The walk to the Coach Crafton Athletic Center from the concourse is half a mile long, according to Google Maps. This walk would most likely take the average person 11 minutes to walk. Now, adding on the time it takes for students to change into a bathing suit, text their friends to collaborate timing, and find a viable option of where to put their meal card while inside the locker room, Principia students are looking at a pretty serious time commitment to being utterly disappointed.
The 10-person hot tub in Crafton Natatorium has been one of largest issues that students have brought forth to Presidential Board and Student Senate. Senior Jordan Anderson says for the past two years, he has brought up the issue with the student body president roughly once every two weeks. “I might as well be sitting in the pool if the hot tub is not warm,” Anderson said. “When I’m in the hot tub, I’m not thinking how this will help my muscles recover and that I need the water in order to be healthy. It’s just a good way to relax and hang out.”
Senior Kendall Shoemake, the student body vice president, said he has had multiple conversations with Facilities and members of the swim team about the unreliable tub. “It’s not an issue of the temperature, but that it continues to break,” he explained. “Facilities is working diligently to fix it.” He then referred the Pilot to sophomore Kevin Powers, the Student Senate representative who communicates most closely with Campus Security.
Powers explained, “That’s more of a Facilities question, and it should be fixed. I’ve heard it’s been on and off.” However, the sophomore hasn’t been to the hot tub this year.
The next logical step was approaching a student who goes there almost every day. Sophomore Hunter Mehring of the swim and dive team clarified, “Recently it was broken. I’m not sure if people knew about that. But they fixed it now.” The swim team uses the hot tub quite regularly and wades in the kiddie pool for benediction.
One of the largest rumors floating around the student body is that Principia purposely lowers the temperature so students will not use the hot tub for therapeutic reasons. Sophomore Bailey Bischoff, another member of the swim team and dive team who is also on Student Senate, attested to this rumor by saying, “I have heard many students say that, but haven’t heard any of the faculty, including Carl, say that [the temperature is purposely kept lower].”
Carl Erikson, head coach of the swim and dive team, along with being Crafton’s aquatics manager, was able to clear up any misconceptions about the hot tub in a Pilot interview. The hot tub has a maximum temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit; however, it is kept at 99 to 100 degrees. Erikson stated that Principia knowingly leaves it at this temperature for three reasons. One, cooler temperatures significantly help control the costs of chemicals used to keep the pool clean. Two, safety: “For those that are not aware of the dangers of sitting in a hot tub for a while, they can become very drowsy very quickly,” Erikson said. Three, with so many families and young children using the Crafton pool, it is unsafe for children to be in the hot tub if it is at a high temperature. With temperatures at 104 degrees, “Virtually anyone under the age of 15 to 16 would not be allowed in there. It’s just too hot for them,” Erikson said.
It seems that Principia students are once again foiled by the term “liability.” It is just too much of a risk for the hot tub to be kept a couple degrees higher because of the danger it presents to students and visiting children. Once beloved by students but now seen as a liability, Eliestoun extends its condolences.
However, it appears that the hot tub temperature is not a result of the administration’s will to keep athletes from loosening muscles or to prevent students from relaxing, but that it was just broken.