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Kentlands Kingfish

I’m a 17-year Kentlands resident. Both of my kids, now 17 and 19, were members of the Kingfish, one for several seasons and one for over a decade as a swimmer and coach in training. The Kingfish community is a vital and significant part of the Kentlands community. The Kingfish embodies both the spirit and origins the founders had for the neighborhood: a vibrant, neighborly, close-knit community for all ages to enjoy. No other activity or club embodies the spirit of the Kentlands like the Kingfish. Over 200 swimmers and hundreds more people volunteer, swim, coach, socialize during the six-week season and for a lifetime. Kids from 4 years old to 18 years old interact as one, literally growing up together in our neighborhood and forming life-long bonds and friendship and memories, as do the parents. We are fortunate to have two pools, a competition pool with six lanes and a social pool and one of the few neighborhood-only swim clubs.

I was shocked and disappointed that four adult neighbors petitioned to the Kentlands Board to close two of the six swim lanes in the competition pool during the short six-week swim season. Their arguments ranged from “wanting to swim laps after work and before cocktails” (heaven forbid they should swim after the swim team practice) to “paying HOA dues like everyone else.” I’ve never witnessed a more un-neighborly and selfish and self-centered display. It isn’t enough that there are two dedicated lap lanes in the social pool (only 25 yards). It isn’t enough that the board went so far as to suggest that one lap lane in the competition pool be temporarily closed at the request of an adult swimmer during swim practice. (The six lap lanes are already overcrowded with 10 kids per lane during practice.) It isn’t adequate for the four adult swimmers to swim before the swim practice or after the swim practice. These four adults argued that two of the six lanes be closed to the swim team and dedicated to them during swim practice. I was embarrassed and ashamed for the many kids in the audience to witness such selfishness.

It was as if they expect the police to close down one lane of I-95 when they travel to the airport because they pay taxes.

I question why anyone with such a disdain for the true embodiment of the Kentlands neighborhood would want to live here. Isn’t an adult community better suited for their lifestyles and feelings toward children?

I hope the board takes into consideration the spirit of the founders of the Kentlands and how important and significant the Kishfish is to the fabric of that spirit and what a hardship it would be to close down any swim lanes in the competition pool during the short six-week season, when other viable alternatives exist (lap lanes in the social pool).

— David Kessler

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