Re-defining open

Our community recreation center recently re-opened on a limited basis. Classrooms are off-limits, as are the showers and dressing areas. But the cardio areas and lap pool are available, by reservation. Meaning that you need to call ahead and reserve a lane or piece of equipment. You get temperature checked as you walk-in and need to wear a mask at all times, except when you are in the water. Four swimmers are allowed in the pool at a time, in every other lane. You come dressed to swim and leave in a wet bathing suit. I now understand what wearing a diaper feels like.

There are more lifeguards on deck than there are swimmers at this point. Lots of repeated disinfecting of things that no one really touches, like ladders and bleachers. Given the level of attention given to these tasks, I’m pretty certain that coronavirus is not in the building. But one can’t be too cautious with this novel virus. There’s so much that we don’t know about it, and it’s best to side on the more disinfected end of the spectrum.

I swam twice last week, on Thursday and Friday. This was the first time since mid-February. I definitely could feel that I hadn’t been in the pool for a while. I did 2000 yds on Thursday and 1900 yds on Friday, which isn’t too awful given the long break from the pool. The events that I’m planning to swim are a long way off (now 2021), but I have a long way to go to be more competitive. Being permitted to swim now will help in the long run. But the extra training time won’t be worth it if I end up sick.

I’m now wondering if anyone should be using the pool at this point in time. Yes, the state has allowed recreation centers and gyms to open, with stringent restrictions on capacity. But, really, does anyone fully understand the implications of doing this? We live in an area that has seen fewer cases relative to the number of people living here. That is changing as the virus continues to spread in more rural areas. Our state is one of the few with an uptick in cases recently. It would be good to know if this is due to the recent re-opening of a variety of businesses and facilities.

For now, I will likely continue to swim. This really is an ideal time for a lap swimmer, with reserved lanes and times. There is no crush of swimmers in shared lanes. There aren’t any kids yelling and jumping off the diving boards. But such restricted use of a community facility seems such a waste. There are only a few other recreators in the whole place — is it worth the expense to be open for such limited use?

Photo by Benjamin Basch on Unsplash

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