The Bluffton Pool opened Nov. 2 after more than three months of closure due to COVID-19. LYNNE COPE HUMMELL

Swimmers in the Bluffton area have had a difficult time over the past few years. In 2020, COVID closed all Beaufort County buildings for two months-long periods. In 2021, there was another months-long closure in order to repair the walls and re-surface the bottom of the Bluffton Pool.

Then, in late February this year, the pool’s roof was in danger of collapsing, and that closure still continues. As of this writing, Beaufort County Parks and Recreation’s website forecasts a re-opening in “late August.”

While there are many private pools in the Bluffton area, varying greatly in size, there is but one public place to swim – the Beaufort County Pool on Pritchard Street. Not only has it been closed so often for long- and short-term repairs, but its hours have been limited by a staffing shortage as well.

All in all, these difficulties have made it hard for many regular swimmers to engage in their aquatic activities.

Lap swimmers have had to find, if possible, other pools to use. Schoolchildren’s and summer campers’ swim lessons have had to stop. Adult aquatic exercise classes are in limbo.

Swimmers who used the pool during their lunch hours during their workday have gone from adjusting those hours to having none available.

And the Bluffton Fins swim club, under highly capable Coach George, has had to scramble for pool time elsewhere, usually out of town at a distance, which is very awkward for driving parents to manage.

When it is not available, we swimmers certainly realize and appreciate what having an indoor pool in the local community means. I’m sure that local swimmers join me in the hope that the Bluffton Pool will re-open as BCP&R expects. And further, that all of its systems will have been monitored to ensure that any future closures are only a remote possibility.

I look forward to being able to swim at a location closer to my home, especially when cooler weather limits outdoor swim workouts.

The Bluffton Pool facility offers six 25-yard lanes, a variety of programs, ample deck space and seating, and recently refurbished locker rooms. Admission fees are quite reasonable. Perhaps there are even some among the previously limited staff who will be able to return as well.

Let’s all hope for the best.

Dr. Bob Colyer of Bluffton is an actively retired college professor, coach and author of “Swim Better: A Guide to Greater Efficiency for Swimmers & Instructors,” directed primarily to non-competitors.