Sportspark Chasing Away Swimmers

October 5, 2017

 To the Editor:


Over the past few weeks, operations at the Sportspark pool have degraded substantially. The evening open swim hours used to be 7:30-10:15 p.m., then became 7:30-10:00 p.m., and now, 7:30-9:00 p.m. 


Under the original hours, if swimming later, you could exit the pool at 10:15 p.m., shower and change, and leave by 10:30 p.m. Now, under the substantially reduced hours, The time is closer to 8:45 p.m. Not to mention that lifeguards and front desk staff start haranguing swimmers to get out of the pool, often barking and bellowing, and exhibiting general disrespect and hostility. 


Apparently, management has instructed them to clear the pool early so that the entire building can be cleared by 9:00 p.m., which is patently absurd. The posted hours are 7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m, so swimmers should be able to swim until 9:00 p.m.. Unfortunately, these reduced hours and rule changes (implemented to save money, apparently) have created an atmosphere of tension and hostility at the pool, defeating the purpose of swimming – to relax, exercise, and feel good. 


The lifeguards hover around people in the locker rooms.They mop while people are showering and dressing, to complete their tasks by 9:00 p.m. I don’t know who instituted these changes, but it has made swimming at Sportspark exceedingly unpleasant. Also, the clock on deck is a few minutes ahead of the clock by the front desk. On at least three occasions over the past couple of years, I have observed lifeguards moving up the time on the pool clock. 


Ultimately, if the pool is to be vacated by 8:45 p.m. or 8:50 p.m., the posted hours should have been 7:30-8:45 p.m. One surly front desk employee, who has consistently maintained a menacing demeanor when engaged on this topic, said repeatedly that he doesn’t get paid overtime if he works beyond 9:00 p.m., which, aside from being illegal, has essentially made that our problem. The pool used to have quite a fun environment, and sadly, that is no longer true. Hopefully, RIOC management will see fit to address these concerns and revert to normal hours and a convivial atmosphere.


Matt Lewis


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