Olympic pool coming to north Minneapolis; organization working to reduce drownings
With the hot weather, more families will be getting in lakes and swimming pools to cool off. That’s also leading a nonprofit to work to stop drownings.
By the beginning of next month, a world-class Olympic trials swimming pool will arrive in north Minneapolis.
"I’m amazed … this is big for Minneapolis," said Malik Rucker, the director of community engagement and partnerships for V3 Sports.
Three pools will be part of the V3 Center, including one that will be for instructional purposes to teach people how to swim. Another is 50 meters long and is being used right now in the Olympic swimming trials in Omaha.
"This is the best pool in the world so why not bring it right here where it is most needed and let everybody know that excellence can be found in any place," Erika Binger, the founder and executive director of V3 Sports, said.
The world-class pool was designed and constructed in Italy and used by elite athletes in Nebraska. Soon, thanks to donations and a discounted price, it will be shipped to the V3 Center. Officials say the construction to get it ready for use will take about five years, and spectators will have a view of downtown Minneapolis.
V3, a local nonprofit, is dedicated to exercise, character-building and leadership for north Minneapolis youth. It’s also committed to addressing drowning disparities.
According to USA Swimming, around 3,500 people drown each year. Of those, 25% are under the age of 14.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the drowning rate is nearly three times the national average within ethnically diverse communities, and Black children drown at a rate of over five times higher than their white peers.
V3 says it’s working to change that and save lives.
"We know the solution to that is swimming lessons, so it’s a small part that we can play in saving lives," Binger said.