Hinsdale lap swimmers argue for 50-meter lanes
Updated: April 29, 2013 9:53AM
HINSDALE — Lap swimmers will get another chance to have more time swimming 50-meter laps in the Hinsdale Community Pool.
After they insisted and explained why that should be possible to the Parks and Recreation Commission Monday, Chairman Matt Kluchenek advised two commission members, Director of Parks and Recreation Gina Hassett, and a representative of the swimmers to meet and hash out a compromise.
“I think we should be responsive. There has been a lot of frustration on both sides,” Kluchenek said. “We do need to get to a place where people can be happy about it.”
A handful of swimmers repeated the argument they have made for the past few years. The outdoor pool, at 500 W. Hinsdale Ave., should be set up with 50-meter lanes more often for the general public.
Last season, the pool was divided into eight 50-meter lanes from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. But often six of the lanes were rented to swim clubs from Hinsdale and other area high schools, leaving two lanes for anyone else who wanted to swim laps.
Swimmers from a high school swim club can share lanes more easily, because they are the same gender and about the same age and ability.
But if three or four individuals try to swim laps consecutively in the same lane, they risk colliding with each other, because their speed varies greatly.
“I’ve been intimidated,” said Vivian Walsh.
She said it’s a safety issue and is causing swimmers to join private facilities.
“They will pay membership fees to Lifetime Fitness, if they can count on no more than one or two swimmers per lane,” Walsh said.
The lap swimmers want two 50-meter laps available from 5 or 6 p.m. to when the pool closes each weekday. Many people could swim after work, which would lessen the number trying to get in their swim workout in the morning, resident Bill Barre said.
The pool needs to be divided into 50-meter laps by the next morning for the swim clubs’ practice, too, so it would not be extra work for the staff, Barre said.
Hassett has said if there are not a lot of recreational swimmers and there are enough employees, the 50-meter lanes will be set up in the evening. She does not want to make that a set policy, however, because it would be micro-managing, she said.
“I don’t want to say at 5:01 p.m., there’ll be 50-meter lanes, because it is not going to happen,” Hassett said.
The swimmers complained that when the decision is left up to staff on a daily basis, the 50-meter lanes don’t get set up.
“Let’s do some scheduling and stick to it,” said Matthew Halpin. “Instead of us showing up with our stuff and milling around trying to convince somebody (to set up the lanes).”
Parks commissioners Susan Owens and Kathleen Mulligan agreed to meet with Hassett and one of the swimmers to negotiate a satisfactory solution.