2500 Georgia Avenue, NW
Update from DPR’s Director of Communications Gwendolyn Crump:
“The DC Department of Parks and Recreation’s Aquatics Division has been providing four (4) lanes to the public during the lap swim time. DPR’s DC Wave swim program uses Banneker pool in the morning. It seems there is a large senior crowd in the pool during this time, as well. Guests may be under the assumption that only two (2) lanes are available. DPR will immediately place lap lane speed signs to help direct guests in the early morning. DPR continues to work hard to ensure that our programs and public swimmers can share space.”
A reader forwards a letter sent to the Department of Parks and Recreation Director:
“I am a regular lap swimmer, and was excited to buy a house in Pleasant Plains, where I could be close to Banneker Pool. I have, however, been sorely disappointed by the lap swimming facilities. Last Monday at 9am there were only 2 lanes for about 18 swimmers. All of the other lanes were occupied by swim clubs. Last Wednesday and Friday there was only 1 lane, and many swimmers left. This morning, Monday, I was in the middle of my swim when I was informed that there were no longer any lanes for recreational swimmers, and that we had to try to swim in the well area, where there are no lane markers and many water walkers. This is dangerous, as the chances of collision are very high. When I asked why there were no lanes for non-club swimmers, I was told that club swimmers pay to reserve lanes, and that they have priority. It was suggested that I, who live beside the pool, should find another pool in which to swim, so that club swimmers from across the city could use my local pool without the inconvenience of having to share it.
I understand that, since the closure of East Potomac Pool, there are few options left for long-course swimming, but the current situation at Banneker is unacceptable. Non-club lap swimmers have effectively been pushed out of the pool altogether. We have no means to reserve lanes, and we cannot pay more than we do (we pay our taxes) to ensure that we get to swim laps. This is unfair on non-club affiliated swimmers.
I would ask your office to please look into ensuring that there are AT LEAST 2 ROPED OFF LANES for recreational swimming are open during lap swim times (one for slower and one for faster swimmers), which is the minimum we should be able to expect during times designated for lap swimming. If this means that Banneker pool has to have longer lap swimming hours (say, 6-11am), then your office should ensure that this takes place, at least while East Potomac Pool is closed. If this does not happen, Banneker Pool will effectively be restricted to club swimming only, and the rest of us lap swimmers will have no long-course outdoor pool available to us. This pool was one of the strongest draws for me in moving to the neighbourhood, and I am extremely frustrated to find that I have been pushed out of it by a reservation system that allows clubs to take over entire pools.
My fellow lap swimmers and I, who were all extremely frustrated this morning, look forward to hearing how you intend to resolve this.”