Recently, more than 500 swimmers and their families packed into the pool area at Lodi High School for the Pumpkin Meet sponsored by the Lodi City Swim Club.
This popular meet drew swimmers from all over Northern California to compete at what has become one of the most popular swim meets in the area.
What were we able to offer these families who came to spend the better part of two full days in Lodi?
An overcrowded pool area that was simply unbelievable. Kids, coolers, tents and towels filled what appeared to be every available inch of space around the pool, spilling over onto the basketball courts and sports fields next door.
In the on-site women's locker room, there were only two bathroom stalls to meet the needs of this crowd.
Moreover, swimmers were forced to scratch events (down to four on Saturday and three on Sunday) in an effort to have the meet end on time. Due to fewer swim lanes - and the large number of swimmers - there was simply not enough room.
Not only were the swimmers discouraged by having to scratch events, the loss of revenue to the swim club was estimated to be $2,400.
I encourage Lodi took a good look at the caliber of the swim program we have in this city and the importance of this sport to our community and to our children.
Lodi City Swim Club brought in a large number of new families this fall from the Summer Swim League only to have practices moved from the comfortable pool at Tokay High School to a cramped environment at Blakely Park.
How long can we encourage families to hang in there when conditions prevent our children from participating in a decent swim practice? An aquatic center is needed in Lodi and should be looked at as an investment in our future.
I know that a new aquatic facility is under consideration and I hope that the benefit of such a facility is not underestimated. The true winners will range from the youngest swimmers to local business owners to Lodi residents who can take pride in the myriad of events held right here in our own city.
It's a win-win situation. So, let's hope it happens soon.
Suzie Roget, Lodi