Drowning remains the leading cause of death for children one to four and the number two cause of accidental deaths for children ages 1-14 according to the USA Swimming Foundation, CDC and others. SwimRVA has been fighting to Drownproof Richmond since opening in 2012. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that one third of the public pools in the U.S. will not open due to lifeguard shortages. This coupled with runaway operating costs puts aquatic infrastructure in peril. Something needs to change.
SwimRVA is the non-profit community hub for aquatics in the Richmond region. By focusing on access, SwimRVA serves as a catalyst for water safety, health and fitness, sports tourism and competitive aquatics. They are building social bridges through aquatics that cross physical, racial, and economic barriers.
Meadowbrook Country Club (MCC) has been a part of Richmond’s community since 1957. Located off Hopkins Road, the club and its beautiful swimming pool have been a shining point for summer swimming and family gatherings. However, like most summer pools, it is open for three months out of the year and access has been limited to its members.
SwimRVA and Meadowbrook Country Club have joined forces to create access and opportunity, utilizing existing infrastructure in the Richmond community. Starting fall 2022, SwimRVA will keep Meadowbrook’s pool operational year-round with renovations that include pool heaters, bath house improvements and a new pool dome. The improvements will transform a seasonal pool to a year-round asset for the community.
Collaboration between the two organizations creates access, inclusivity, and opportunity through aquatics. Programs like SwimRVA’s Learn-To-Swim program, which offer second graders cost-free swimming lessons will expand. SwimRVA workforce development programming will train more lifeguards and aquatics professionals in the region through partnerships with area high schools and certification classes. The SwimRVA Autism Swims program will grow with more pool time along with the SwimRVA Swim School and SwimRVA Swim Team.
Renovations and investments made by SwimRVA and Meadowbrook to create new year-round opportunities include:
- New pool dome that will enclose the facility for six months each year
- Updated locker rooms
- Pool heater for year-round training
- Hot water supply to the showers
- Re-plastered and rehabbed pool shell
- Expanded pool deck
- New fencing around the pool
- New emergency lighting
- Winterized thermal pool covers
- New doors, trim, and windows
The collaboration between Meadowbrook and SwimRVA is a winning partnership for all in Richmond as the region continues its march toward a more safe, inclusive and physically active community.