Help Save Mountain View Aquatic

An Open Letter to the Cobb Summer Swimming Community,

I hope this message finds you all in good spirits, enjoying a sunny summer day, having spent a decent part of your morning participating in the sport that has been my life’s passion – swimming. I began swimming on my own neighborhood summer swim team in Milford Chase at the age of 6 and eventually became its head coach for five years. In that time I was also a swimmer for the Stingrays, where for years I both practiced and competed in meets held at Mountain View. I currently coach the Arthur’s Vineyard neighborhood summer swim team, also in Cobb, where I have been for the past five years. Those experiences with swimming and coaching led me to become a teacher at Pope High School, where I am currently a math teacher and the head swim & dive coach, getting ready to start my 10thyear.

Over the past few days some reports from various publications have informed the public that Cobb County is struggling to meet its budget and may need to find places to make cuts. One of those places is the Mountain View Aquatic Center.

Many of our own summer swim team members regularly utilize the facilities at Mountain View, as a part of the many club swimming teams, water polo clubs, adaptive aquatics teams, high school swimming teams and fitness groups that the facility hosts. The facility is also used to host our Patti Wilder County Championship/State Qualifying Meet. Without this facility, that meet as we know it could not exist as there is nowhere else in the county that can handle the volume of athletes who choose to attend this meet and represent Cobb County.

Many of our summer swim league coaches have trained, or currently train at Mountain View. Those experiences provided them with the means to contribute to their communities by sharing their knowledge of swimming, helping to provide aquatic instruction that prevents drownings and also teaches others a valuable skill and lifelong sport.

Over half of the County high school swim programs use Mountain View Aquatic Center. If the facility were to be taken away, many teams would struggle to survive without an adequate facility to use. Swim & Dive season with GHSA is a winter sport, and facilities must be indoors to provide a safe environment for athletes to participate. Reducing the number of available lanes would effectively cripple high school swimming in the county, which would be a shame considering the number of recent State Champions that have emerged from the area since Mountain View was opened.

Local government and local government services exist to serve the needs of the local population. Providing services that create and endear a greater sense of community, that increase safely and improve education are all paramount to that objective. For many who chose to swim, Mountain View Aquatic Center has been central to that experience. From offering swimming lessons to being a home to three major USA Swimming clubs, MVAC serves as an essential part of the swimming network and Cobb Community. Beyond instructional and competitive youth swimming, the facility also serves Masters swim teams, offers a place and classes designed to meet the needs of our senior citizens, provides a home to those on adaptive aquatics teams and a suitable location for aquatic therapy for those with special needs. The facility also offers lifeguarding, CPR and First Aid classes which help to keep our communities safe and local pools staffed with qualified individuals. Mountain View Aquatic Center provides the space, staff and specialization necessary for these events to take place. That alone makes Mountain View Aquatic Center more than just something desirable. That makes Mountain View Aquatic Center essential to Cobb County.

I could continue to expound on the essential nature of the facility and all that it provides for the community, but at this juncture action is what is needed. For me, this is not about budget line items, surpluses or deficits. For me this is about making sure that Mountain View assumes its proper place as the provider of essential services to the community and as such, should not be considered for closing at present or in the future.

To demonstrate how essential the facility is to our community, I propose that we arrange demonstrations to show the county board of commissioners how important it is to us to keep Mountain View Aquatic Center open. Cobb has several meetings planned and in place that are open to the public. On June 12 at 6pm there will be a meeting of the Cobb Recreation Board. Would you please join us in demonstrating how important Mountain View is to our community? A showing of hundreds of swimmers wearing their various swim team shirts, caps, goggles, etc. (but probably not bathing suits!) would surely send the right message and show the true size of the impact this essential facility has on the community.

Additionally, there are several town hall style meetings you can attend regarding the budget. Below you will find a link to a site created by the County regarding the budget issues they currently face. On the 11thslide, there are details on the series of town hall meetings that are open to the public, including dates, times and locations. These meetings could also be used to voice concerns and provide support for MVAC.

The county needs Mountain View Aquatic. We just can’t swim without it.

Sincerely,

Zack Schreer
Head Coach, Pope High School Swim & Dive
Head Coach, Arthur’s Vineyard Swim Team
Advocate for Swimming in Cobb

Link: Cobb Recreation Board Meeting
Link: Cobb Budget Information and Town Hall Meetings

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