AMHERST - The fate of the Cumberland Spartans may very well depend on the future of the pool at the Cumberland YMCA.
Responding to news the pool at the YMCA will be closed on March 15, the coach of the swim team is afraid what a permanent closure will mean.
"There's no question it will have a huge impact on the team," Jan Matthews said. "Most of the swimmers I have talked to are sort of in shock that it's happened. They're just about to finish one season and start another and now they may not have a pool to train in."
The Spartans' 24 members use the pool four days a week for about 7.5 hours. While the pool is not properly configured for either long-course or short-course competitions, the members use it for training for competitions throughout the Maritimes.
With the YMCA pool closing, the club will be looking for swim times elsewhere to finish out the season that runs through July. The pool at the Mount Allison University is one option as is Moncton. All of this, however, adds times and money to the training schedule and there's no guarantee the club will be able to find training times elsewhere.
Matthews understands the YMCA board's decision, but she's still disappointed since the pool should not be seen as a budget entry on a spreadsheet.
"It's such as loss for the community. A pool isn't necessarily be seen as a line item on spreadsheet, it should be seen as a quality of life thing," she said. "We're encouraging lifelong sport and being physically active through life. Many people choose swimming as their activity and now they're going to lose out."
She's hoping the town and the Municipality of Cumberland will be able to come through with the funding to reopen the pool as soon as possible since a pool is just important to a community this size as an arena is.
"It's nice to see the kids come into this club and grow and develop into leadership roles," she said. "Sure our registration isn't as high as hockey or soccer, but they are very dedicated."