Swimming lessons for 750 children are canceled at De Zeehoek, where can they go?

Every week, 750 children visit De Zeehoek swimming pool in Wervershoof to take swimming lessons. Now that it has become known that the swimming pool is closing its doors, parents in Medemblik municipality are becoming dependent on other swimming pools in West Frisia. “We’re already pretty full.”

The announced closure of De Zeehoek has led to unrest and concern among many parents of children taking swimming lessons there. Also because it is not known when the swimming pool closes. Among other things, they wonder if their children can still continue swimming lessons, and if not, where can they go?

One of them is Stephanie from Hoorn. Her 6-year-old son has been taking swimming lessons at De Zeehoek for two years. So is she very shocked of the news. “I think it’s really terrible. My son is now working on his B diploma. He went to his third swimming lesson the day before yesterday. Do we still have room to complete it?”

So she doesn’t understand. “We lives in a municipality with a lot of water. Then they just have to make sure that school swimming returns so that the children can at least get their swimming certificate.’

Because even though there are stories of parents picking up their children from swimming lessons, Stephanie is still waiting. “My son absolutely loves swimming. He also wants to get his C diploma and lifesaving swimming if a child is in the water. Because he himself fell into the ditch twice’.

There are options

Can all children from Medemblik municipality who need swimming lessons, or are already taking swimming lessons, be accommodated in the surrounding indoor swimming pools in West Frisia? An investigation by NH News shows that there are quite a few chins.

At the Jos Koelemeijer swimming school in Hoogwoud, they are willing to think along. “We have already received five applications,” says Karel Koelemeijer, co-owner of the swimming school. They are ready to help where needed, even if Karel has a comment. “But then there must really be enough enthusiasm from De Zeehoek. Maybe we’ll open an extra bath, but it’s still in its infancy.”

Although there are waiting lists in Hoogwoud, he foresees no problems. “Most of those on the waiting list are four years old. But with us, they cannot start until they are five. Children who take swimming lessons at De Zeehoek are probably a bit older. They may start earlier. If they want to take classes with us, they are very welcome.”

Karel also offers private lessons during school hours. “There is still space if it suits the parents. Then they can perhaps start earlier.”

A little further on, in Medemblik, people are also fully sympathetic to the situation. “I still have space. I can free up some staff hours, but will it work for 750 children? No, it will be a difficult story,” believes Ed van Rozelaar, owner of the Ed van Rozelaar swimming school. If the swimming pool in Wervershoof closes permanently and registrations pour in, Van Rozelaar is prepared to take care of children. “We like to think together with our neighbours. If, for example, 200 children sign up, we will of course find a place for them. But this must be done in close consultation with EuroParcs, owner of the Zuiderzee swimming pool, where we give our swimming lessons.”

The situation is not good for anyone

Swimming pools are also approached outside Medemblik. “We have already received emails this week with this question. We also received calls from worried parents,” says Nicoline Han, team leader at De Waterhoorn in Hoorn. “We like to think with them and help where needed. Such a situation is not comfortable for anyone. Especially for children who have a hard time missing classes because of this.”

Whether there are waiting lists depends on the situation. “Does someone still need to start or are they already halfway? Especially in the latter case, there are options like laterals. What is his or her level? Do we still have room there? And can they do it outside of our popular days?”

For children who are yet to start, there is wel a waiting list. “But luckily it’s not very long, about 3 months.”

Pending

De Kloet in Grootebroek also received a call from parents from Medemblik municipality, asking what the waiting time is for children who want to take swimming lessons. Swimming teacher Jerry Nugter laments the situation: “But as it is, the space is very limited. We are already quite full. Children here have the opportunity to take lessons more than once a week.”

Expansion of the staff could be possible, but that is the responsibility of Stede Broec municipality. “We all teach at the same peak times, namely after school.”

Ton Boogaard, director of Recreatiebad Enkhuizerzand, says that he will first wait and see what the board will do. “How long will they stay open? Will there still be an unexpected solution? If they pull the plug for good, we are certainly prepared to take care of children and help. We have compassion given this sad situation.”

Give perspective

The situation regarding De Zeehoek was also discussed at the town hall in Wognum. Hart voor Medemblik even submitted a proposal on Thursday evening. It was later withdrawn because there was little support. “Like everyone else, the news fell flat on our roof. The residents do not know where they stand. We believe that the municipality must provide perspective, come up with a plan that shows: we’re working on it,” says Mark Hoogewerf, who immediately indicates that he will come up with an improved movement.

Communication about when the swimming pool will close its doors also leaves something to be desired and gives rise to unease, says Hoogewerf: “There has been noise about the closure. The swimming pool board states that they will still go through next year, possibly with energy compensation from Men in the information note it says that the closure will happen in 2024 or 2025, while an email to all parents indicates that it will happen between 2023 and 2025. It can and must be done better. Parents have many questions.”

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