Tighter water restrictions jeopardize summer swimming

February 6, 2008 6:44:48 PM PST
Raleigh's tighter water restrictions prohibit filling new pools.

This means backyard pools, neighborhood pools and even three city of Raleigh pools that are empty now will stay empty unless water is trucked in from somewhere else.

"I can't imagine not being able to swim," high school senior Avery Pittman told Eyewitness News.

Taylor Harris says the sport has taught him a lot.

"It's taught me many lessons about being organized and managing my time," he said.

Life lessons learned in the pool that others may not get to experience this summer unless they pay to have water trucked in or if they lease lane space at year round pools.

"That really is an issue some pools would have to look at," said Ed Buchan of the City of Raleigh Public Utilities Office. "That's kind of demonstrative of how it'll effect everybody."

With more than 2,000 kids who sign up for swimming lessons at city pools may not have them. And more than 9,000 joining summer swimming leagues throughout Wake county could be left out to dry.

"The longest experience that I've had with swimming has been with summer swimming," Avery Pittman said. "That set my precedent and now I'm going to college for swimming so these kids may not have the opportunity to discover one of their talents."

Paul Silver, the head coach of the Marlins of Raleigh, a year round swim team that practices inside the city of Raleigh's Pullen Park Aquatic Center is concerned about the timing of these restrictions.

"We've got U.S. olympic trials that we have to qualify for and it could impact them getting ready for that," Silver said.

Silver says the bigger outdoor pools are necessary for olympic trial training, competitive swimming in general and simply summer fun that keeps kids out of trouble. But he and his swimmers fear the drought will keep many out of water.


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