Teaching children to swim is an important safety measure. Teaching children to swim in the Lowcountry, with its beaches, rivers and creeks, is critical.
The plan to upgrade the 1955 Danny Jones Pool in North Charleston is a welcome step toward preventing drownings. It is also a welcome sign of regional cooperation that the town of Mount Pleasant and the city of Charleston, along with private donors, are making the project happen.
Marco Cavazzoni, a former Olympic swimmer for Canada who now is second in command at North Charleston’s Boeing plant, helped raise about $250,000 toward the $1 million pricetag.
Of course, Mr. Cavazzoni and other community leaders are eager to see all children learn to swim and to put an end to drownings. That is a goal worthy of pursuing vigorously. And, indeed, students at four local public schools are being given swimming lessons. In the fall, the number should increase to 10 schools.
But Mr. Cavazzoni sees even more than safety-proofing the community’s children. He knows first-hand the value of competitive swimming. At a ceremony to announce the Danny Jones redo, he noted that the Olympics are coming up and Lowcountry residents will be watching. “Wouldn’t it be cool a little while from now to be cheering one of our own Lowcountry swimmers?”
It’s a chorus that Charleston City Council member Kathleen Wilson has sung for years. She believes that a regional natatorium — an extra large swimming facility — would be a tremendous asset to the area. The Danny Jones pool is great for lessons and practice, but it isn’t big enough for competitions.
Mrs. Wilson, who is licensed to teach families to overcome their fear of the water through a program called Miracle Swim Institute, said a natatorium could be vital to the health, safety — and economy — of the area.
Big facilities elsewhere draw competitors from all over to swim, stay in hotels, eat at restaurants and spend money.
And, she tells us, it would be an asset to local leaders trying to attract industry and jobs. Business owners want good schools for their employees’ families, and they want good athletic facilities.
A natatorium, supported regionally by governments and the private sector, would sweeten the recruiting pot.
Everyone in the Charleston area is exposed to water — even if it is just crossing bridges. Many are exposed to the water through pastimes like crabbing along a river’s edge, sailing and fishing. Those who can’t to swim aren’t safe, and they are missing out on Lowcountry life.
The Danny Jones pool and its mission to teach people to swim are a good fit here. And a natatorium would be a logical next step.