Spring donors ‘Give Big’ to the community swim center

  • Tue May 18th, 2021 4:22pm
  • Life
Timothy Madison and Christine Kerlin.

Timothy Madison and Christine Kerlin.

Submitted by Friends of the Lopez Island Pool

This spring, Lopezians, San Juan Islanders, and mainlanders together raised a total of more than $144,000 for the Swim Center. To date, the Swim Center has reached 67% of its campaign goal and is currently focused on seeking funding from major donors, foundations, and grants for the final fundraising push.

With an estimated 92% of island kids incapable of passing the American Red Cross’s basic water competency test, the Swim Center will provide a critical place where everyone will be able to learn water-safety skills (no matter their age!). With two saltwater pools, the center will offer a space for a variety of activities beyond swimming lessons. The four-lane main pool will be a place for lap and competitive swimming, water rescue training, kayak and scuba instruction, and physical fitness classes. The 24-by-38-foot superheated pool will be used for aquatic therapy, infant-toddler swim safety, and much more. The Swim Center will also have a meeting room for use by other community groups and nonprofits, and an outdoor patio for those who don’t want to dip their toes in the pool. Billed as “The Place to Be” for the islands, the Swim Center will be a hub for a variety of activities for all people, no matter what age or ability.

Lopezians Christine Kerlin and Timothy Madison launched the spring fundraising with a $35,000 match challenge to the community. In three weeks, the match was not only doubled, but tripled! On its heels was GiveBIG Washington on May 4 and 5, which raised more funds toward the launch of the Swim Center.

Recently, FLIP spoke to Orcasonians Ted Ehrich and Sarah Ogmundson, who jumped in to back the Swim Center during the GiveBIG campaign. With the promise of a modern Swim Center easily accessible by ferry from Orcas, this motivated couple took the plunge to pledge $10,000 toward the Swim Center’s completion.

FLIP: What was your impetus to jump in and support FLIP and the Swim Center?

Ted: We both love swimming, so when we saw that a state-of-the-art public pool was being built on Lopez, we knew that we’d be using it. Since we’re in a position to be able to donate, it just seemed obvious. We didn’t even have to think about it! We also believe in the efficiency of private charities and their ability to do things right.

FLIP: What’s your favorite swimming/water story?

Ted: Swimming at the geothermal pools in Iceland and then eating the sweet underground rye bread cooked using the same geothermal water system was pretty magical.

FLIP: What kinds of benefits do you think will result from having a nonprofit Swim Center for San Juan County islanders and visitors?

Ted: What better way for people to come together and recognize their shared humanity than a pool? We hope it makes people happier, healthier, and more connected.

FLIP: What kinds of benefits do you think will result from having a nonprofit Swim Center for San Juan County islanders and visitors?

Ted: We plan on doing laps, staying fit, and having fun. There are some ways to move that can only be done in the water!

Thanks to all of the new donors who joined FLIP this spring, and to all of the donors who have continued to support the Swim Center! For more information, visit www.lopezislandpool.org.


Artist rendering

Ted Ehrich and Sarah Ogmundson.

Ted Ehrich and Sarah Ogmundson.