Tempe Discusses Open Water Swimming Issues

Tempe Discusses Open Water Swimming Issues

Political candidates in Arizona are campaigning for open water swimming. Before Arizona became an American state, the residents of Tempe used to do open water swimming when water still flowed through Salt River.

But after the river dried up with the construction of the Roosevelt Dam, two candidates in Tempe are pushing for a possible revival of open water swimming.

Mayoral candidate Michael Monti and City Council candidate Dick Foreman said they are forming an ad hoc citizens committee to study their plan. “We’ve been hearing, ‘We love the lake. We love the amenities, but it’s not really open for us on a casual basis,'” explained Michael. “It’s sort of like you’re not allowed here,” added Dick. “[The plan] does need further refinement but we believe it can be done.”

Directions on solutions to the issue will begin at a community meeting on December 20th in Tempe.

Since opening of the Tempe Town Lake in 1999, Tempe has only allowed swimming during special events. The city studied opening the lake to swimming in 2010 and estimated the cost at US$10 million. After an analysis, the city allowed stand-up paddling but declined further study of swimming because of the cost.

Former Mayor Rudy Campbell also endorsed the idea giving some additional hope to open water swimming residents and triathletes.

Photo shows the swim leg of the Ford Ironman Arizona held in Tempe in November. Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones