Swim coach has enough of pool monopoly

Monday, April 12, 2021
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

swimmer in waterAn Arizona swim team is going to court for its right to access a public pool.

Joe Zemaitis, head coach of Swim Neptune, a club swim program, explains that while most cities rent to a number of different teams, the city of Scottsdale has only allowed one team to practice and host meets in its city pool since 1966.

In 2006, Zemaitis began requesting pool time in Scottsdale, as many of his team members live in the city.

"They told me it would be a conflict of interest if they would rent to a different team, even though plenty of different softball teams and baseball teams and soccer teams use the city fields," Zemaitis recalls. "They just said only one team could use their pool."

He was unsuccessful when he tried again in 2010, and it was not until 2017 that he was presented with the opportunity to bid for pool time in the city.

"It's kind of a crazy story, but we ended up with the highest score," accounts Zemaitis. "Initially they added the scores incorrectly and the other team won, and then when I pointed out their error, they canceled the request for proposal (RFP) process and just continued their contract with the current team that's in there and refused to allow our kids, who many of them are Scottsdale residents, access to practice in a public pool."

Zemaitis

The city attorney for Scottsdale did not respond to an email from One News Now seeking comment.

Meanwhile, Zemaitis is frustrated for the swimmers and their taxpaying parents.

"Some of them are driving 30 or 45 minutes each way to come to our practice at a club in the city of Phoenix because we can't get any of their pool space closer to home," says Zemaitis.

The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute is teaming up with Zemaitis and Swim Neptune to fight what they call the "unfair Scottsdale pool monopoly."

"All we're asking is that they do the fair thing and do the right thing and allow us to have the same access that others are afforded," says Zemaitis.

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