Too late to change, but pool will still be boon for swim teams
When it comes to competitive swimming, inches matter. So do centimeters.
This week, some parents of swim team competitors have become concerned that the Project AWAYSIS outdoor pool is apparently being developed in yards, instead of the current competitive standard of meters.
City officials confirm that the swim lanes will be 25 yards long, rather than 25 meters, a difference of about six feet per length.
"We are trying to track down when and how that decision got made. We have had city engineers going back to try to track an answer for that," said city staff leader Justin Yarosevich.
What they have discovered is that two conceptual drawings of the aquatic center were made at about the same time in 2000, very early in the AWAYSIS process. One showed the measurements in yards, one in meters.
It is not known why one version progressed in the plan rather than the other. "We have spent numerous hours looking," Yarosevich said.
City officials say it can't be changed now.
When the geopiers were sunk a couple of months ago to support the foundation of the lodge and waterpark, the project's footprint was determined.
Now that workers are pouring the exterior walls of the pool, it is literally set in concrete.
"To change now would be a matter of huge, huge dollars - and the reality of it is that we can't," Yarosevich said.
The issue of the dimensions in yards was first brought to the city's attention one to two months ago, after the geopiers had already been sunk.
"It is unfortunate. We are sympathetic to the fact that some people are feeling that lanes in meters would be the best-case scenario. We regret not being able to make a change," Yarosevich said.
The pool can still be used for swim team and to host youth-level competitions.
High school swimming and above stipulates distances in meters, but in Iowa, youth competition standards do not specify whether distances are to be measured in meters or yards, city officials said.
The lanes in the new pool will be the same 25 yards long as those in the old pool that was demolished, which has hosted many meets.
"As swimmers, parents and community, we have to realize that what we have is still an excellent facility and it will still be a very competitive format. We will continue to have excellent swim meets," Yarosevich said.
"We really have to make the best of the situation now. It is workable," he said.
Swimming team parents seem to agree. While they may be disappointed that the new facility will not allow for full length lanes in meters, they are saying they remain grateful and enthusiastic for the development and look forward to the events that will be held there.
Neither inches or centimeters can really measure the fun quotient.