By Brent Rutemiller
PHOENIX, Arizona, February 19. MEMBERS and neighbors of the Phoenix Swim Club have combined forces to launch an Online Petition to stop the sale and demolition of the city's only world-class aquatic complex designed for all levels of training and competition.
The facility, built in 1988, by Paddock Pools and financed by Charles Keating II, was designed as a state-of-the-art facility. The Phoenix Swim Club was originally called the Phoenician Swim Club and was intended to represent the Phoenician Resort throughout the world. The original Phoenician Resort bird remains embedded in the Phoenix Swim Club logo today.
The 50-meter competition pool was constructed with underwater windows that are used for analyzing technique. The deep stainless steel gutter system has an automatic suction return that eliminates waves generated by athletes making turns or finishing races at the walls. The gutter system absorbs waves and quickly returns the water back into the pool, keeping the water level constant and reducing turbulence. The 7 foot depth of the pool makes it hard for waves to bounce off the bottom and interfere with swimmers. In addition, the pool has various tile marks on the bottom that help swimmers position themselves underwater, signal swimmers on when to break to the surface and warn of approaching walls. The pool is one of the fastest in the world as Keating spared no expense at the time.
The main pool was designed as a rectangle that allows for multiple configurations. During the high school season the course can be set for training and racing at a 25-yard distance. A 25-meter course can be set-up to allow for over-distance training or international competition. The Olympic 50-meter course is set-up during winter holiday training and summers to prepare elite swimmers for world-class competition. Athletes and teams from around the world travel to Phoenix every year to train and hone their skills.
A 6-lane, 25-meter training pool sits next to the main pool. This pool's bottom slopes from 5 feet to 4 feet, allowing for lessons. The width of this pool is 16.6 yards and is used for training sprinters. Three widths equal 50 yards. Most athletes in the United States train in 25-yard pools and as a result only one turn is required to complete the 50 yard distance. However in this pool, sprinters are forced to make two turns to complete the distance and therefore have the opportunity to practice this critical aspect of racing.
Gary Hall Jr. and Anthony Ervin both trained often in this pool and both went on to tie for the gold in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Both pools have built in aerators that cool the pools during the heat of the summer and the competition pool has built in drinking fountains in each lane to keep the athletes hydrated.
A towing system is often used when the 50 meter pool is configured, allowing the athletes to be pulled through the water to simulate race pace and to help athletes attain a greater feel for the water. The original overhead lights were designed with enough candle power for television and positioned to eliminate shadows on pool walls.
No other facility in the country has all of these features in one location. It is no wonder that the Phoenix Swim Club has trained athletes for the past 8 Olympic Games from Barcelona in 1992 through the 2012 Games in London.
The only thing standing between continued success and the bulldozer is a Special Permit that allows the Phoenix Swim Club to remain on the Property. Brophy College Preparatory, current owner of the property, wants the Special Permit to be removed so that the property can be sold to the Ryland Group for development.
Members and neighbors are asking people to sign an Online Petition directed to the Phoenix City Council asking the council to NOT remove the special permit from the property.
Visit Save The Phoenix Swim Club on Facebook to learn more.
NOTE: Brent Rutemiller is CEO and Publisher of Swimming World Magazine and neighbor of the Phoenix Swim Club.