Goodman Pool Working to Break a Trend

Wednesday, May 7, 2008 - 9:10am

Goodman Pool Working to Break a Trend
A recent national and first of its kind study by USA Swimming Foundation found that approximately 6 out of 10 African-American children are unable to swim, nearly twice as many as their Caucasian counterparts. The number is 56% of Hispanic and Latino children are unable to swim. Go to study:

The report goes on to say that the major factor in children's inability to swim comes from their parents, and the fact that their parents also never learned to swim. Goodman Pool, Madison's first public swimming pool, has been working to break that trend since it opened.

When Goodman Pool opened in June 2006, staff knew that generations of Madisonians, regardless of race or economic status, grew up without a public pool or learning to swim. In the inaugural year, pool staff had 66 rescues. The vast majority of those rescues were right off of the diving board area where the water was the deepest. The people jumping in clearly did not know how to swim and were surprised to see how deep it was.

John Cruzat, USA Swimming Foundation diversity specialist states, "If you don't teach your children to swim, you are putting your grandchildren at risk."

In order to cultivate new generations of swimmers, Parks staff focused on teaching people to swim. Goodman Pool staff feels all children should get equal access to high quality swim lessons regardless of their economic status, lack of swimming skills in their family history or perceived myths about race and swimming. Swimming skills should be fundamental to a child's development. Not only is it a life-saving skill, but it gets children active and moving - and it's a lot of fun!

In 2006, there were 900 swimming lessons. In 2007, those numbers were increased to 1400. The increase in swimming lessons was in part due to increased number of classes, but also to the increased amount of money donated for swimming lessons. Thanks to generous donations from Madison community members, including Irwin and Robert Goodman, the Madison Parks Foundation was able to increase the amount of scholarships from $16,000 in 2006 to $58,000 in 2007. Swimming lessons scholarships have gone to individuals, as well as to the various community centers and non-profit agencies who serve youth. As a result of this generosity, not only did more people learn to swim, but the number of rescues decreased in 2007 to 49.

If you would like to help a child learn to swim, please donate to the Goodman Pool Scholarship Fund at the Madison Parks Foundation, PO Box 2987, Madison, WI 53701.

Goodman Pool to open June 14
Goodman Pool is scheduled to open on Saturday, June 14. Family/Open Swim Times are:
Monday - Friday, 12:30-4:30p.m. and 6:15p.m.-8:00p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, 12:30p.m. - 7:00p.m.
The season corresponds with the Madison Metropolitan School District school calendar. The pool opens the day after the school year ends.

Season Passes are on sale. You can purchase yours in advance of the season by mail or by phone or your may purchase them in person at the Pool when it is open for the season.

Swim lesson registrations are now being taken. Classes are filling up fast! New in 2008 - Saturday swimming lessons, Junior Lifeguard Academy and Adult Water Aerobics. Schedules and applications can be found on the Goodman Pool website

New in 2008 - Swim Team
The Goodman Pool is excited to partner with the McFarland Spartan Sharks to offer a swim team Goodman Pool. This competitive swim team is open to the youth of Madison, 6 years and older, who have had previous swim lessons and are comfortable swimming at least 2 lengths of the pool.
The team aspires to create an environment where the swimmers enjoy the experience of competitive swimming through improvement of their strokes and racing techniques, improved personal race times, appreciation of team friendships and team spirit. We offer excellent coaching, daily practices at the Goodman pool and competitive swim meets throughout the season.

  • Laura Whitmore, 266-5949