Think outside the box

Dear sir:
I was very upset to read an article in the Fort Frances Times dated Oct. 5, 2005 regarding Fort Frances Aquanauts swim coach Roman Ramirez.
According to the article, Coach Ramirez has been told by the Memorial Sports Centre staff that he cannot coach a few high-level swimmers outside of the swim club’s regular pool hours.
I feel this decision is totally ridiculous; all that Coach Ramirez is doing is trying to help a few swimmers to improve.
The swimmers have paid the regular fee to be in the pool and Coach Ramirez is helping these dedicated athletes reach their goals. He should be applauded for donating his time to these Fort Frances athletes.
As for those complaints from other public swimmers, I do not believe there is enough disturbance by having a coach on the pool deck to justify the action by pool staff.
I have spent hundreds of hours on the pool deck area watching my daughter being coached during mixed pool times (public swim and the Kenora swim club) and never saw any disturbances or heard any complaints.
In fact, it was just the opposite as the public swimmers were always supportive of the competitive swimmers in the lanes next to them.
I personally have observed Coach Ramirez at many swim meets and he is an excellent coach, and works well with young athletes. It is definitely an asset to have a coach of his calibre in Fort Frances.
The Memorial Sports Centre staff should work with Coach Ramirez and executive members of the Fort Frances Aquanauts to resolve such minor issues as this without affecting these few high-level athletes.
Let’s remember these swimmers are engaged in a healthy lifestyle and are extremely dedicated athletes. I think we would all agree it’s important to keep them in the pool rather than hanging out on the streets.
Maybe a little “thinking out of the box” is in order and focus on helping these young athletes rather than hindering their ability to improve.
In closing, I would strongly encourage the management of the Memorial Sports Centre to reconsider their decision on this matter.
Some may wonder who am I that I should be critical of this decision by the Memorial Sports Centre. I would respond by saying that I am a former resident of Fort Frances, a parent of a longtime competitive swimmer who presently is swimming at the University of Lethbridge, past executive member of the Kenora swim club (eight years), past member of the City of Kenora Recreation and Leisure Committee, member of the City of Kenora Recreation Centre Expansion Committee, and co-chair of the Capital Campaign for the new City of Kenora Wellness Centre.
Signed,
John Balkwill
Kenora, Ont.

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