Leaks in both the 50-meter and 25-yard pools at the Florida Gulf Coast University Aquatics Center are causing a fl ood of problems for Campus Recreation employees, Aquatics Center members and several sports teams, including one that had to cancel its season.
The situation has created what Water Polo President Emily Aron is calling “a huge state of limbo.”
The center has been closed since early December, when the pools were drained for warranty repairs. Five leaks were found in the 50-meter pool, and a breach was found in the lining of the 25-yard pool. The breach was caused by groundwater pushing up against the pool fl oor, and before repairs can even begin the groundwater needs to be drained.
Amy Swingle, director of Campus Recreation, does not yet know what caused the leaks or when the pools will be up and running. “We honestly don’t know what’s wrong yet. They’re still gathering information,” Swingle said.
Wright Construction Group, which has done work for the University in the past, hopes to have an assessment of the situation by the end of this week. Meanwhile, several campus sports teams are searching for new practice space.
The women’s swimming and diving team is practicing at the San Carlos Park Community Pool, and although the team had to cancel two January home meets due to the closure, it will be hosting Florida International University at a to-be-announced pool on Jan. 25. The swim club will also practice at the San Carlos pool, as well as at Bowmen Beach for openwater swimming, said to club president Emily Withington.
“The pool closure did affect our season because we had planned to host a swim meet in Febuary. But we are still planning on competing in two swim meets this season, UCF and the East Coast Collegiate Swim Meet in Atlanta, Georgia,” Withington said.
While the FGCU swimming and diving team and the swim club can practice at a nearby location, the closest pool deep enough and equipped for water polo practice is 30 minutes away in Naples.
The club has officially cancelled its season.
The closure comes as a huge blow to the club, because this season it was going to host the Collegiate Water Polo Regional Championship at FGCU for the first time.
“We’re the only polo team within two hours north and south of us − that’s why it’s such a big deal that we were going to host here,” said Aron.
The water polo team will be competing in some local co-ed tournaments to keep active. “Instead of competing as much, we’re going to reach out to the swim team committee and put on water polo clinics and bring the sport to the west coast of Florida,” said Aron.
The closure is also affecting the lifeguards who work at the pools.
“We definitely want to keep them working,” Swingle said. “Some of them are just choosing to take the time off, but at least five or six of them are doing things like cleaning and reorganizing the Aquatics Center.”
Other lifeguards are now working with intramurals and in the Fitness Center. Members of the community with memberships to the pools have been understanding of the issue. The expiration dates of Aquatics Center memberships have been extended so that members are not charged for time the pool was closed.
“They want the pool fixed, and they want it done right,” Swingle said.