BOISE — In the United States, drowning is the leading cause of death in children in ages one to four and the second leading cause of death in ages one to fourteen, according to the CDC.
But a new aquatic center coming to the Treasure Valley wants to combat this issue as well as provide athletes with more competitive swimming opportunities.
“What we are trying to do is build an aquatic center in Boise that can help provide additional water resources and opportunities for safety, competition, and economic impact to the valley," said Ryan Stratton, Greater Boise Aquatic Center (GBAC) project developer.
GBAC is hoping to enhance competitive swimming opportunities. The center will have an eight-lane, Olympic-sized pool as well as a six-lane, 25-yard pool.
“Swimming continues to be strong in the United States and obviously everyone is going to tune into the Olympics and see who the predecessor is to Michael Phelps, but those dreams can start here in Boise," Stratton said. "If we have a facility that enables that then we can help kids reach those dreams.”
Boise High and competitive swimmer Nicola Myers said this aquatic center will open so many more doors for people to swim competitively because athletes won't have to spend as much money traveling to compete and get exposure.
“Right now we end up going on a lot of travel meets because we don’t really have pools here that can host bigger meets," Myers said. "I am really excited that we are going to have the opportunity to start hosting bigger events and that more kids in the Treasure Valley will be able to experience them as well”
While competitive swimming is one thing the center is focused on, there's also a big need for water safety instruction as well.
On average 11 drowning deaths occur each day in the U.S., according to the CDC.
“That is a problem that can be solved and that is just teaching kids to swim and learning water safety in pools," Stratton said. “We have to have to make sure everyone has access to swim lessons, all of the community, underserved communities as well. We are going to make sure those kids have access to swim lessons, and no matter the circumstances everyone will have a place at our facility.”
The Aquatic Center will be in Southeast Boise on Federal Way and Findley. The team is planning on breaking ground in October with plans of opening in the Spring of 2022.
“Having a venue like this will let us bring in a lot of people into the Valley. We will have substantial competitive events here and give the kids of Boise an opportunity to compete against the best.”
"It would mean so much to have this facility here," Myers said.
To learn more about the Greater Boise Aquatic Center, visit gbacswim.com.