Swim team's fate hinges on future of YMCA pool

Darrell Cole
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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."


Organizations: YMCA, Mount Allison University, YMCA board

Geographic location: AMHERST, Moncton

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Recent comments

  • J
    January 18, 2010 - 10:52

    hey zachary

    you can thank the fine people of amherst if they let the pool slip away. I'm sure the commentators on here believe you can use the pool at the Super8.

    amherst is not a place for families anymore amherst represents the changing demographics of Nova scotia. Old boomers who are getting older.

  • Zachary
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    Amherst and Cumberland County are enriched by the presents of The Cumberland Spartans Swim Club. I moved to Amherst less then 18 months ago and was introduced to the Spartans close to a year ago. Volunteering as an assistant coach I have had a wonderful time working with the athletes. I also work full time at the Y and see the team using the pool to the fullest every time they are in the water.

    This team is unique within the county. There is no other swim club for NS swimmers in the area. The Spartans put Amherst and Cumberland county on the map with Swim NS. The swimmers in the club are a very dedicated group. They are in the water four times a week, with some of them swimming more then 10 km within that time. They have some very high caliber swimmers that can compete at the national level as well as some newer swimmers that have shown the dedication and passion become great.

    The draw of the swim team may not be as big as hockey or soccer but there is one big thing that sets them apart. Building strong swimmers can directly SAVE LIVES. I know that a lot of money gets poured into sports in this area and by supporting the Y the town and the county would also be directly supporting the Spartans.

  • Ann
    January 18, 2010 - 10:29

    Amherst has shown support for those who pursue softball, soccer, skating, and hockey by providing sport fields and an arena. The Cumberland Spartans are a dynamic team that is losing access to Amherst's only public pool. No other alternative pool exists in Amherst. We should provide the same opportunities to all youth in the community who chose to swim. Facilities are made available to youth in field sports and ice sports. The Spartans should have the same opportunity.