Health concerns plague Wayland Town Pool
On Wednesday, December 2nd, the Wayland swim team approached the Wayland Town Pool, their normal practice facility, to find two health inspectors checking for health hazards in the building. This was no surprise to swim team members; although there had only been two practices so far this season, which started Monday, many of the swimmers have been getting sick, suffering shortness of breath and intense coughing. The high concentration of chlorine in the pool, an antiquated filter system, and bad ventilation are said to be the causes.
The previous day, about 10-15 athletes had stopped swimming by the end of the practice due to coughing fits. Wayland junior Graham Mellen had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance for an asthma attack.
“I couldn’t breathe for about 45 minutes. Every time I tried to take my inhaler I couldn’t swallow. I just started coughing again, the air was so thick,” said Mellen.
So on Wednesday, after an hour of dry-land exercise, the team watched as the health inspectors took out the pool’s lane lines and started to drain the water. Over the course of the next few weeks the pool walls will be cleaned, and then filled with fresh water. It is expected the entire process will take a minimum of two weeks.
Where will the high school team practice during this essential time in their training? A new practice location for the team has yet to be determined, but both the Weston and Atkinson pools seem to be likely candidates for practices at 5:00 A.M. or 8-10 at night. Coach Mike Foley says he plans to make up some of the missed practices by practicing at other times, maybe Sundays, and doing dry-land exercises, which will keep the team in shape.
Fortunately, the team sees a new pool in its future. Construction for an entirely new Town Pool is slated to begin in March of 2010. The project was conceived, planned, and organized by a private group composed mostly of swimming parents, Wayland Community Pool, Inc. Money, of course, is a huge factor in the renovations. The team is selling “Warrior Gold Cards” once again this year, in an effort to raise money for the $2.5 million project.
“We hit a bump in the road with this whole pool situation, but I don’t think it is going to impact the potential of this group of people we have this year,” said senior Sarah Hastings. “The support system created by fellow swimmers is so crucial, and we are already so close, and it’s only the third practice. I think this pool glitch will only make us stronger.”