Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Late Night Snack: A Feel Good Post

Sheeeeeesh.  When did things get so serious around here?  I thought I'd throw up a small warm-fuzzy for everyone to say, "WE'RE BACK!"  Happy 2011-2012 season, everyone.

This lovely little story comes to us from Howard County, Maryland.  The Columbia Association has announced a blocked-off time for "Women Only Swimming."  The need for this comes from Howard County's growing Muslim population and the fact that many Muslim women felt uncomfortable swimming in a co-ed situation but they very much wanted to swim.   The Columbia Association felt that not only Muslim women had a need for a "women's only" swim time but other women might also feel more comfortable swimming at these times for other personal reasons.  The reserved times are scheduled during "slower" parts of the day.

New York City Parks and Recreation also has "women only" swim times at the Metropolitan Recreation Center and some universities are also implementing a blocked-off time for women only.  At George Washington, some complained citing concerns over the program "infringing on other's civil liberties."

Personally, I think this is nice.  It brings a population to the pool that would otherwise be excluded.  I have always found the swimming community to be especially inclusive and this is yet another example.  There will be arguments against this, I'm sure.  I just like how the swimming community opens itself up to people from all walks of life.  Water is universal.  So throw on those "burqinis" ladies and get in the pool!!


  1. Hi Lisa, Thanks for your sweet write-up. We're not just in Howard County; we're in Columbia, Md., a community founded on the principles of inclusiveness back in the rather culturally tumultuous late '60s.


  2. It may not be "opening" in that sense, but an opening of the mind that is often needed to be inclusive of some/other populations. I for one am in favor of it, if it means pools are getting more use during down time and getting more involved, let it happen.

    Mark, I would think some slow yoga breathing might be in order...

    Speaking of sharing, when are "they" going to invoke policies that require people to share during lap swim? You know what I'm talking about, that swimmer doing side stroke with their hair completely dry (goggles on their head), just close enough to the black line to make it difficult to swim with them.

    The one where you ask to split the lane and go sides, only to get an eye roll followed by a "fine" or "I'll be done in a few minutes". The few minutes turns into 20 and your left holding your kick board, standing pool side with your goggles permanently tattooing circles in your forehead. Where's THAT policy... ;)

  3. Can we have man-only swimming time too? So that I don't have to sprint the warmup of every workout to impress the ladies? Really kills the whole set.

  4. I find the concept of increasing inclusion via exclusion a bit perplexing. Kind of the same way I feel about Title IX! I understand the issue, an am sympathetic to it, just not sure if this is the proper solution. How about something akin to the JCA, MCA?

    How about some time for 50 year old geezers (like me) who last looked passable in a Speedo when "Hungry Like the Wolf" was charting? It pains me to think what the poor high school and university teams think when I kurplunk into the lane.

    Anyway, new to the site and enjoying a great deal!


    Men only clubs (Elks Lodge, etc.) have had to open membership up to women. Why would it now be OK to start excluding men?

    If a public facility enacts a women only time slot, then they should also enact a male only time slot.

    I'm all for equality.

  6. The problem, as I see it, is a public accommodation for one group will, more than likely, invite others to request special treatment, "One thing leads to another" (what does a Fixx reference earn me?)

    As I mentioned earlier there are any number of religious groups that provide a solution for this very thing, Catholic Youth Organization, Jewish Community Center, etc. Just a thought.

  7. This is not a "feel good post". Muslim women do not wish to swim in the presence of men because much of Islamic law is based on the idea that women are "temptresses" and need to keep covered by the burqa and hijab so as not to tempt man, the more wholesome sex. I am glad that the Columbia Association swimming pool is facilitating this centuries old denial of rights to women of the Islamic faith.

  8. I agree that it is great that this community is providing an opportunity to new individuals to get to use the pool. But the real simple solution to all this is: you want exclusive pool time? Build your own pool.
    Even simpler- wear the Burqini and swim with men - whats the conflict there? The women are covered...

  9. They should build a pool at the mosque, then they can have their own religious based policies. If we are talking about public pools they must be fair in administering such rules. What other groups get this much privilege? Swim teams with a large number of daily users frequently don't get this kind of privilege. Our team has to put up with any old weirdo using our facility to 'lap swim' during our club practices. This means all sorts can be in the locker rooms, restrooms, random halls and lobbies. I hate it! ...but even children's rights to safety are trumped by lap swim dollars.