Local News

Local swimmers concerned they'll be without a place to swim

Posted February 25, 2013 7:48 p.m. EST

— The fates of where two major swim teams in Raleigh will practice hang in the balance after concerns that they might soon be losing their access to a Cary swimming facility.

Hundreds of swimmers with the Raleigh Swimming Association and the New Wave Swim Team rent lane space for practice at the Triangle Aquatic Center, but it has started its own team.

It recently notified RSA and Wave team members that, as of April 8, their lane space could be cut in half as a result.

"RSA is being reduced and Wave is being reduced the number of lanes they are allotted, but they're not being kicked out of the facility or anything like that," TAC President Derek Wall said Monday.

TAC had hoped to merge its team with RSA and Wave, he said, but negotiations, so far, have failed.

"We want to align our resources in order to provide the highest level of aquatic programming to the largest number of athletes and families," Wall said.

Still, the parents of children who swim with RSA and Wave are concerned that they not only won't have a place to practice but that coaches and swimmers will leave the teams for TAC.

Swimmers are in contract with the teams and parents pay thousands of dollars each year. It is also the middle of swim season, and some of the swimmers are bound for scholarships.

Additionally, both RSA and Wave donated more than $100,000 each to help the TAC open.

"They're basically holding RSA hostage to allow our members to leave," parent Earl Parker said. "Otherwise, they're not going to give us any lane space, and ultimately, that seems to be their goal."

Former RSA parent Kris Pelt said she believes a merger between the teams and TAC makes the most sense.

"From a business standpoint, if TAC runs the team, it makes more financial sense," Pelt said. "They can have more coaches per swimmer."

RSA board member Mike Nobles says he's not really worried that the nonprofit will cease to exist.

"It's a concern, but we have a lot of volunteers doing everything we can to find pool space, and I believe the team will exist forever," he said.

Wave President Tom Burns says his organization is still trying to gather more information and waiting to see what happens. He is also planning a meeting soon to discuss it with parents.