have an opportunity to participate in what is likely the most valuable form of exercise.

The central location of our county would make a 50-meter pool complex an ideal site to hold large regional meets. It would be rented by swim teams, the Department of Education, multiple programs including water polo and water aerobics, and by individuals who need a place to swim.

Without a doubt, a pool like that would be profitable. It would be well-used. And it would fill gaps that now exist.

In the end, Howard County should be embarrassed not to have an indoor public swimming facility, and it should be ashamed not to have adequate space to allow its children to pursue swimming through high school, and to allow its citizens who do not belong to private clubs to access to such a worthwhile activity.

A quality 50-meter pool complex would pay for itself and would benefit the citizens of this county. I can't see any reason why a pool like that is not under construction right now.

Andy Lazris

Ellicott City

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