Sat, July 20

Editorial: Swimmers exhibit character, dignity in effort to improve Cottonwood pool

You have to admire the fortitude of Cottonwood's competitive swimming community. It's rare any more that you actually see folks bold enough to put their money where there mouth is.

Tuesday, Cottonwood Clippers President Nancy Futral asked the city council to give the swimming community time to establish a campaign to raise funds for the needed balance to make the pool more effective for larger competitions.

In other words, the swimming community is willing to put its money where its mouth is for the sake of the sport.

They're not asking for a handout from the city.

The task, it bears emphasis, is daunting. We're talking six figures and then some. But Futral said she already is developing plans to apply for grants and other donations. While she is at it, she should ask for a commitment from Mingus Union High School, whose competitive swim team has flourished thanks to the facilities donation from the city. Over the past 18 years, according to Parks and Recreation Director Richard Faust, "Mingus has not contributed towards pool operations, pool mechanical repairs, staffing costs or chemical components."

It's time for Mingus to ante up.

Here's another idea, soon it will be time for the Clippers' annual mile swim. Instead of a mile, this year the team should have its swimmers do laps for a full hour and solicit per lap donations from the community to go toward the pool expansion effort. That could add up to a sizeable chunk of change.

About 25 years ago, Northern Arizona University track and field coach Leo "Red" Haberlack staged a similar event in Flagstaff to generate funds for a new surface for the school's outdoor track. Haberlack convinced members of the Northern Arizona Road and Track Club to solicit per-lap donations for a one-hour run. He then scheduled the event in NAU's Skydome with a smaller indoor track that measured 352 yards, or, five laps to the mile. That allowed the runners to gain one extra lap for each mile they covered during the one-hour run. The event didn't completely pay for a new track, but it certainly provided the seed money to eventually accomplish the goal.

It's going to take a lot of work and similar innovation for the local swim community to generate the kind of funds it will take for the pool they want.

But the fact that they are willing to work for it - to put their money where there mouth is - speaks volumes about their perseverance, character and dignity.

You expect success from people who have those qualities.