Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DPR announces swim attire policy, with photos

Thanks to the petition (182 signatures!) and involvement from councilmembers, DPR has revised their swim attire policy.  Theoretically signs should be up and staff should be trained.  Feel free to email me and DPR if you have any issues with untrained staff or unclear rules, though hopefully the rest of the summer goes smoothly for all pool patrons!

Belw is the text of the new policy, which actually doesn't do a whole lot of updating since it still says "proper swim attire" without specifically defining it.  The photos, however, are much more useful, as they include religious swimsuits, rash guards, swim trunks, etc.  (If the photos don't load in an Internet Explorer window, try a different browser.  But I still wonder how their staff would know the difference - visibly - between a "compression" shirt and a "surf" shirt.  The policy also neglects to address whether hats are allowed, which was an issue at Harry Thomas Pool last summer.  Also, the broadness of the "revealing swimwear" prohibition could be problematic, not for myself but in how it could be applied unevenly.  The new policy does, thankfully, clarify that shirts are allowed on deck.  Overall, it's good to have more specificity (and photos, I hope those are posted at each pool, they were at Harry Thomas Pool today!), but there is definitely room for improvement. 

At any rate, I look forward to swimming again and want to thank everyone again for their support, emails and tweets!

The current requirements are as follows:
- All persons on the pool deck and/or swimming in the pool must have on proper swim attire. 
- All infants/toddlers that require a diaper must wear swimmer diapers and proper swimwear.
- Clean cotton t-shirts and sarongs are allowed on the pool deck, however patrons must have on proper swim attire underneath.
- The following attire is not allowed at District pools:
 "Street clothes", Brazil/French-cut, thong style and/or revealing swim wear, cut-off jeans, jeans, skirts, shorts, sport bras, leotards, leggings, dri-fit wear, compression shorts and compression shirts are prohibited.  Underwear and undergarments are not allowed to be worn under swimsuits.

Pool patrons often ask, "Why do I have to wear proper swimwear?".  Here are just a few reasons as to why it is important to only wear pool attire in the pool.
1. Street clothes (especially cotton) can transport airborne and ultimately water borne contaminants into the pool.
2. Lycra and Nylon are the best non-absorbent material for swimming and are the best fabrics for proper swim attire.
    a. Other absorbent materials (such as cotton) can break down in the water and cause fibers to clog filters.
    b. Any “colored” material (unless specifically made for swimming) can bleed into the pool, effecting water chemistry and balance. This is also a reason for turbidity in pools.
3. Cotton and similar materials can absorb the chemicals in the water, causing the water to become less effective at maintaining the proper chemical balance or may cloud the water.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

3 weeks later... still nothing

Though DC's DPR promised to resolve both the ban order and the swim attire rules quickly, they haven't contacted me in over two weeks.  This is so disappointing to me because their initial outreach to me was very apologetic and interested in improving things.  But now... I don't know if they changed their minds or just forgot about it, but it's not just my summer activities on the line here, it's a whole lot of DC residents that feel uncomfortable using these facilities (see the comments on the listservs and petition, for examples.) 

Please sign the petition, tweet and share on Facebook.  Let's get them moving, so we can all go swimming!

Also please email your councilmember (mine is and DPR (  Those emails do help move things forward.

I'll post an update soon - I hope with good news. 


PS We did file a police complaint.  It's being "investigated" but their initial call to my husband confirmed that it's standard DC police policy to not get the side of the story of the person being "removed" - that the "business" owner calls the cops for any reason and the cops will automatically remove the person, without verifying the reason for removal.  They also state that there is no difference between public and private property for the purpose of trespassing, despite the fact that DC law does make a distinction.