Marianas Variety

Last updateTue, 23 Oct 2018 12am

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    Monday, October 22, 2018-12:10:17A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Please reopen the pool

I WAS sad and angry to see the picture showing the closing of the only pool, on Saipan, that is for use by the general public. The pool was a major recruitment incentive in my family’s decision to move to Saipan back in 1990.

All of my older children benefited from learning to swim and for their involvement in competitions. Swimming improved their health, and created great friendships, all while they were guided by caring adults. Their swimming skills made their late night swims at Sugar Dock, early morning activities at east bay, and all other water activities they participated in safer.

I have heard several people comment, “Why do we need a pool when we are surrounded by ocean?” That is a good question. Why don’t we make better use of the ocean so that more people learn to swim, and at the same time put in safety equipment and lifeguards so that the ocean is as safe as a pool? I guess we could also ask why we have a track when running can be done anywhere. Why do we have baseball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, soccer fields with specific measurements marked off? It is for specificity of training and competition. The length of the pool never changes; the salinity of the water is consistent, the starts, turns, and finishes are the same as the competitions the swimmers will be competing in. The ocean, while a beautiful and wonderful resource, has tides, currents, waves, sea life, and other conditions that are different from competition conditions.

I asked the coach of the Tonga national team how he was able to get such fast swimmers when they only have the ocean for training. He said the swimmers he brought to the competition trained in Australia. A Russian  coach came to Saipan to teach us about training athletes for open water competition. He said, straight out, that all of the high level open water swimmers train in pools.

Please let’s reopen the pool. I have three young children that I want to have the opportunity to be involved in swimming, and my son, who will be finishing his missionary service next April, would like to return to competitive swimming. Also, I am working with students at Koblerville Elementary School who are showing the potential to be highly competitive. Our island is full of potential swimming champions, if they are given the opportunity.

VALRICK WELCH
Saipan, CNMI