Rose Pool closure leaves club sports teams treading water
When the Rose Center pool closes in June 2016, many teams will be left without a place to practice, and the Mount Pleasant community will have one less place to swim.
Due to improper regulations, a committee of students, staff and faculty from Central Michigan University decided in September that renovating the pool isn’t worth the potential $4.6 million in construction costs.
The Rose Pool is four feet deep on the sides and eight feet deep in the middle, which makes it difficult for both swimmers and water polo players. Swimmers cannot preform competition starts, while water polo requires a much deeper pool so that players cannot touch the floor. The water polo team now practices in the diving well next to the pool at the Rose Center.
The Rose Pool is the practice site for club water polo, club swim and dive and club triathlon. Along with the three clubs using the pool, it's also used for the Special Olympics Summer Games, physical education classes, instructional swim programs, lifeguard lessons and other classes.
"The pool is a major part of my life. The Student Activity Center (pool) cannot fulfill the needs that the Rose Pool can.”
—Zach Saganski, freshman on the water polo team
Aquatics and Safety Assistant Director Darin Masselink said they have a backup plan for the groups once the Rose Pool closes, however the change will be toughest on the water polo team.
“For water polo, the (Student Activity Center) pool is four feet deep,” Masselink said. “We’ve talked to them already that they will need to find another pool such as Alma or something like that to rent out to continue their practices.”
Whether or not club water polo will continue next year is unknown. The club will weigh the pros and cons with renting out a pool, and see if the time, money and traveling distance is worth keeping the club together.
Accounting major Zach Saganski played water polo in high school for East Kentwood, and is a freshman on the water polo team at CMU.
“Honestly, I’m pretty upset about it. The pool is a major part of my life,” Saganski said. “The SAC (pool) cannot fulfill the needs that the Rose Pool can.”
With the closing of the pool potentially ending club water polo at Central Michigan, Saganski said he would like to see the plans be reconsidered.
“I really hope they reconsider upgrading the Rose Pool and keeping it,” he said. “Being a (Mid-American Conference) school and not having a pool to host swim team or water polo events is laughable.”
When the pool closes, the swim team will also have a hard time finding somewhere to practice, with the next best pool being in Midland.
“This pool is good enough for us to use, just because it has water in it,” said swim team captain Spencer Lebel.
There have been rumors of commuting to Alma College to use their pool for practice, but many of the members of the swim team have admitted the traveling would be too much of a time commitment.
“It’s disappointing to see money going into all these other programs but not money being put into the pool,” said swim team member Tyler Grady. “If we upgraded the facilities we could have a possibility of having a competitive varsity swim team.”
The SAC has been helping out the swim team and trying to give them a place to practice, but the 25-yard pool is even further from being an ideal place for teams to practice than the Rose Pool. There are plans to put in backstroke flags, but the pool is still very shallow.
With classes and clubs moving into the SAC pool, it will limit the space for students that want to swim there. However, they will still be able to have the pool open to students, even during practices and lessons, Masselink said.
“During practices, (students) will be able to be in there, just the amount of space available will go down,” he said.
For the swim team, the search continues for a place to practice after June of this year.
“I have no plans of ending the swim team,” Lebel said.