Teen swimmer with juvenile arthritis fears UNB pool closure – New Brunswick

Three years ago, Emilee Collins found a therapeutic safe haven in synchronized swimming.

Now, she and her mother fear she may lose her chance to swim when the University of New Brunswick’s Sir Max Aitken Pool closes next year.

“I’m really sad that the pool’s going to be closing,” the 13-year-old said.

“I dedicated a lot of effort into swimming and getting to where I am today, and all of that hard work is going to go down the drain.”

Last month, a citizens group gave a presentation to a city of Fredericton committee to build a replacement pool. But the chair of the committee said it would take cooperation from many regions to pay for a new facility, a task that could prove difficult

City representatives were not available for comment Sunday. 

‘I fell in love with it’

Emilee Collins joined Fredericton’s synchronized swimming club after starting treatments for juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. She had been forced out of competitive gymnastics and was looking for a new sport.

“I found synchro and I fell in love with it,” she said.

Her mother Melissa said the sport has worked wonders, not only for keeping her daughter healthy and happy, but for others as well.

“I know there’s children with other medical conditions that are part of the club,” she said.

Emilee’s mother Melissa said there are currently no other options to accommodate Fredericton’s synchronized swimming club. (CBC/Nicole Williams)

“Sports are good for the body but it’s also helped [Emilee] mentally to deal with the issues that are going on, to deal with being a teenager, to deal with limitations.”

Melissa Collins fears what will happen if another pool doesn’t open when the university’s pool and Lady Beaverbrook Gym close next fall.

“I’m more looking at it from a disheartened parents, a sad mom that has a child that’s able to do a sport with a medical condition, she can without pain and medications. She’s succeeding.”

Nowhere to go

The city of Fredericton currently…

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