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** Menlo Swim

From: Pistorino, James <PistorinoJ_at_(domain_name_was_removed)>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 2010 15:31:57 -0400


Dear City Council and Ms. Brandell:

I am writing to support Menlo Swim and Tim Sheeper continuing to run the swimming operations at Burgess Park Pool.

I have been a resident of Menlo Park since 2002 and an avid user of the pool since it reopened. I have had an opportunity to extensively observe the operations of the pool from the user's perspective. I swim with the Menlo Masters group, my three children have all taken swim lessons at the pool, they are all now in the Mavericks program, and also have attended the swim camps during the last two summers. During the summer, we also come to the pool on weekends to cool off. On average, my family is at the pool 4-5 days a week. I do not know Tim Sheeper personally, I am not on the triathlon team, and my only exposure to him has been at the workouts and around the pool. As a life-long swimmer, I have had the opportunity to observe masters programs across the country and even locally. I have experience being on kids, high school and masters swim teams and have also taught swimming and worked as a life guard.

All that said, in my view, the pool is exceedingly well run. The masters program is vibrant and welcoming to swimmers of all skill levels (I am middling, at best). Coaching on technique is offered and there are many convenient workout times. It is really a fun group with great camaraderie that does a lot outside of the pool (fund raisers, open water swims, etc.). The sheer size of the masters program is one indicator of how well it is run. It is amazing to come to a 7:00am workout and see the pool filled and know that another group already swam at 5:45am, another workout starts at Noon, and, depending on the day, another workout will be held that evening. The cost of the masters program is very reasonable and should not be a barrier to anyone joining. This program is a true asset for Menlo Park.

By its nature, swimming instruction for kids is transitory (the kids move through and younger coaches that the kids relate to also move through). That said, we have been very pleased with the instruction and all my kids are very good swimmers thanks to the program.

In my experience, kids swim teams can be over the top competitive (and the kids subsequently burn out) or not serious enough (and the kids lose interest). I think Mavericks has the balance right. The coaches are energetic and fun and the whole thing is done with an air of improving, having fun, and trying hard without devolving into grueling workouts that can kill the fun of swimming for younger kids.

The lifeguards are on top of the situation even when the pool is totally filled on hot summer days. Indeed, if I had any criticism, I think the lifeguards are a little too strict and more horse play should be allowed with less whistle blowing. However, it is very tough to guard a crowded public pool with such a mix of young and inexperienced swimmers and competition to use the facilities in different ways.

The few times we have had complaints or problems at that pool, they were responded to appropriately in a professional, friendly manner.

I do not profess to know anything about the financial arrangements or the way the contract was originally awarded.

However, I do know that the pool is very well run and that Menlo Swim and Tim Sheeper are assets to Menlo Park that should not be underestimated.

I hope you will keep these observations in mind when considering whom to award the contract to.

Regards,
James Pistorino
224 Lexington Dr.
Menlo Park, CA

P.S.: I suggest that swim suit spinners (such as the Suitmate Swimsuit Dryer) be installed in the bathrooms. Though I am not affiliated with them in any way, they are a convenient way of drying a suit in seconds and would be a nice addition. I have used them at other pools and people really liked the convenience of leaving with a dry swim suit.

James C. Pistorino
Partner

HOWREY LLP
1950 University Avenue, 4th Floor
East Palo Alto, CA 94303
Direct: +1 650.798.3580
Fax: +1 650.745.3458
PistorinoJ_at_howrey.com
www.howrey.com

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