The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Pool renovations leave club swim high and dry

3 min read
A photo shot from above shows water being drained from the UMW Goolrick pool.

UMW Goolrick pool undergoes draining as part of the renovation project. | Abbey Magnet, The Weekly Ringer


Staff Writer

On March 18, the pool in Goolrick Hall closed for renovations until August, leaving the UMW Club Swim team high and dry. However, there is a plan in motion to keep them afloat and dive back in when the pool reopens. 

With Club Swim still recovering from the low attendance during COVID-19, the pool closing poses an additional barrier to the team’s growth and success. During the pandemic, the team adhered to guidelines that limited the number of swimmers allowed in the pool, which limited how many swimmers were able to attend practice. 

Prior to the closure, Club Swim practiced three days a week for an hour and a half and held time trial events to record swimmer’s times. Additionally, in an effort to increase engagement, the club team was planning a swim meet with several other universities in Virginia, which had to be canceled in light of the pool’s closure. 

While Club Swim has not yet been financially impacted, David Nichols, a junior geology major anticipates a future decline in membership.

“The pool renovation hasn’t impacted our budget directly, but this hit to our team as we are reestablishing it will likely reduce influx of new members,” he said. “Most of our team’s funding comes from dues so this might be a loss in the future.” 

The email from Jessee recognized that the closure impacts many swimmers and other patrons but that Campus Recreation has “worked closely with our athletics teams, club sports, and frequent users to minimize disruptions during their seasons and training schedules.” 

To provide a pool to UMW Club Swim members, UMW Campus Rec is working with the Massad YMCA, which is approximately 2.5 miles from campus. 

Despite the setbacks, some club members are grateful the University has made an effort to find an alternative option.

Claire Bergren, a junior English: Creative writing major and one of the captains of UMW Club Swim, said, “Luckily, the school and the campus rec team are willing to work with us to keep our club alive.”

However, this poses complications for the team in terms of transportation to and from the YMCA once they acquire their passes; the team will also have to find times during which they can practice. Even though the team is small, they were previously allotted three lanes in the Goolrick pool for practices. 

In addition to waiting on their passes, the team’s schedule will be further delayed because the Massad YMCA is conducting repairs on their pool from March 24 to April 1. 

In the meantime, the team continues to look for alternative ways to practice, even if they cannot swim. 

“We have talked about doing dryland days or running on local trails,” Nichols said. “Since the gym is included with tuition and the running trail is free, there should be no additional costs for non-swimming training.” 

However, these alternatives also pose a problem to several swimmers on the team. 

Hanning said, “Several swim club members have injuries that prevent them from doing any other exercise, and for some members, swimming is important for stabilizing their mental health.”

Although hopeful about UMW’s support for the club in the future, Bergren pointed out a suspicion.  

“To me, it seems a little bit fishy that as soon as the varsity team’s training schedule has ended [and] the pool needs to be emergently shut down,” said Bergren. “I’m not sure Club Swim’s training schedule is a top priority.” 

The pool renovation project began in the summer of 2023 with an evaluation of the facilities and some mechanical repairs. According to Jessee’s email, the anticipated project on the pool will “provide a better experience for all its users.” 

The next phase of renovations requires draining the pool to check the drains and systems, replace missing tiles, ensure the pool is code-compliant and replace the pool deck.