The Alfond Pool is now open to the student body and the Winter Park community for the first time since the pandemic, with current public swim hours from 12 to 2 p.m. on weekdays.
The pool closed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, when cuts led the school to end the position of Aquatics Director. Following this, the Alfond Pool’s usage became restricted to varsity athletes, as there were no lifeguards to manage public swim hours, creating a liability for the school. Though there are lifeguards now, the school is looking to add more based on how many students use the pool.
The pool closure coincided with the opening of the Lakeside Neighborhood. Alfond Pool was previously a popular hangout for students, but the pool at Lakeside has taken on this role instead.
“It was the place to be,” said Nathan Arrowsmith, who has served as Intramural and Club Sports Director since 2004 and has witnessed transformations within the Rollins community—particularly regarding the pool. “It was full of the deck chairs, where people would be on the deck sunning and hanging out, and people would be swimming. It was quite a scene.”
Now that the pool is once again open to the community, the focus will remain on exercise. Arrowsmith expresses hope that the pool will eventually regrow into the hangout spot it used to be.
“That’s part of my motivation, is just to increase the fellowship around the pool, and the fun, and the looking forward to something that’s been important to the Rollins culture for so many years,” said Arrowsmith.
The Alfond Pool is not the only aspect of Rollins culture that transformed during the pandemic. Now, the school is trying to rebuild the community that existed before. Though recreation and social activities have been reincorporated into campus life, there are not as many students at previously popular outdoor locations in general, such as the patio between Dave’s Boathouse and the Alfond Pool.
The current swim window of 12 to 2 p.m. may expand in the future, depending on how many students use the pool, along with whether or not the school is able to acquire additional staff to oversee swim hours. For now, Arrowsmith is glad the pool is open again to the public, and he hopes students will take advantage of the current hours.
“I’m happy that we’ve been able to bring it back,” said Arrowsmith. “Hopefully it will continue to grow, and if not, that’s okay too, but I feel like there is an interest and a need for lap swimming at Rollins.”