I proudly attended the College of Charleston fall graduation for the class of 2015, as my daughter graduated with a masters of public administration. She received her undergraduate degrees from the College, as well. We are proud Cougar supporters.

Coach John Kresse was the commencement speaker. In his candid and spirited manner, he encouraged the graduates to persevere, give back to their communities and take care of themselves physically. He told them to swim, run and engage in any form of recreation to keep healthy.

Being a swimmer from a large, local family of swimmers — three of whom swam for the College of Charleston — I keenly noted that Coach Kresse referenced swimming first. Swimming is the fourth most popular recreational activity in the United States. I would venture to say that it is even higher here, in our southern coastal community.

So I ask once again, why did the College of Charleston decide that the pool in the Stern Student Center would be better used for office space? There is no campus pool for students, staff and families. Swimming lessons, water safety classes, recreational swimming and the swimming and diving teams are no more.

The thousands of youth who swim for local summer and year-round swim clubs and the 1,700 underserved students who participate in the Lowcountry Aquatic Project Swimming (LAPS) no longer have a local college for which they might aspire to swim.

As a masters swimmer, former swim coach and director of LAPS, I strongly encourage President Glenn McConnell and the College of Charleston to quickly find land on which to build a pool that is desperately needed for not only the College of Charleston, but the surrounding communities.

Shannon W. O’Brien

Program Director

Lowcountry Aquatic Project Swimming

Hibben Street

Mount Pleasant