Health region issues warning about Regina pool

Health officials are recommending that swimmers should not do intensive activity at Regina's biggest pool — the Lawson Aquatic Centre.

Air quality problems making swimmers sick

Health officials say the air at the Lawson pool could be a problem if swimmers exert themselves, Tory Gillis reports. 1:48

Health officials are recommending that swimmers should not do intensive activity at Regina's biggest pool — the Lawson Aquatic Centre.

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region said Tuesday it does not feel the city-run, indoor facility is unsafe, but there are "intermittent air quality" issues and multiple reports of people getting sick while doing strenuous activities.

"Swimmers doing intensive physical activity or those with respiratory problems should not use the facility," the region announced.

Concerns about air quality have been raised by members of a local swim club.

"There's a real lack of ventilation at the bottom half of the building," said Nick Egarhos, the president of the Regina Dolphins swim club.

Egarhos told CBC News that young athletes were getting sick from chloramine fumes as recently as this week.

"There's a lot of coughing, there's some choking," Egarhos said. "We've seen kids vomiting on the side of the pool deck. And we've also seen very healthy athletes contract pneumonia."

Egarhos acknowledged the Lawson Centre has been working on the problem since last year, and has tried using big fans, but so far nothing works.

The health region also noted the city has been working to improve the air quality at the pool.

Chris Holden, an official from the city's recreation division, responded to the health region's caution by pointing out the facility has not had any recent incidents relating to air quality.

"We've held a number of competitions since March," Holden said. "We've had swim meets, we've had synchro competitions, we've had water polo competitions. All those have gone on without incident."

Egarhos, however, said many members of the club have had problems.

"We have over 120 competitive swimmers in the club," he said. "Over 100 have experienced some form of respiratory distress."

Health officials said anyone who experiences illness or symptoms should leave the facility immediately and contact a doctor if symptoms persist.

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