MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — Madison County High School swim teams are in the middle of their competitive season and have nowhere to swim. The county schools have used Alabama A&M’S pool for years, but this week they were given 24 hours notice that the pool would be drained and closed.
Buckhorn High School has thirty-three swimmers with no place to swim. Buckhorn’s coach says the university’s announcement put his team in a bad position.
“We were told just the other night that we would no longer be able to use the pool and they were going to close it and drain it. The notice that we were given was literally one day,” said Buckhorn Swim Coach Glenn Carr.
Coach Glenn Carr says Buckhorn, Hazel Green, Sparkman and Madison County High School have used Alabama A&M’s campus pool for nearly 10 years.
“Talk about a shock, your home is pulled out from under you. I was at A&M at Elmore Pool for the last 10 years, literally every day in August, September, October, and November from 3:30 to 8:00 o’clock at night with the high school swim teams,” said Glenn Carr.
Carr says they are in the heart of their competition season and now that the university is closing shop on their pool, they are scrambling.
“You know you would think that at a college it would be a little bit better organized where you would get a letter that says at the end of the season we are going to close the pool,” said Glenn Carr.
Coach Carr says you have to have met in order to qualify for sectionals. He says you can have eight meets and canceling meets is lessening his swimmer’s chances to qualify.
“We had to cancel four swim meets… just snap your finger and tell people ‘you can’t come’,” said Carr.
Ashleigh Ryan says without a place to practice she and her teammates will suffer to meet their goals.
“It’s really not that easy, without a pool to work for it. Losing times, means losing opportunities, losing progress and possibly losing scholarships in our future for some of us,” said Ryan.
Ryan says the entire team is disappointed.
“This year, most of us wanted to get our act together. We were going to work hard and break our times. That was taken away from us,” Ryan said.
Coach Carr said he’s going to continue searching for his team to have somewhere to call home.
“I’ve found some pool time for the team. Little pieces here and there to piece together but we are looking for a pool to use full time. Unfortunately, there is no indoor pool in the northern part of the county,” said Carr.
WHNT News 19 reached out to Alabama A&M and have not heard back yet.
Here is the statement Alabama A&M sent to Coach Glenn Carr:
I regret to inform you that due to issues and concerns raised by parents the AAMU pool in the Elmore Building will be offline immediately for rehabilitation and will not be available for any form of aquatic activity.
Earlier this year the pool was taken off line and subsequently reopened without the University Administration’s permission or knowledge.
Any payment made for the use of the pool during this Fall 2019 semester will be reimbursed upon your request.
We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
Lena Walton, Ph.D.
Dean; College of Education, Humanities and Behavioral Sciences