YMCA Chicago Clubs Return to Pools for Lap Swim After Closing of 3 Facilities

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Photo Courtesy: YMCA

YMCA swimming programs have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in different ways depending on regions, including the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

The YMCA of Central Ohio has canceled its competitive swimming season, while YMCA of Central Florida went a step further and disbanded its competitive swim teams indefinitely.

The affects of the pandemic are felt everywhere and YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago have been heavily affected as well. Three Chicago-area YMCAs have been forced to shut down altogether, including competitive swimming programs.

But six of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago clubs opened pools for limited use — lap swim — two weeks ago with updated safety and social distancing guidelines, including staying six feet a part and only one person in a lane at a time.

The six pools that reopened included Buehler YMCA in Palatine, Fry Family YMCA in Naperville, Foglia YMCA in Lake Zurich, Indian Boundary YMCA in Downers Grove, Irving Park YMCA in Irving Park and Lake View YMCA in Lake View.

The Kroehler Family YMCA in Naperville, the Lattof Family YMCA in Des Plaines and the Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles are the facilities that have closed. Members of the closed facilities were permitted to transfer their membership to any of the remaining 14 locations in the greater Chicago area, but the closest other club for many residents is six miles away, making an alternative location impossible for many residents.

“Even before this healthcare crisis, these YMCA centers have been operating at a loss for many years, mainly due to the rising costs of maintaining an aging building, and because of declining membership and program enrollment,” Richard Malone, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, told NBC5 Chicago.

Lattof hosted a masters swim meet for many years every January, including 2020.

In regard to Leaning Tower, Malone stated: “Unfortunately, due to the impact of COVID-19, we have abruptly reached the tipping point and no longer have the ability to cover the center’s losses. The organization has considered fundraising for the facility, but our study has concluded that forecasted funds would not be enough to cover future losses.”

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