Southern Lehigh should build a swimming pool


Isabelle Johnson

A swimming pool would be an asset to the award-winning swim team and the community.

Isabelle Johnson, Staff Reporter

With the lack of a pool at Southern Lehigh, getting the maximum possible time to train in the water can be difficult for the swim team. Practicing six times a week requires swimmers to drive or take a bus to Cedar Crest or Muhlenberg College to use their pools. On a regular basis finding space at one of the two pools is fairly easy, but when there is a schedule change, it is more difficult to do so. Therefore, Southern Lehigh should consider building a pool for the best interest of the swimmers. 

“I think having a pool would help us a lot, especially with transportation, ” said sophomore Grace Robinson, a member of the swim team. “We wouldn’t have to pay for buses, but could instead do other things with the money the swim team has.”

During the 2020-2021 school year, swimmers were bused to practice but were required to have a ride home from the pool. This season, many parents said in a swim team Zoom meeting that they felt it was a safety concern and was dangerous for their inexperienced drivers to travel on a major highway during the winter season. Swimmers are now provided with buses for the ongoing season to and from practice, but it was challenging to find the funds needed to pay for them. If Southern Lehigh were to have a pool, paying for the buses to transport the team would not be necessary and the money could be used for other expenses such as pool maintenance or equipment for the swim team. 

Southern Lehigh’s swim team has historically been very successful and is one of the top teams in the Colonial League. Despite the team’s notable performances, the group is greatly impacted by a lack of members who participate in the sport. Schools like Emmaus, who have a pool available to them, placed higher than Southern Lehigh at PIAA Districts last year. Although there are more members on their swim team than on Southern Lehigh’s, there may be a better turnout in participation, resulting in greater success at Districts and other high-level meets. 

Swimmers have also yearned for a larger student section, but it is much harder for students to always travel to another school to watch a meet, rather than going to their home pool. This leaves many swimmers feeling disconnected from the school spirit that other sports like basketball or football recieve. 

“Having a pool at Southern Lehigh would make the swim team much more involved with the school and its students,” said sophomore Genevieve Fry. “It would make it much easier for families, students, and swimmers to come together for meets and other events, overall making it a better atmosphere for the team.” 

Other than supporting the swim team, a pool would change the way students at Southern Lehigh know gym class. Although some students may not like the sound of jumping into a chilly pool as a class during the school day, those who do not know how to swim can learn, which promotes general water safety. 

“There are a lot of great things that can come from having a pool; it makes it easier for the swim team, gym classes could use it, it can be used for the community for lifeguard training and other activities that would benefit our students,” said assistant principal Mr. Chad Kinslow.“The big con, however, is the cost not only for building the pool, but also to keep up with it and maintain it.”

Although building a pool is a major expense that is not foreseen in the plans of Southern Lehigh as of now, it would be a major asset to the swim team and community as a whole. Other than simply supplying the swim team with more opportunities, it could be used by locals over the summer and could be kept up by volunteers, overall adding a positive resource for the Southern Lehigh community.