Olympic swim coach: Charlotte has severe shortage of water space

Published: May. 17, 2014 at 12:17 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 15, 2014 at 7:29 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Michael Phelps is in Charlotte swimming in the Arena Grand Prix. The sport of swimming is increasing in popularity in Charlotte with Olympians paying regular visits for meets and some training here year round.

But Ryan Lochte's coach says there is a severe shortage of water space in the Charlotte region.

Lochte's team, SwimMAC Carolina, has a plan to increase the number of indoor swim lanes.

Olympic swimmers like Michael Phelps practice at indoor pools all year round. His lane-training partner Allison Schmitt explains why the sport doesn't rely on outdoor pools.

"In the indoor pool, there's no weather factors it's not snow or rain or thunderstorms," said Schmitt, "So, I think that having an indoor pool really helped us growing up."

Olympian Tyler Clary started in March swimming for SwimMAC Carolina in Charlotte.

"I've always been in programs where we're at one pool all the time," said Clary, "We really have to pick and chose what pool we use depending on what pool is available."

CEO and Director of Coaching at SwimMAC, David Marsh says Olympic Swimmers won't be the only ones who will benefit from the new swim lanes they want to build in our area.

SwimMAC Carolina wants to raise $6 million dollars to repair the pool they have on Providence Road, to renovate four other pools and to build a new aquatic center in Mooresville.

"What we're trying to do, our One Lane at a Time capital campaign is to create 75 better or new lanes that youngsters can swim in," said Marsh, "At SwimMAC we serve about 10,000 families per year, between lessons, our competitive team, our adult programming and for high performance program."

Farzaneh Sanchez's boys started swimming for SwimMAC when they were seven and eight years old.

"Swimming is huge," said Sanchez, "All meets when you go all teams are full.  I know multiple other teams around area that they all fill up they don't have room for the kids because they don't have lane space. They don't have anywhere to swim."

She hopes SwimMAC's One Lane at A Time Capital Campaign will help with the sport's growth.
Two and half acres of land has already been donated for the new aquatic center to be built just off I-77 at exit 31.

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