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Olympic Swim Club

Deluge of good wishes precedes final season

Pool's doors will open Saturday; owners mum on plans for site's redevelopment

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKNEWS
General manager Bill Kilkenny skims the water Monday, May 19, while cleaning up a pool at the Olympic Swim Club. The club's 76th and final season of operation begins Saturday, May 24.

As they prepare for the Saturday, May 24, opening of the Olympic Swim Club, owners Newt Jones and April Zimmerman Katz said last week they have been heartened by the response of pool members and Clintonville residents to their announcement last month that this season will be the last.

"We anticipated a passionate response to our notification, and we had a tremendous outpouring from the community, especially on our Facebook page," Katz said.

In just the first two days after the announcement, the pool received hundreds of notes from central Ohio and across the U.S., she said.

"Overall, we were really just so pleased that so many people from all over the country took the time to share their cherished memories of Olympic," she said. "We knew that people would be sad about it. Really, it's been wonderful to hear all the things people have had to say."

"I think the biggest emotion is just sadness, but then they back it up with, 'We understand,' " Jones said. "When they realize it's been 76 years, they can't believe we've been around that long, have lasted that long."

Membership rolls swelled in the wake of the announcement, Jones said -- although as a business owner, he always would have been happy with even more families and individuals signing up.

The details of potential redevelopment of the pool site, 3450 Indianola Ave., are not yet ready to be made public, Katz said.

"We are not ready to announce our plans yet," she said. "We anticipate doing that sometime this summer.

"We only have one opportunity to do this right so we want to make sure we take our time."

Katz said the decision to close the swimming pool will not affect the indoor tennis club on the site. Many people, she said, have failed to realize the closing doesn't include the tennis club.

"It will be open as always and we have further improvements we continue to make to the tennis club," Katz said.

Meanwhile, the pool is being readied to accept swimmers one last time, Jones said.

"Our preparations, we're doing great," he said. "It's labor-intensive to get the swim club up and operating. We're actually ahead of schedule, which is kind of nice.

"Having said that, I'll knock on wood. There's no way of knowing what's going to happen with a summer club after 76 years of operation."

Jones and Katz -- grandson and granddaughter of Richard Zimmerman, who bought the pool complex with his father, Orr Zimmerman, in 1938 -- are planning a member-appreciation event this summer.

"That will include possibly a cookout and cake, something like that," Jones said. "During the summer, we have movie nights. We may throw some other events in there.

"We just want to make sure that people know we're open this season."

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