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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Still Writing: Limited pool hours sink hopes of convenient daily swimming

Published: February 3, 2012
Section: Opinions

I’ve been swimming recreationally since I was about three years old. I even remember part of a swimming lesson in which I tried to swim away from my lesson group and into the deep end of a pool. I think I mostly wanted to show my parents that I could swim on my own at that point. While I never swam competitively, I decided during my senior year that I was going to make use of the athletic facilities at whichever college I chose, primarily by swimming every day.

When I first arrived two and a half years ago, I planned to swim regularly only to learn on the first day of orientation that the pool had broken in the previous year and there were no plans to repair it at the time. To put it simply, I was ecstatic when last year it was announced that the pool would finally be repaired and running by the middle of my third year at Brandeis. While I had made peace with the fact that the only reason I had for bringing my swimsuit to school every semester was in case I decided to take a trip to Florida or some other locale during breaks from school, I always held hope that eventually the Linsey Pool would be fixed and that it would hopefully be done before I graduate.

Fast forward to the beginning of this semester: After a short week of classes, the pool party marked the official re-opening of the pool. After the opening, I was finally able to find a schedule of the pool hours. Unfortunately, the pool is open for 36 hours and 45 minutes per week. The daily schedules break it down to five hours and 45 minutes per day on week days, and four hours per day on weekends. Further, if I leave out the hours on Sunday dedicated to gender-specific swimming, it is as if the pool is only open for three hours on Sunday for any given person, as I’m 99 percent certain that no one qualifies for both the women’s hours and the men’s hours.

On weekdays, the pool is open in three blocks: 7:15 to 9 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and from 6 to 8 p.m. With various commitments such as classes, homework and clubs, it can be very difficult to find the time to go to the pool. While I’ve found the time to swim every day, I’ve had to move other parts of my daily routine around instead of fitting it in on top of other obligations.
The weekends offer the least total hours, but they have an advantage over the weekdays in that the swimming hours are all in a large block. On the weekends, the pool is open for four continuous hours. On Sundays, when the pool is open to any given student for a three-hour block, it’s still open longer than any of the time blocks on weekdays.

I understand that the pool will most likely only be open when lifeguards are available, and I understand that it costs money to pay lifeguards because no lifeguard is going to work for free. The thing is, there are plenty of students that need jobs and would happily take a few hours a week of work, even at what may seem like odd hours.

I also understand that swimming and diving clubs and teams have scheduled practices that use the pool at times when it’s not open to the average student. Without knowing when these groups have practices, I can hardly imagine which hours the building is open and the pool is actually unused, but there must certainly be hours when the building is open that the pool is not in use.
I won’t deny that even with these hurdles I’ve found a way to go to the pool every weekday and I am working on finding the time to go on the weekends, too. The pool opened to huge celebration and is without a doubt a welcome addition to the athletic resources available to students. I just hope that eventually, like the weight-room, cardio room and other areas of Gosman, the pool reaches the point where it’s open throughout the day and only closed when clubs or the swim team reserve it.