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Votes

Letter: Supporting Indoor Facility at Baron Cameron Park

To the Editor:

— I am a long-time Reston resident, strong community volunteer and parent of age-group swimmers. I am also a nationally recognized swimmer and swimming official. I support an Indoor Aquatic & Recreation Facility at Baron Cameron Park.

This proposal indicates Reston’s ongoing commitment to health, fitness and sporting activities. I’m thrilled that Reston has supported recreation as it has grown and thrived. It’s also great that the Reston Community Center (RCC), Reston Association (RA) and RSTA (Reston Swim Team Association) have worked together to maximize benefit of pool facilities and aquatics programs.

I learned to swim very well in Reston. Competing with RSTA for many years, I perfected my strokes, starts, turns and relays. My parents supported the sport by getting me to the pool, working meets and events, and bonding with other swimmer families. It was a great, healthy experience for the whole family.

As I grew, I received many benefits from swimming in Reston. I competed at the national level with Solotar Swim Team (later assimilated under Curl-Burke, now the Nation’s Capital Swim Club). I was lucky to train with this AAU/USS team at Reston’s Hidden Creek Country Club. While I attended South Lakes High School, I swam conveniently at the RCC. Ultimately, my strong Reston swimming background enabled me to swim on scholarship for the University of Virginia (UVA). Today, I still swim and compete. In addition, I officiate swim competitions for RSTA, South Lakes High & VHSL (Virginia High School League) and USA Swimming.

At all ages, swimmers develop valuable traits in and out of the water including good sportsmanship, teamwork and mutual respect. Dedicated, busy swimmers learn strong organization and time management skills that help them throughout life. Yet, friendship is one of the most important benefits from swimming. Many of my closest relationships and people memories are tied to pool experiences.

As you evaluate proposals, I urge you to strongly consider need, usage and payback opportunities for a 50-meter pool facility dedicated to year-round developmental and competitive swimming. For over 40 years, Reston has demonstrated its commitment to swimming. While we have many outdoor RA pools, we outgrew the RCC facility decades ago. Most Reston swimmers access other facilities and swimming organizations during the majority of the year.

There is considerable interest within Reston for year-round swimming. There is also tremendous talent for it in our area, as described in “The Nation’s Talent Pool” article http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/06/AR2009020603541.html?referrer=emailarticle. A new facility would enable Reston to train swimmers as well as attract and develop knowledgeable instructors, coaches and officials. Growing up, I had the opportunity to visit and compete in many communities dedicated to swimming. I believe that Reston has the qualities to make swimming equally significant in our town.

As you consider options and opposition from other constituencies, I urge you to examine the Oak Marr and Audrey Moore properties run by Fairfax County. By aptly integrating recreation centers with open space, parking and accessibility, they cater well to swimming and other recreational interests of many members. I appreciate your efforts.

Lisa Hering Groves

Reston

lisajgroves@yahoo.com