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Laps slapped…again? Unclear if outdoor pools will have adult lap swimming

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | A stroke of bad news could be washing up toward lap swimmers.

With the city’s outdoor pools set to open in just one week from now, it’s apparently still not clear if there will be adult lap swimming.

A lifeguard shortage has plagued the city’s pools the past several summers, which has meant the ax for adult laps.

Due to the lifeguard dearth, kids’ swimming lessons were also cut, along with early-morning, “Night Owl” and senior lap swim programs, at the city’s 53 pools.

Asked how this season’s situation is shaping up, a Parks Department spokesperson said, “Pool programming will be evaluated based on available lifeguard staffing. We expect to make an announcement soon regarding summer pool programming.”

Sante Scardillo, a Little Italy artist/activist, was outraged that the Adams administration just can’t see fit to fund enough lifeguards. A devoted daily swimmer, during COVID he bristled at having to get vaxxed to enter city rec centers — so he swam in Jamaica Bay.

“I started swimming 30 years ago,” he said. “Whatever you want to say about de Blasio, in the summer, they were importing lifeguards from Eastern Europe.”

However, during the pandemic, the city started to have difficulty attracting lifeguards, who — like other workers — were kicking back and raking in COVID-relief payments.

One Lower East Side woman said she is resolved to do her “bob and weave” style of lap swimming that she has developed in recent years. Or, as she put it, “modified laps in between all the people just wading around.”

As if a potential fourth straight summer without lap swimming were not bad enough, as The Village Sun exclusively first reported in March, the Dapolito Recreation Center and its outdoor pool, at Clarkson Street and Seventh Avenue South, will remain closed once again this summer. Named for the late Tony Dapolito, the legendary “Mr. Parks and Playgrounds” of Community Board 2, the rec center has been shuttered since 2019. A renovation project for “The Dap” has dragged on while its costs have ballooned after parts of the building were found to be structurally unstable.

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