Swimmers from all over Wyoming are in Rapid City, South Dakota, this week instead of Gillette for Wyoming Swimming’s Summer Championships.
As the only long-course pool in the state, the Campbell County School District Aquatic Center is the usual location for the state summer meet. However, the Aquatic Center has been out of service since the beginning of May, when the pool was drained for annual maintenance.
Director Phil Rehard said the scheduled repairs took about a month and when they started to refill the pool, there were around 80 leaks in the stainless steel pool that weren’t there before it was drained.
“It was just too much of a leak problem to just not address,” said Rehard. “When we found out that last week in May that we had these leaks, we ended up cancelling that meet.
That meet was the Gillette Swim Team’s Summer spectacular scheduled for the middle of June.
As repairs continued at the Aquatic Center, Rehard broke the news to Wyoming Swimming.
“I told Wyoming Swimming that we just weren’t going to be able to host the meet because the pool was going to be down. Then Wyoming Swimming decided where they wanted to have it.”
He said this isn’t the first time events have been moved. Rehard remembers one summer meet held in Fort Collins, Colorado, and one in Rapid City several years ago.
After a great deal of leak repairs, Rehard said they turned on the pumps earlier this week and are down to two or three patches that still need addressed. He expects operations at the Aquatic Center to be back to normal next week.
Before this summer’s repairs, the school board has had some lengthy discussions about the future of the facility which was built in 1982. Rehard said after the most recent repairs gives the pool another five years.
“I think our administration and the school board are both thinking now we need to start – within the next couple years – start working on a design for a new pool,” said Rehard. “So, I think within that five to six year period we’ll probably definitely be starting to design and build a new pool, hopefully.”
As to the location of the new aquatic facility, that will be up to the school board to make the final decision.
Rehard said the pool will be back up and running well before kids return to school Aug. 19.