susan simmons
(Susan Simmons 2018/seaproof.tv)

Prominent local marathon swimmer, Susan Simmons, is challenging Victoria mayor and council to join her in an ocean swim at Ogden Point on December 1st.

Simmons hopes to put a spotlight on the stalled Crystal Pool replacement project and states that swimming in the ocean is what ordinary Victorians will face if Crystal Pool shuts down or becomes a 25 meter facility.

“Replacing this vital community pool – used mainly by ordinary members of the community – is once again at a standstill as council debates – again – the design of the pool,” says Simmons.

“At this rate, there’ll be another election before anything is decided, and we’ll be without a community swimming facility well beyond 2024 – if it ever gets built.”

Simmons, who has multiple sclerosis, is well known for swimming from Port Angeles to Victoria and other ultra-marathon swim achievements.

Leaving swimmers with no place to go

On Thursday nights, Simmons coaches more than 50 Special Olympic swimmers using half the pool and 10 more in the other half which is also being used by the city to provide children’s lessons.

Reducing the capacity of the pool to 25 m will mean that half its patrons on that night will be forced to seek other facilities.

In this case, Simmons argues that patrons will have nowhere to go for a swim but the ocean if Crystal Pool is abandoned, and therefore challenges the city’s mayor and council to an hour-long swim at Ogden Point.

“We care about the future health and wellness of Victoria and the generations to come. We are hoping that by sharing facts, others will understand the magnitude of the problem and join us,” Simmons says.

Reports highlighting the need to redevelop Crystal Pool were first submitted in 2011. Numerous studies have been conducted since with no concrete resolution yet for what will happen to the facility.

In a Facebook post, Simmons states that councillor Jeremy Loveday has accepted her invitation.

Mayor Lisa Helps tells Victoria Buzz that she will not be accepting the challenge as she has a full schedule on November 30th and plans to take December 1st off from work.

Save Crystal Pool Ocean Challenge to Mayor & Council

  • When: December 1st, 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
  • Where: Ogden Point Breakwater