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Scuba club gains access to Alfond Pool

Photo courtesy of Rollins College Athletics

The Rollins Scuba team has been authorized to use the Alfond Pool after it was reserved for the swim team in Fall 2021. Last semester, SGA passed legislation that advocated for the club to regain access.

For SGA Senator Evan Link (‘25), access to the Alfond Pool means that “[many people] now have the opportunity to learn the skills they need for certification” and that “having this program available on campus is a great asset.” Regarding SGA involvement, Link said that SGA  “[was] able to express the interests of students and get those who hold decision-making power at the school to realize how passionate the student body was about getting this done.”

In Fall 2021, the Alfond Swimming Pool was reserved for both varsity swim teams, and recreational swimmers and on-campus organizations like the scuba club were prohibited. In a previous Sandspur article, Director of Athletics Pennie Parker said that the Alfond Pool restrictions were due to a lack of experienced staff available to manage public swim hours.

The scuba club responded by releasing a petition that garnered a total of 280 signatures. Now, Scuba President Molly Dawson (‘22) and Team Advisor Tim Morse celebrate their club’s victory. 

“We are thrilled that we are again using the Alfond Pool. After multiple conversations with the athletic department, and with the support of the swim coach, Coach Lehner, we were able to move forward with using the Alfond Pool,” Dawson and Morse said. 

Both emphasized the importance of scuba in the Rollins community and in their personal lives, considering it a team-building opportunity as well as a stress reliever. 

“Struggling with anxiety, I have found that being underwater and weightless helps me to relax and is amazing for your mental health,” Dawson said.

On the other hand, Morse emphasized the value of the sport’s diversity.  

“Courses are not limited to a specific category of student. Students come from all majors and classes: freshman through seniors and now even grad-students from all cultures and social backgrounds,” Morse said. “The only prerequisite is to be comfortable in the water and to possess a sense of adventure. One of my greatest pleasures each semester is watching such a varied group of students grow into such a cohesive group.”

The Scuba Team has seen increasing popularity, with over 100 current members. 

“The Rollins scuba program is a unique experience that is not found at just any college or university,” Dawson said.

Morse said, “We began the program in 1994, so having over 2000 Scuba alumni has been great for word-of-mouth advertising. The Rollins Admissions and Marketing Offices do a great job promoting our program to new students.” 

The club offers introductory certification through an open water course, while the advanced certification course and the dive leadership course offer different levels of professional certifications, including CPR, first aid, Rescue Diver, and Divemaster, which certifies a leader of a diving expedition.

The vast range of activities promoted by the Rollins Scuba Team is the key to its success, according to Morse. “Our best aspect, though, is probably that our end-of-semester summative training takes place in an amazing location – underwater Grand Cayman. It is truly a world-class diving destination and the students have had an amazing time on each trip,” Morse said. 

Because of COVID-19, most of the above opportunities were suspended or canceled, but the team is hopeful to offer trips to the Florida Keys and the Cayman Islands very soon. 

Katie Stagner (’25) said she considers scuba diving “a big reason she decided to come to Rollins,” and she is “really glad [we] are able to participate in it again this year, even if it is different than usual.”

Scuba aficionados can rest assured that scuba is a safe activity to practice during the times of COVID-19. 

According to Dawson, “every person has their own personal air supply with virtually no transmission while underwater. Each piece of equipment used by our students is sanitized between groups.”

“We would like to thank both the Rollins administration and the members of our scuba program,” Dawson and Morse said. “We would not exist without all of you, and we are incredibly thankful for your perseverance and understanding while we worked to bring our program back to the school.”

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