New aquatic center to be valuable tool for community

Sean Speidel | The Chronicle

The city of Mason has a new fifty-meter, Olympic-sized swimming pool.

After 24 seasons, the Lou Eves Municipal Pool closed on September 2, 2019 in order to begin construction on the Mason Municipal Aquatic center, which presently includes an outdoor heated leisure pool and a newly opened indoor fifty-meter competition pool. 

On April 4, 2022, the neighboring fifty-meter pool opened for its introductory swimming hours. The 12,800 square foot and 705,000-gallon pool is the only indoor Olympic-sized pool within 20 miles of the aquatic center and is set to provide the city with the new opportunity of hosting high-level events that can seat up to 900 spectators. 

The non-profit organization, A Matter Of 50 Meters, launched the fundraising campaign that elevated the project to include an enclosed fifty-meter pool in the Mason Municipal Aquatic Center. A Matter Of 50 Meters started this funding goal in hopes to aid the Mason Manta Rays, a USA Swimming Silver Medal Club team that ranks within the top 1% in the nation, by providing a facility that would advance the skills of their competitive swimmers during their summer-long course season. 

Mason High School (MHS) head swim coach and part-time Manta-Ray coach, Mark Sullivan said that the new pool provided both teams a new opportunity to spread out and have more room to function.

“With our current pool we were obviously limited,” Sullivan said. “Now we’ll have more room to have a larger team”

Although the original intention was to support the Mason Manta Rays, the Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation, Haleigh White, said that the city is focused on ensuring that the facility functions not only to house the Mason Manta Rays but also to serve as a lap pool open to active members of the Mason community. White said that she believes it is important that people in the city of Mason were able to swim at their own leisure, and that the new pool would help to accomplish that.

“Our community has such a strong focus on promoting safe swimmers having access to bodies of water,” White said. “We really want to be conscientious about having (the pool) be available to the community”

The City of Mason’s mission is to build an “enjoyable quality of life in a safe and viable community.” Through the construction of the new 50-meter pool, Mason plans to further promote safe swimming skills as a part of extending wellness in the community. Administrative assistant to the city manager, Jenna Pantling, said that water safety is the city’s number one priority when it comes to opening the doors of a newly constructed, Olympic-sized swimming pool, and that the ability to host large events is secondary to that.

“[The pool] is going to provide an opportunity for all of our residents to learn how to be safe in the water,” Pantling said. “If we could teach every Mason resident how to swim and be safe in the water, that is the goal of our aquatic facilities.

The Mason Municipal Aquatic Center is aimed to be a valuable tool for the city of Mason in a multitude of ways. White said that it is very important for the state-of-the-art facility to be widely accessible, which inspires a closer Mason community.

“We know it’s exciting and it’s a great facility so we really want to be able to highlight it and have a lot of people be able to access it,” White said.

Graphic by Nishka Mishra