Here is the situation for two swim clubs, both in the same city and separated by just a few miles.
In one hand, there’s the Aqua Knights, a member of the Prince George’s Council Swim Team, with roughly the same number of swimmers it had last year, its president said Friday morning.
Then there’s the College Park Woods Swim Club, which is still active and has a good number of swimmers, except it has lost many of its members in the past year to neighboring swim clubs in Greenbelt and Adelphi, a veteran swim club member said Friday.
Two differing circumstances, just one day before the regional all-star swim meet in Bowie on Saturday.
“We lost a lot of members, while Greenbelt and Adelphi are bursting at the seams,” said Jane L. Hopkins, whose children, ages 14 and 17, are active members of the College Park Woods Swim Club. “It’s a nice pool, but people aren’t swimming as much as they used to swim. People within the neighborhood just aren’t joining the pool.”
To entice more members to join the swim club, the organization is reducing its prices on daily rates and offering partial memberships for the rest of the summer. For instance, when the temperature reaches 90 degrees, members of the College Park Woods community are able to pay just $5 to swim in the pool from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and until 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Until the end of the summer, annual memberships are reduced to $270 for families; $165 for couples; and $120 for single adults. College students — ages 18 to 25 — can pay just $60 and join the swim club.
During an interview, Hopkins attributed the decrease in swim club members to the community’s changing demographics. In the 1960s, there was a waiting list to join the pool, she said.
“People are working two jobs, and they don’t have the extra money to spend on a pool,” she said, citing the pool's fees as a possible reason for the lower membership.
Mary Lintner, president of the neighboring Aqua Knights, agreed.
“There used to be a lot of stay-at-home moms, and we just don’t have that anymore,” Lintner said. “The upkeep of a pool is a tremendous cost. If you don’t have the members, then it’s a struggle.”
The Knights currently have 90 swimmers on its club, with 14 of them swimming in this weekend’s regional all-star meet. Children who wish to join the swim team must already be a member of the pool or attend a nearby Catholic school or church.