In response to a letter to the editor from Andy Lazris regarding a claim that the Columbia Association is not willing to support high school swim teams, please allow me to offer another perspective.
When CA was approached by the group wanting to rent pool time for the schools' swim programs, the time slot the schools desired (and the volume of space they wanted) was unfortunately already heavily programmed; CA offered times that were, unfortunately, not workable for the program. So, CA was unable to find a solution that would work for the schools and for CA's existing programs.
As CA is a not-for-profit service organization, meeting the needs of our community is part and parcel of our mission. We partner, collaborate and work together with numerous community groups, large and small, to increase access to our facilities. And we certainly are supportive of promoting high school swimming.
Case in point: CA started a partnership with the Columbia Triathlon Association that is introducing triathlon training, during school hours, to students in middle and high schools throughout Howard County. The program began this past Friday with 50 students from Wilde Lake Middle School and 50 students from Long Reach High School, all of whom will receive weekly swimming instruction for the next four weeks, during school hours at The Columbia Swim Center.
CA partners with local organizations to increase community access to our pools during the summer months by providing discounted rates to dozens of summer camps, day-care programs and youth programs so that these groups and small businesses can offer camps and programs that include swimming without, as they say, breaking the bank.
I do hope the new program and partnership CA has with the Columbia Triathlon Association is successful. Perhaps if this program is a success, it will open doors and create possibilities for more Howard County students to access CA's aquatics facilities during the school day.
John Herdson is the aquatics director at the Columbia Association.