The high school swim team in Steamboat Springs, about 150 miles northwest of Denver, is hoping that someone can donate them a lap pool.
That’s because the Old Town Hot Springs lap pool will be closed this summer and for at least nine months while it undergoes needed renovations. And while this will be great for generations of future swimmers, it’s terrible for the current generation of competitive swimmers who will lose serious training time in a sport they’ve worked on for years.
“It’s my worst nightmare,” said swim team member Zoe Angfang. “Not having that opportunity is pretty heartbreaking for me, pretty dream crushing.”
For decades, the Steamboat Springs swim team has shown just how committed they are to the sport. Their existing pool is outdoors, and they train in the pool even in the winter. Because the pool is fed through runoff from a natural hot spring, the water is generally between 75 to 80 degrees, although it gets colder in the winter.
“We train all the way to negative 10 degrees because that’s when the pool starts to freeze,” Anfang said.
It’s not ideal, and their pool also doesn’t adhere to USA Swimming regulations, preventing the team from hosting swim meets, but it allows the team to compete at the state meets, and they’ve even sent a swimmer to the 2012 London Olympics.
The pool closure is particularly upsetting for high school athletes getting closer to graduation who need to keep swimming if they want to attract the attention of college swim team recruiters.
“I’m a junior,” said swim team member Tyler Stone. “I’ll be going into my senior year, and this is my last opportunity to swim at a club or high school level. Because this is a nine-month renovation, it will end about when I’m graduating.”
Steamboat Springs Swim Team sophomore Stovin Briggs is also upset about the closure, which will cause him to miss the entirety of his junior competition season, which runs from fall 2023 through the end of winter 2024. Briggs has been swimming as long as he can remember and he’s one of the top swimmers on the team. He’s concerned that losing training time will prevent him from competing in college.
“Not swimming for nine months sets you back a whole lot,” Briggs said. “I’m going to miss my junior year where I would have several opportunities to swim and hit new personal bests while showing colleges I’m a worthwhile swimmer. Instead, I don’t get to, and I have to go into the next year with less experience and time.”
Swim team head coach Charlie Coates has been trying to find the team a temporary pool to use during
Steamboat Springs swim team the closure, but so far nothing has panned out.
“We looked at renting out a pool space from other pools in town, but nothing has been viable to date to allow the swim team to continue to swim through this coming fall,” Coates said.If no pool is found, the swim team will have to make the best of the situation with a dryland training program to keep the athletes in shape.Coates is asking anyone who might have a lead on finding a pool for the team to email her at email@example.com.