Allow age group swim programs to resume

In 1921, Franklin Delano Roosevelt contracted polio after vacationing at a lake in Canada. Many believed swimming was the cause. The fear of contracting polio kept countless kids away from pools. In 1946, researchers found that chlorine could inactivate the polio virus and pool swimming became safe again.

Chlorine also inactivates COVID-19. That’s why it’s safe to swim in our county pools, as long as social distancing measures are followed.

It’s time to allow members of age group swim teams, dive teams and Masters programs to resume their practices in county pools. These are non-contact outdoor sports. Social distancing can be maintained. These practices take place in early morning and evening when county pools are otherwise unused.

In April, the coaches of these programs created proposed rules for team workouts, based on national guidelines by their governing bodies. These guidelines include wearing masks when not in the pool, arriving for practice wearing swimsuits and spacing swimmers to ensure social distancing. They were provided to Maui Parks and Rec mid-May.

A month later, the swim and dive coaches have not received approval to resume practices, while other sports, including paddling, baseball and soccer, have been allowed to begin.

Public lap swim hours (9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.) don’t fit most working adults’ schedules. Young swimmers under the age of 13 aren’t allowed. The county’s phone reservation system is overwhelmed. Some swimmers have simply given up. For adults with back or joint problems or arthritis, this delay is truly painful.

Dr. Donelle Williams



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