End of Summer Update

With the end of summer and the close of our city’s outdoor pools, AAA’s focus shifts to the one indoor pool in Alexandria – Chinquapin. This is most appropriate as Chinquapin is also the focus of many of our activities as we strive to fully fund a 50-meter indoor pool there.

However, this message is about more than just Chinquapin. We hope that you have been checking this website for breaking news during the year, but we thought that this is a good time to bring you up to date:

  • Chinquapin: The City is negotiating the final stages of the design contract for the new 50-meter pool at Chinquapin. Hopefully the award will be made this month and the contractor will then schedule public hearings on the project. This is a great time to get even more involved with the new pool. If you have any design concerns, please let us know or come to the public hearings to express your views in person. Check out the website for dates and places for the public hearings. If we can raise the $2.5 million in private sector funds to complement the City funding, the new pool will be built in 2018.
  • Warwick: The design contract for the new pool at Warwick has been awarded by the City to Lukmire. They will use the firm Counsilman-Hunsaker as their aquatics expert. The AAA Board met with the contract administrator for the City and she expects the new pool at Warwick to be open during the summer of 2017. Maybe not at Memorial Day, but closer to the end of June. There will be limited public input possibilities because the new pool is basically a replacement for the existing pool – essentially the same footprint, but with a brand new bathhouse.
  • Old Town: The replacement of the Old Town pool is in the long-range capital improvement plan for 2022 – five years away. That will complete a significant overhaul of the aquatic system in Alexandria. More on that after we finish Warwick and Chinquapin.
  • Del Ray Sprayground: Just FYI – there is a local group heading up an effort to install a sprayground with art features at the site of the old Colasanto pool in Del Ray. The City has allocated $450,000 for the project in 2022, but more funds will be needed to actually put in the sprayground. The local group is headed up by Nancy Lee-Reeves. AAA has informed them that our group supports the idea of a sprayground there, but that our focus right now is on the Chinquapin project and raising the necessary funds for that. We wouldn’t be able to help raise funds for the sprayground at this time. If you want to know more about the sprayground, here is Nancy’s email address:
  • Family Splash Nights: AAA supports the Family Splash Nights (formerly the Family Fun Nights) that are put on each month by the City and the Chinquapin Advisory Council. They have been an unqualified success for the past couple of years. Each month a local school is featured (although anyone in the City is welcome to attend) and coordination is done through the school’s PTA and ACPS. There can be as many as 200 to 300 people there on a Friday night! Check the schedule.
  • Coming up: During the entire month of October, Reunions, a shop just off of Quaker Lane in Fairlington Centre Plaza, will donate 5% of its proceeds to Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics. In the past, Reunions has supported ALIVE, Senior Services of Alexandria, Kelly Cares Foundation and the Vola Lawson Animal Shelter, and AAA is grateful for their support this year. Reunions, famous for its appealing window displays, will be doing an aquatics-themed display to help promote the new pool at Chinquapin. Please stop by during October to show your support for AAA and invite your friends and neighbors to do the same.
  • Chinquapin Fund-Raising: The clock has started ticking on AAA raising $2.5 million for the indoor 50-meter pool at Chinquapin. If that money is not raised, the pool will be reduced to a 25-meter pool or the project will be deferred. We have many actions going on to raise the funds, but more help is always appreciated. Please contact me at if you think of any prospective private individual donors or possible corporate donors that we can contact. We have come so far – now is the time to push the project to a successful conclusion.

Remember – all of these pool improvements have a common goal – teaching every kid in Alexandria to swim. Let’s fuel the pool and make that happen!

Hope the summer went well and that the fall is even better. See you at Chinquapin!

Bill Rivers
Chair, Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics

AAA Sponsors Jim McDonnell Lake Swim

reston masters lake swimAAA was a sponsor of the 2016 Jim McDonnell Lake Swim in Reston’s Lake Audubon. On May 29, AAA board member Bob Ludke had the opportunity to participate in the two mile swim, and here are his thoughts on the event.

2016 was the second year in which I participated in the two mile Jim McDonnell Lake Swim. The event also features a one mile swim, and participants have the opportunity to swim in both distances. The Jim McDonnell Lake Swim is considered one of the premier open water swims in the Mid Atlantic region and attracts swimmers of all skill levels from the area. The organizers do a great job putting together the event, the water tends to be warm and the competition is always friendly.

Compared to lap swimming in a pool, open water swimming is a refreshing change. Best of all, there is no need to worry about flip turns when cruising along in a beautiful lake! However, open water swimming does present its own challenges. Open water swimmers need to feel comfortable altering their stroke to look up and sight the buoys, and because there are no lane lines there can be jostling between swimmers – especially when rounding the buoys. Those skills can easily be learned in a swimming pool. One or two tips from a coach or experienced open water swimmer is all that is needed.

If you have never done an open water swim event consider starting with a shorter distance – something like 750 meters or one mile (roughly 1250 meters). Also, many local swim teams have groups that practice in area lakes and rivers, and those are great opportunities to get some coaching while gaining experience.

Regardless of distance, the most important rule of open water swimming is to be safe. Even experienced open water swimmers should never swim alone and all swimmers must take steps to ensure they are visible to watercraft. Once you have the necessary safety precautions in place, get in and enjoy the beauty of swimming in open water.

Photo credit:

The Summer Swimming Season is Officially Open!!

Mayor Allison Silberberg officially kicked off the start to the summer outdoor swimming season on Saturday, May 28th at the Old Town Pool. She greeted the first swimmers with remarks reminding them about how much fun swimming can be, but also a caution that everyone should know how to swim. If you don’t, sign up for swimming lessons provided by the City.

After officially opening the doors to the pool, the Mayor jumped in the water herself to give some informal swimming lessons to interested kids. And then played water basketball with some other kids to show what a complete athlete she is!!

Check out the pictures taken by the RedBrickTown staff to view the opening ceremony!

AAA will post a video of the event shortly.

Enjoy the fun and the sun at your City pools this summer!

mayorsilberbergpool Photo credit: Alexandria Times

poolopening2-2016 Photo credit: Laura Fries

PRESS RELEASE – Summer Kick Off Event

Mayor Silberberg to Kick Off Alexandria’s Summer Outdoor Swim Season

In anticipation of the rainy days giving way to summer sun, join Mayor Allison Silberberg and Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics at Old Town Pool on May 28 to kick off the 2016 summer outdoor swim season.

“This event will officially launch Alexandria’s summer outdoor swim season at Old Town Pool. Every summer thousands of Alexandrians enjoy the cool water and open spaces of Old Town Pool, and 2016 will be the best summer yet,” said Bill Rivers, Chairman of the Board, Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics.

Old Town Pool includes a 25-yard pool with a diving well. A separate training pool is available for children up to 42 inches in height. Easily accessible for disabled, the training pool has a water depth range of 1-3 feet. For added convenience, a parking lot, picnic area and a tot playground are adjacent to the pool.

With its range of accessible facilities, the Old Town Pool facility hosts kids of all ages, recreational swimmers, Masters’ swim teams, birthday parties and family events in a safe and fun manner.

“With construction about to begin to renovate the public pool at Warwick Village and the City Council’s recent vote to approve $4.5 million for the new 50-meter pool at Chinquapin Recreation Center, the passion for aquatics has never been stronger in Alexandria,” said Rivers. “The summer of 2016 will be a wonderful time to enjoy Old Town Pool, located in the heart of our great community.”

What: Kick off of Alexandria’s Summer Outdoor Swim Season
Where: Old Town Pool, 1609 Cameron St., (Cross St.: Harvard)
When: Saturday May 28, 2016 at 12 p.m.
Featuring: Mayor Allison Silberberg and Bill Rivers, Chairman of the Board, Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics


Bill Rivers