No swimming at the ARC until the new year

Queen’s Aquatics has canceled all recreational, varsity, and intramural aquatic activities until at least the new year due to a complicated pump failure.

On Oct. 30, Queen’s Intramural participants were informed via email that all aquatic intramural games from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 would be canceled due to “a malfunction within the pool system.” On Nov. 4, the intramural program—IMLeagues—reached out again with an update: all games scheduled for Nov. 6 were also canceled.

“We are so sorry, but we hope to get you back in the pool as soon as we can. Please keep an eye out for further updates,” the email read.

A week later on Nov. 11, they provided a definitive update: the pool would remain closed for the rest of the semester because of mechanical issues. Athletics and Recreation (A&R) confirmed the situation in a press release posted to rec.gogaelsgo.com.

“The ARC Pool has experienced a pump failure that we have been working diligently to resolve,” the statement read.

According to an email sent to participants, IMLeagues and the Queen’s intramural team “is looking for potential solutions to this matter, one of which being that playoffs are carried out in the first week of next semester for those teams that are interested.”

However, unlike IMLeagues, A&R did not provide its patrons with an alternative explanation or alternatives option in their statement.

The Queen’s varsity water polo, artistic swimming, and swimming teams have all relocated to other pools within Kingston, such as the YMCA.

“Their practices are continuing at other pools, so they are still getting pool time and we’ve been able to give them the equipment that they need to continue their practices,” Isabelle Gibney, coordinator of Aquatics programs, said in an interview with The Journal.

The closure has also left important on-campus initiatives, such as Solidarity Swims, unable to run as planned.

“For the Solidarity Swims there are a lot of other programs running throughout the ARC that Yellow House has also advertised to the Solidarity Swims participants […] We have Queer Yoga and there’s Drag Dodgeball,” Gibney said.

Solidarity Swims is a program organized by Queen’s Yellow House focused on creating an intentional time for trans, non-binary, and non-cis community members—and their affirming friends—to swim and exercise together in a supportive and accepting environment.

No exact date has been given for when the pool will reopen in the new year. Students can expect an update on the closure in early December, but for now, it’s a waiting game.

The closures also disrupted the regular schedules of pool staff. Many of these positions are occupied by students who have seen their hours cut. However, A&R has offered these employees shifts within other areas of the ARC such as Facilities, Camps, Intramurals, and Q Services.

“I know our facilities staff are working daily with the companies outside of campus to get it open in the new year because they know how valuable our pool is,” Gibney said.

In the meantime, A&R has not provided any compensation for mandatory A&R student fees.

“Queen’s University Physical Plant Services and our Q Facilities team are in contact with external contractors daily. At this time, the core issue has been identified and we are outsourcing parts to repair the pump and motor. Unfortunately, these parts are specialized and take time to source and test to ensure compatibility,” A&R said in their statement.

“We are anticipating the ARC pool will remain closed until January 2023.”

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