Everyone who comes to The Center begins their rehabilitative journey in the pool. Swimming uses every muscle and helps people gain strength, allowing them to explore other para-sports eventually. When a person enters the water, they can use their bodies in ways they may not be able to on land, and whatever disabilities they have dissolve as the water ripples around them. This freedom of movement makes swimming the most important sport for people with disabilities. For many, the pool is the only place where they can participate in games that use their body, leading to the opportunity to experience play, comradely, and success.
The Israel ParaSport Center Aquatics Center includes two pools, which are both in need of total overhaul and a complete renovation.
The Atlanta Community Pool
Built in 1966, The Center’s semi-Olympic pool is used daily by children and adults participating in its swimming programs. The pool is an aluminum structure covered by sheets of PVC. It is supported by concrete and iron bars. The heating system is above the ground and includes heat pumps and a kerosene heater. No major repairs have been performed to it in the nearly 60 years it’s been in use.
The work needed on the Atlanta Community Pool includes:
- Renovation of the pool basin itself.
- Overhauling the basement, including replacing the iron pillars and reinforcing the infrastructure, the major task of rebuilding the concrete ceiling, strengthening the walls, and replacing all the mechanical room equipment.
- The complete renovations of the pool premises.
- Further development of its surroundings to more broadly suit the needs of people with disabilities, and to meet current regulations.
The Jimmy Caplan Children’s and Hydrotherapy Pool
In the early 1980s, the small children’s and hydrotherapy pool was constructed. For many it is where they start out, moving to the Atlanta Community Pool after learning basic swimming skills and gaining confidence in the water. It is also used for those who cannot swim safely in the large pool, as well as private and group hydrotherapy sessions. In addition to serving The Center’s rehabilitative programs, the pool also serves preschool children with disabilities from Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv on a weekly basis.
While this pool has been renovated several times since its construction, heavy daily usage has taken a toll on the pool’s overall structure. The pool’s mechanical systems, changing rooms, and surrounding area are in need of significant renovation.
These facilities are uniquely designed to accommodate the complex needs of children - as young as three years old - and adults with a range of disabilities. Their journey begins with one-on-one sessions with specially trained instructors. When ready, the athletes move to the semi-Olympic pool, where they can join one of our swimming teams. This model is successful in not only cultivating Paralympic champions, but also in building the children’s character and stamina so that they can move on to other sports.
The $3 million Aquatics Center Capital Campaign launched in 2021 and we expect to dedicate and reopen the new Aquatics Center during Summer 2024. So far, $2.5 million of the $3 million needed to renovate the pools has been raised, but fundraising for this project is ongoing.