Practice for Aiken-Augusta Swim League's short course season started last week, with the weather still warm enough for league members who live in the area to swim at Riverwood Plantation.
Soon, weather will not be an issue at Riverwood. The community has purchased a dome to be placed over the pool starting Oct. 1.
The biggest boost, from the standpoint of ASL members who reside near Riverwood, is not having to travel to the Augusta Aquatics Center on Damascus Road for practice.
"It's a great benefit for the kids who live in this area," said Tim Troutman, the league's meet director.
ASL will rent the pool three hours a day, and Greenbrier High's swim team also will rent lanes for a couple of hours each day. The remaining time will be allotted for Riverwood residents who pay the $150 fee to use the indoor pool during the cool months.
The Ameri-Dome, built by Ameri-Brand Products Inc., cost about $50,000, not including the cost to heat the dome and pool. Riverwood association manager Cendy Crosby said the bill was footed through sponsorships from people in the area.
Residents pay $350 for membership to the pool during the summer months. That the cost of the dome was covered through sponsorships allowed Riverwood to offer a lower cost for pool use during the winter months. Crosby said other events at the pool probably would include aerobics classes and will be a place for older members of the community to stay in shape. Inside, the dome will be heated and the water temperature will be set at 82 degrees. The covered pool will open at 5:45 a.m. and close at midnight. Members will have access for the duration of open hours except when teams practice in the afternoon.
With the housing market trying to rebound, Crosby said a domed pool could help the community's appeal.
"Homes are not just selling as fast as they used to," she said. "We're looking at what we can offer our residents that would be unique, that would bring people to live in this neighborhood."
The pool could offer those in surrounding neighborhoods a limited number of memberships, Crosby said, depending on the interest from Riverwood residents.
Crosby and ASL officials said many in the area have an interest in swimming. Riverwood issued more than 200 pool memberships during the summer, and the swim league has filled two of its groups in the area.
"There's that much interest in competitive swimming out there," she said.
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