In open water

Swim & Dive after the closure of the Shoreline pool

by Ursula Stickelmaier, staff

 The Shoreline pool has been a staple in the swimming community of Shoreline since 1971. For the past 47 years it has done its job and helped swimmers and divers of all ages learn and grow as athletes. But last summer the Shoreline pool closed its doors for good, and the effects this closure has had on Shorewood and Shorecrest swim & dive teams has been devastating.

Every pool has a lifespan, which means once that lifespan starts to come to an end measures need to be taken in order to renew it. For the community of Shoreline this meant that money needed to be spent to fix the problems the pool had. It was taken to a vote on Nov. 20, 2019 and while the proposition did gain 54 percent approval it needed at least 60 percent to pass. After this vote the city council opted for closing the public pool instead of spending any more money to fix it. During the summer of 2021 they did just that. 

Now what exactly does this have to do with the Shorewood and Shorecrest aquatic programs? The closure of the Shoreline pool has caused both the boys’ and girls’ swim & dive teams to relocate. This relocation has caused problems for both teams.

Finding pools that are available for high school-level swimming is not an easy task. And while this meant that swimmers relocated their practices to Innis Arden, an outdoor pool located six minutes from Shorewood, divers are now practicing in the pool at Mariner High School. “The drive is about 30 minutes there and 30 minutes back, and it just takes so much time, to the point where I question why I’m investing my time into this sport that I only started this year,” says Paul Oh, the lone diver for the team.

Location matters in whether a student is willing to participate in a sport or after-school activity. And they are much more likely to join something if it’s only a short drive from their school or home. This is evident in the athlete attendance in the swim & dive teams. Since no transportation is offered by the school district to get divers up to Mariner for practice problems have arisen for athletes participating. 

“Three of the divers that we had quit dive because they couldn’t get to Mariner High School after school. So, we just have one diver left,” said Jeremy Hunter, head coach. 

Another one of the major changes the swim & dive teams are facing is that they are no longer able to practice and most of the time compete together. Anyone who has played a sport can say that the team atmosphere built during a season is important to the success that program has. But that atmosphere is in jeopardy for the boys and girls teams now that the divers and swimmers no longer share a pool. “The swim team is usually very energetic, playful, and loud, and I don’t really get to be a part of that,” says Oh. For now these athletes will be working with what they’ve got and they show their dedication and love for the sport at each practice and meet. 

“I think the Shorewood swim and dive team has always done a good job with cultivating a culture and community that’s built off of morale and improvement,” says Oh. 

Hunter hopes to see that culture continue and urges people to vote to fund a new city pool: “If there isn’t a pool that’s going to be available and sustainable for teams in the future it’s putting the culture at risk of evaporating.”