Confirmed victory

The District of Columbia (DC) Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) recently instituted a ban on the use of water bottles at all DC public swimming pools. They cited the use of water bottles while swimming as a health violation. This new ban on water bottles at swimming pools in DC is particularly hazardous for swimmers - whether competitive or recreational. This restricts, and potentially eliminates, the ability for swimmers to stay adequately hydrated while swimming. This can be particularly dangerous during the summer season, when temperatures increase dramatically and outdoor pools open. While the DPR argues that water fountains are available at swimming pools, these are not an adequate substitute for water bottles: (a) water fountains are not conducive to consuming substantial amounts of water/liquid (which is often necessary during long workouts or high-heat situations); (b) during large team practices (e.g., club teams, high school teams), it is not feasible to allow the entire team to line up to hydrate when pool time and space is already so limited; and (c) water fountains are often out of order. Ultimately, this ban forces swimmers, both recreational and competitive, adult and child, to either give up swimming at DC public pools or to flirt with the dangers of dehydration, hyperthermia, etc.

Letter to
The District of Columbia Department of Parks and Recreation
Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs Marion Barry
Director, DC Department of Parks and Recreation Jesus Aguirre
and 6 others
Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs Kenyon McDuffie
Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs Jim Graham
Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs Tommy Wells
Committee on Workforce and Community Affairs Yvette Alexander
DC Department of Health
Interim Director, DC Department of Health Saul Levin
Please make the reversal of the recently-instituted ban on water bottles at public swimming pools in DC permanent rather than temporary. The practice of precluding the ability to maintain properly hydrated while swimming is dangerous (e.g. elevated risk of dehydrated, hyperthermia, heat exhaustion) and unhealthy - ultimately acting against what the swimming pools are trying to promote - health and fitness. Please allow DC swimmers to continue to use our water bottles at DC pools.