GREENSBORO, N.C. — Some high school swim teams could be losing a big part of their teams: their swimming pools.
The City of Greensboro pays to keep the swimming pools at Grimsley and Smith high schools up and running, and it’s been that way since the 1970’s.
However, as city officials said money is tight, they’re working with Guilford County Schools to figure out what to do.
Among the options at this point are sharing operational costs, reducing hours and even shutting down both pools.
“If both pools were shut down it would be really difficult for high school teams to still be able to swim because we don’t have those pools anymore,” said Matthew Kattman, Grimsley swimmer.
Grimsley’s swimming pool was damaged in a storm this past winter. Since then, the swim team has been scrambling to find pools to practice at.
“It was kind of difficult because Grimsley has a large swim team, and we had four lanes to practice, so that was kind of tough,” Kattman said.
Now their search could get tougher. The city of Greensboro spent $300,000 to run the two pools last year. This year the bill isn’t fiiting into Greensboro’s Parks and Recreation Department’s budget.
“We need to talk about how high of a priority the indoor pools are, and, if we are going to get out of that business, what are the other options? Obviously we opened up an aquatic center, which is an option,” said Greg Jackson with Greensboro’s Parks and Recreation.
Other high school swim teams and community members swim in Grimsley’s pool. Coach Angelo Kontoulas says shifting to the Greensboro Aquatic Center isn’t an easy fix.
“It all comes down to cost. Will the schools be able to provide transportation to a different location to train? Will they be able to afford to rent pool space to be able to swim? It’s going to be a tough question that athletic directors and school systems are going to have to address,” Kontoulas said.
Andrew LeRowe with Guilford County Schools admits it’s difficult to crunch the numbers.
“When we look at something that we didn’t have before, we really have to sit back and really put a lot of thought in it and come out the best solution,” LeRowe said.
High school swimmers and coaches hope keeping their pool open is part of that solution.