Summer Swimming in Naperville

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Local clubs and pools in Naperville have had to make the decision of whether to open their doors this summer during the coronavirus pandemic.

Doug Montgomery, Board President at Huntington Estates and the rest of the board voted to reopen their club pool.

“It was a challenge at first to figure out if we were going to be able to open our pool or not financially, feasibly, and safely. We created several different scenarios,” said Montgomery. “Fortunately we had a member whose kids were on a private swim team from Wheaton. That team was unable to use its normal practice locations. They were looking for a place and we were looking for ways to offset the revenue lost from folks who canceled their membership due to safety concerns.”

The money from the Wheaton Swim Club practices allowed Huntington Estates to open the pool for ten members at a time throughout the week during Phase 3 and gave them time to prepare for a wider opening once Phase 4 arrived. The Seahawks, Huntington Estates’ own club swim team, followed the same protocols and have been able to practice on a consistent basis since early June.

Many other neighborhood swim clubs reopened during Phase 3 as well, including Naper Carriage Hill, Maplebrook II, Cress Creek Country Club, Hobson West and Stillwater to name a few.

Beaches and Swim Leagues Closed

The Naperville Park District announced back on June 9 it would not have enough time to open Centennial Beach for the 2020 season after the IDPH denied a permit to reopen during Phase 3.

The 22 member Naperville Swim Conference also announced it would cancel the 2020 summer swimming competition season, including the annual city championship, due to health and safety concerns, as did the West Suburban Water Polo League.

Phase 4 Guidelines

Under Phase 4, licensed pools, water parks, splash pads and beaches were permitted to open at 50% capacity. Swimming facilities were required to have plans that address maintaining physical distance for areas where people line up to use a water slide, lazy river, or other water features.

Some facilities put up signs, have attendants monitor people, or use markings. All equipment, such as rafts, tubes, and lounge chairs must be sanitized in between uses, and masks must be worn by employees, operators and customers when not swimming or using water features.

Phase 4 guidelines allow the possibility for more swim team practices and more neighborhood members to use their club pools.

“We can then allocate less hours to the swim teams because they can fit more team members into the pool per hour. So we’ll be able to allocate much more time to our members which is ultimately what we want. We want this to be a great member experience, a safe member experience, while operating the pool in a financially feasible manner,” explained Montgomery.

More Water Fun

Not only will local club pools be able to expand capacity, but the brand new 95th Street splash pad is now open and water parks like Raging Waves in nearby Yorkville announced plans to reopen as soon as July 11th.

A newly installed sprinkler from the Naperville Park District called “The Midday Spray”  is now open  at Rotary Hill. The giant sprinkler will run Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. throughout July.

Indoor facilities like the Fry Family YMCA and the Edward Elmhurst Health and Fitness Center pools will be open for lap swim and therapy pool use by July 15th.

High School Swimming

The ability to open pools safely is not only affecting recreational summer swimming or competitive club teams, it’s also having an effect on high school athletes. While other athletic teams are now able to practice in groups of up to 50 via the IHSA Phase 4 guidelines, the five local high school pools have remained closed.

High school pools have remained shuttered throughout the summer due to the high school buildings themselves being closed for safety. This has led to frustration from some in the community, as Naperville is home to some of the top swim talent in the state, including the back-to-back IHSA girls swimming and diving champions from Neuqua Valley. District 204 will keep pools closed for the foreseeable future with all three undergoing maintenance this summer.

The re-opening debate will undoubtedly continue throughout the summer as Naperville and the rest of the state monitors the COVID-19 data in Phase 4. But for now, local summer swimming participants, parents and pool managers hope that local residents are able to find a place to beat the summer heat in a safe and fun manner.

For Naperville News 17, I’m Justin Cornwell.