Thursday, June 07, 2001

Swimmers mostly stay indoors

Cold disrupts teams, classes

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In Wednesday morning's drizzling rain, more than 10 teens swam outdoors, practicing their backstrokes and free-style swimming at the Powel Crosley YMCA branch in Finneytown.

        The Y branch has a heated pool, which keeps water at 82 degrees. Y members from throughout the area have been stopping by.

        “Except for the lightning, life goes on. It's rainy and cold, but life goes on,” said Mike Leonard, head coach of the Powel Crosley Tigersharks swim club. He stood under an umbrella Wednesday, watching the Tigersharks warm up in the heated pool.

        The rain and cold of the past weeks has placed a noticeable damper on non-heated outdoor pools throughout the Tristate.

[photo] Under a glowering sky, Herb Keptenacker, 74, of West Chester swam laps Wednesday at the Powel Crosley YMCA's heated pool.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        Swimmers are rarely dipping toes into the 60- to 70-degree waters. Meanwhile, indoor pools are crowded.

        Until the weather breaks, outdoor scuba, swimming and water exercise classes are taking place indoors at the Blue Ash YMCA. About 800 swimmers a day are using the pool, double the normal amount this time of year, said Brad Kinkema, senior program director.

        It could get worse next week, when day camp begins, he said.

        Newport recreation director Rob Lindemann can only hope for good weather. The city's municipal pool attracts several hundred swimmers on a warm day.

        Now, “there are some days when we don't get any. It's terrible. We need a week of good weather,” he said.

        Ed Bachman, head coach of the Anderson Barricudas, knew something was wrong last week when his top swimmers brought in thermoses of hot chocolate and asked to have their water bottles zapped in the microwave.

        The odd behavior caused Mr. Bachman to scrap outdoor practice at the M.E. Lyons YMCA branch's outdoor, non-heated pool and bring the Barricudas back indoors.

        The team is practicing at Anderson and Turpin high schools until outdoor water temperatures hit the low 70s.

        “I've been coaching for 21 years. This is pretty much the worst I've ever experienced,” Mr. Bachman said. “We've always had cold snaps, but not for this long. It's like we live in Seattle.”

        Yet the cold weather hasn't stopped Gretchen Lomboy, 41, of Delhi Township. She teaches at Delhi Middle School and manages the Delshire Swim Club in Delhi Township during the summer.

        While the club's swim team postponed outdoor practice for another week, she has been swimming 50 laps every morning in the 50-meter pool.

        “It's cold. But once you swim your first 50 meters, you're fine.,” she said. “It's like taking a brisk walk in the morning. You hit that water and you know that you're awake.”


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