Snohomish Aquatic Center

Celebrating 10 years of Community Support

When the historic Hal Moe Pool closed in 2007 and was later demolished in 2018, community members wondered if and how the city would ever see a new pool. After years of planning, waiting, and wondering, the Snohomish Aquatic Center finally opened its doors in 2014.

“It’s hard to believe ten years have passed since it first opened,” said Chris Bensen, Aquatic Center Supervisor. “Facilities like Snohomish Aquatic Center happen because of the passion of the people in this community. Not many small towns support their community the way Snohomish has.”

The aquatic center, which is owned and operated by the Snohomish School District, prides itself on being diverse and having something for everyone, such as swim and dive lessons, recreational swimming, surf lessons, diving boards, competitive swimming, and water fitness. It features a recreation pool, a separate competition pool, a warm-water therapy pool, a spray pad with a zero-entry area, a lazy river and water slide. The FlowRider is the only indoor surf simulation machine in the entire Pacific Northwest. 

The pool water is also unique, as it’s treated through a system that produces natural chlorine out of simple salt water, reducing reliance on typical pool chemicals. The system creates a more swimmer-friendly environment with improved water and air quality.

Erica Cenci, a Snohomish High School graduate who won five state championships and still holds numerous records, went on to swim at Purdue University before settling back in Snohomish. She said almost all her young swim memories are from Hal Moe Pool, but now, her kids are growing up at the aquatic center.  

“My kids love going to open swim and ask to go all the time,” she said. “There’s always something different going on…people doing scuba diving, synchronized swimming…there are so many different ways for community members to engage and connect.”

Bensen, a lifelong competitive swimmer herself, believes strongly in the physical, emotional, and social benefits that come from swimming and being in the water. 

“For many, the water helps provide peacefulness, a sense of focus, confidence, a sense of adrenaline, and helps with mental health,” she said. “Plus, it’s a lifelong sport that provides a total-body workout.”

Cenci obviously knows the physical benefits that come from swimming, but for her and her husband, who was also a collegiate swimmer, swimming is more than that – as drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States, and second among children in Washington state, swimming is an important life skill that they want their children to learn.

“We both feel so strongly that our kids need to know how to swim,” Cenci said. “And the aquatic center provides the opportunity for everyone to have access to that.”

Those opportunities come in the form of scholarships, resident discounts, and third-party programs such as Swim for Life, a nonprofit organization formed and funded by local Snohomish community members. Swim for Life even offers every second grader enrolled in the Snohomish School District a free session of swim lessons at the aquatic center, noting that participation in formal swimming lessons may reduce the risk of drowning by as much as 88 percent among young children aged one to four-years-old, who are at highest risk.

“Our passion and goal is to help make sure that people of all ages have the skills, strategies, and tools to be safe when in and around water,” said Bensen. “And we are blessed to have such wonderful partners working with us within this community.” 

At the Snohomish Aquatic Center’s grand opening in 2014, community design team member Bill Fulton said he “hoped every member of the community would benefit from the wonderful facility.”

“I feel like we’re continuing to fulfill those initial goals,” said Bensen. “We’re excited to keep enriching the lives of all our community members and see what the next decade holds.” 

“It’s hard to believe ten years have passed since it first opened."

It’s a lifelong sport providing a total-body workout.

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