|A Regina swim club is scrambling following the announcement that two YMCA facilities would be closing in the city.
The Regina Marlins, which has operated out of the YMCA’s downtown aquatics facility since 1967, found out this week that the pool will be closing permanently on Monday, Nov. 23.
“I was shocked and completely devastated,” Melina Jenkins, the Marlins head swim coach, said.
The Marlins spend 18 hours per week training at the YMCA, with an additional four hours at the Lawson Pool. The northwest location of the YMCA will remain open and has an aquatic facility, but user groups like the Marlins are the lowest priority for pool time.
“Because it’s a family oriented organization, their first priority is swim lessons and family swim time and even lane swim for their members,” said Jenkins, who has unsuccessfully tried to secure pool time at the northwest location in the past.
Jessica George is the President of the Regina Marlins and was surprised that the club received a week’s notice regarding the closure.
“Start reaching out to other facilities, start reaching out to anywhere that had a pool, that was my immediate reaction,” George said.
The Masters “Y knot” club, Flatlands swimming and the Wascana Canoe and Kayak club also use the YMCA’s downtown pool, however the Marlins stand to lose the most.
“We have 58 swimmers that are members of the Marlins, they range in age from 4-18 [years],” George noted.
To make matters worse, COVID-19 restrictions have put a damper on finding another pool in the city to jump into.
“There are facilities within Regina that we can use but a lot of them are currently shut down due to COVID,” said George, adding she’s attempted to secure pool time at the University of Regina.
“If we don’t find pool time, I don’t know what will happen,” said George.