March 19, 2019 at 4:00 pm PDT | by Karen Ocamb
West Hollywood Aquatics presents $40,000 to City of West Hollywood

West Hollywood City Councilmembers John Heilman, John D’Amico, Lauren Meister, John Duran, and Lindsey Horvath with WH20’s James Ballard and Colin Dueweke. (Photo courtesy WH20)

Stop for a minute. Set aside the latest Trump tweets and the gush of media reaction. How many times can your mouth gape open at the latest scandal? Let your gaze rest instead on this photo of happy people presenting and accepting a check. Why does this matter? Because some people are thinking of others, not just themselves in this era of selfies and flimsy affectations.

James Ballard and Colin Dueweke, members of the West Hollywood Aquatics — the world’s first LGBTQ swim team born out of the 1982 Gay Games and known affectionately as WH20 – presented a check for $40,000.00 to the City at the March 18 city council meeting. The donation is intended to cover the costs of a timing system/scoreboard and disability lifts for the new pool in West Hollywood Park, scheduled to be open in 2020, Craig Sinel, President of the West Hollywood Aquatics, told the Los Angeles Blade.

Let that sink in: a non-profit donates money to a rich city accustomed to being the grant-giver – for, in part – a disability lift. WH20 models decency, welcoming everyone, regardless of age or skill or disability. (See last year’s Los Angeles Blade story on the Logo documentary, “Light in the Water,” about the team’s history.)

“West Hollywood Aquatics is committed to giving back to the community that we call home and we are thrilled to partner with the City of West Hollywood to ensure that the state-of-the-art facility is fully equipped on the day it opens,” Sinel said.

“West Hollywood Aquatics has been participating in the process to build the new pool for many years, and this donation from the team shows the Council and City of West Hollywood residents how excited we are to be moving to our new home,” Sinel added. “This is a project for the entire community and is a win for youth programs, seniors, lap swimmers, masters, and everyone else who loves the water. This is about swimming, water polo, and the entire aquatics community, and we couldn’t be more excited.”



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