Swim community makes waves to help Silver Spring pool -- Gazette.Net


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After a rainstorm flooded and led to a crack in a Silver Spring community pool, a spirit of cooperation came to the surface.

Seven community pools from Silver Spring to Derwood are helping members of the Robin Hood Swim Club in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood. They are pitching in to raise money to repair and renovate the broken pool.

According to pool officials, Robin Hood needs $250,000 to pay the initial expenses. To renovate the pool, it might cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1.25 million.

Due to the damage, the pool has been closed for the 2014 swim season.

“We cannot operate the pool in its current condition,” said Dany Burns, a Montgomery County Swim League representative.

A June 24 letter to members urges them to share Robin Hood’s story on their social media pages.

On May 1, the storm hit the Robin Hood pool, which is at 225 Mowbray Road, near New Hampshire Avenue and Randolph Road. It opened in 1968.

Burns said everything was set for the 2014 swim season, but after the May 1 flood, they had to “figure it out” — where practice would take place and if they would even be able to fill the swim team.

“Swim team for a lot of these families is what they do in the summer. ... And summer swimming is the cherry of their hard work all year,” Burns said.

West Hillandale Swim Club, also in Silver Spring, offered to share its pool with Robin Hood.

Burns said West Hillandale made room and allowed Robin Hood’s swim and dive teams to practice in their pool for the 2014 swim season.

Robin Hood started the swim season with 80 people on its swim team, according to Burns. It is back to more than 100 children competing in the Montgomery County Swim League. Once Robin Hood officials found a place to practice, the swim team membership grew.

Other community pools around the region have offered to host events or have hosted events to raise money for Robin Hood — among them: Stonegate Swim Club, Calverton Swim Club, Connecticut Belair Swim and Tennis Club, Martin Luther King Jr. Swim Club and Daleview Swim Club, all in Silver Spring.

Quince Orchard Swim and Tennis Club in Gaithersburg and Mill Creek Towne Swim Association in Derwood also have helped.

Robin Hood is covered by insurance, but according to a June 10 letter to members, the pool’s board of directors stated that the insurer denied a claim because “seepage and earth movement are not covered losses in our policy.” The board is hoping to appeal the decision.

Some parents aren’t letting the obstacle ruin their summer.

Debbie Mamana has three children on the swim team: Julia, 12, Jamie, 11 and Joe, 9. She said parents have been doing a lot of carpooling and helping each other, since West Hillandale is not as close to their home as Robin Hood is.

“It is been a little bit of a challenge because it is further away,” she said.

Mamana said some people have not rejoined the swim team due to the flooding problem, which prompted her daughter to swim in a 13-and-14-year-old category.

“That has been difficult to the swim team because we have fewer kids,” Mamana said. “When this first happened — and we found out that we weren’t going to come to the pool — we were so devastated, sad and upset.”

The disappointment faded after the first day of practice. Parents were relieved to have a place for their children to swim.

“Our kids found their Robin Hood friends and went off and played ... It is not the same, but we are so happy that we are not without a pool,” Mamana said.

Marissa Klecknir, 11, who swims in the 11-and-12-year-old group, said she is thankful the team has a pool for practice.

“I like Robin Hood better, but at least we have a pool to go to,” Klecknir said.

Members have raised money through websites like gofundme.com and crowdtilt.com.

At Crowdtilt, “Save Robin Hood” shirts are selling for $20.

Dinners and raffles also are being held throughout the community. All proceeds will go to the community pool.

At the Robin Hood website, people can donate as much as they want. So far, the pool has raised $36,540.

“We have a long way to go. We need to raise a lot of money,” said Mamana.

Members hope to have it reopened for the 2015 summer swim season.

abarros@gazette.net