Hinsdale swimmers want longer laps
Bill Barre wants more 50-meter lap lanes open at the Hinsdale pool this summer so adult residents, and not just high school swimmers, can stay fit swiming the pool's long length, which is rare in the area.
Updated: April 29, 2013 2:12AM
HINSDALE — Hinsdale swimmers want a better workout, and the community swimming pool can give them one.
If, they say, the village sets up 50-meter lanes in the pool more often during the summer for adults only.
Last year, the outdoor pool, at 500 W. Hinsdale Ave., regularly was divided into eight 50-meter lanes from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday. Often, six of the lanes were rented to swim clubs from Hinsdale and other area high schools, said Bill Barre, a resident who lives a few blocks from the pool.
Other swimmers who showed up to swim laps were limited to the remaining two lanes.
Sometimes, it would be so crowded, Barclay Smith said he would leave and go to the Oak Brook Park District pool, where he swims during the year when Hinsdale’s pool is closed.
The pool in the Oak Brook Aquatic Center has six 25-yard lanes.
“You wouldn’t believe the difference,” Smith said. Swimming 25-yard laps means the swimmer gets to conserve energy by pushing off the wall more often during turns.
Swimming 50 meters gives more of a workout between turns, Smith said. He bought his home because it is only a five-minute walk to the Hinsdale pool.
Regular lap swimmers want to swim 50-meter laps from 5 or 6 p.m. to when the pool closes each weekday, a time slot that was available to them for more than 20 years, Barre said. Last summer, when the pool stayed open in the evening, the lanes were set up at 25 yards.
The pool attendance drops after 5 or 6 p.m., Barre said, leaving plenty of room to set up 50-meter lanes. The pool needs to be divided into 50-meter laps by the next morning for the swim clubs’ practice, too, so it would not be extra work for the staff.
Gina Hassett, Hinsdale director of parks and recreation, said the pool will be set up with 50-meter lanes when attendance permits. But she cannot promise that time slot, because if a group wants to rent the pool with 25-yard lanes, she will accept that income, she said.
“Certainly, (the lap swimmers) are part of our membership,” Hassett said.
But the village needs the additional revenue from swim clubs to keep the pool open, she said. Individual and family memberships do not cover the cost of operating and maintaining the pool.
Also, when the pool is set up with even two 50-meters lanes, they run the entire length of the pool, which limits the space available at the shallow end.
“That’s where the kids congregate,” Hassett said.
The 25-yard lanes can be set up across the width of the pool at the deep end.
“There are still lap lanes, just not at the distance they want to swim,” Hassett said.
The issue is expected to be discussed March 18 at the village’s Park & Recreation Commission meeting.