A new law proposed in Florida is aimed at keeping the elderly out of public swimming pools. Anyone over 65 could face what some are calling unfair discrimination when trying to take a dip at their local community centers and gyms.
“It’s a safety hazard,” local Tallahassee politician Gordon Krupke said in a phone interview. “Many of the elderly swim so slowly in their lanes that it was creating traffic jams for serious swimmers. We had to try to put a stop to it.”
Krupke said the bill is not only concerned about the speed of grandmas and grandpas in the swim lanes, but what kind of affect they have on children looking on.
“Children at the local YMCA should not have to be subjected to that: sagging skin, liver spots, unsightly nose hair. My own kids are coming home disturbed and I really think this bill will help solve the problem,” Krupke added.
The elderly community of Florida has pushed back against this issue, citing multiple ageism laws and calling it highly discriminatory.
“I fought for this country,” said Korean War veteran Harold Bernard. Bernard was outraged to find out that at 82 years old, he was facing being banned from the local community pool.
“I’ve been doing laps here for years,” says Bernard. “I began swimming here back in 1979 right after they built this complex. I used to ride my bike down to Lakeside Avenue with my towel and swimming trunks which would only take me 15 minutes from my house. Back then, it used to only cost you a nickel to get inside. The tile work was different in those days—it was peach and, uh, I think green with cream plaster. They did that renovation in ’94 and changed out the tile, but I liked the old kind better.” He said a bunch of other stuff, but to be honest we stopped listening after the third or fourth tangent.
A local swimming group in Sarasota have organized what they’re calling a “soak in.” The group of nine women over 70 have decided to visit their local YMCA and sit in the water as a demonstration of their displeasure with the bill, no matter how pruned they may get.
“They can’t stop all of us,” said local organizer Iris Hammersmith. “We’re prepared to sit in that water all night. Or at least until 4:30 when most of us leave for dinner.”
This isn’t the first act of ageism legislation that Gordon Krupke has tried to get passed in the Sunshine State. In 2009, he tried to pass a law that would fine the elderly for belting their pants any higher than 6 inches above their belly button. The law never left the House floor.
Krupke is the main sponsor behind this particular piece of legislation, what’s known as bill AF-12014. If you email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, he will send you a lawn sign that says “Keep Our Lanes Wrinkle Free” to help show your support.
“They really are so slow,” Krupke said, obviously exacerbated. “We’ll all be better off if they just stay at home and do puzzles, or whatever it is old people do until they fall asleep in their recliners at 8:30.”
Want to support bill AF-12014? Click here for more details.