The Marlins of Raleigh, a 15-year-old swim team that boasts several U.S. Olympic Trial qualifiers, may soon have a new location in Cary.
Paul Silver, head coach of the Marlins, is considering buying the River Rock Swim Club, a members-only, summer-season facility near the Silverton community in northern Cary, to build a permanent structure over it, which would create a year-round facility.
Silver moved to Cary in 1984 and worked as the head coach of the Raleigh Swimming Association for 17 years before founding the Marlins of Raleigh swim team in 2001. The team started out with six swimmers but now has more than 570 who practice at three locations in the Triangle – two in Raleigh and one in Clayton.
He hopes to make the River Rock Swim Club the fourth location for the Marlins of Raleigh to practice.
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“There’s been so much growth (in Cary), but there’s not a whole lot of indoor pools in that part of town,” Silver said. “It’s really going to be a localized group. It’s not like we’ll be moving a bunch of Raleigh kids over there.”
Marlins swim meets also would remain in the larger facilities in Raleigh, he said.
But the Cary Town Council would need to rezone the site before a permanent structure could be built over the pool. The council held a public hearing regarding the change at a March 23 meeting, and several neighbors spoke in favor of the project.
The River Rock Swim Club now is home to the Silverton Sharks swim team. The facility also features a playground, concession stand and volleyball courts. Memberships are available to members of the public, including Silverton residents.
This would not change, Silver said, but instead, members would have the opportunity to swim there all year.
“We want to be good neighbors to the community and provide the opportunity for people to lap swim and have swim lessons and instruction,” Silver said. “We’re going to be a community-based facility that neighbors see as an asset.”
Some neighbors, including Ken Matz, expressed concerns about what would happen to the property if the case wasn’t approved.
“We would worry if we didn’t do that what the current owner would do and what could be in its place,” Matz said.
Council members expressed excitement about the benefits the pool would provide to the area.
“For the same reason I supported the one directly down the street from my house, I’m pretty inclined to support this one as well for a lot of the amenities it brings to the area and youth,” councilman Don Frantz said. “Places for kids to swim, we are in short supply here, especially for the number of kids that are involved in that sport.”
Councilman Ken George said his son, who is a swimmer, was excited about the possibility of the project because he knew Silver personally and thought highly of him.
“He was very excited for this opportunity because of the quality program and the kids that (Silver) turns out. So I’m very excited about that.”
The Cary Town Council will not vote on the case for at least a few months. If the rezoning case is approved, Silver said he expects work to take five to eight months starting in the fall.
“(Silver) is very passionate about what he does,” said Glenda Toppe, a consultant representing River Rock Swim Club. “He believes that if he has the opportunity to purchase the property that it will be a Class A facility that will be not only an asset to this area but to the town of Cary overall.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608, @KTrogdon