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Women’s Water Polo Tournament Closure Results in District-Wide Change

By Noah Glosson, Sports Editor

// The women’s water polo team hosted its annual Acalanes Invitational Tournament during the weekend of Sept. 6-8. After winning the tournament championship in 2018, the team looked poised to repeat as champions. 

   Unfortunately, their tournament title defense was cut short after health officials closed the Heaston Aquatic Center upon discovering unbalanced chemicals in the pool on Saturday, Sept. 7.

   During the latter portion of the tournament, many players complained of burning eyes and skin irritation. Upon further inspection, the Contra Costa Department of Health unveiled an imbalance of pH and chlorine levels. 

   The pool was closed and the tournament was cut short.

   “It was disappointing not being able to finish our game but it was for the best,” senior Brooke Westphal said. 

   According to the Contra Costa Health Department, acceptable levels of pH range from 7.2-7.8 parts per million (ppm). With chlorine stabilizer, the department suggests 2.5-3.5 ppm. 

   “The pH was very high and hovering around 8.0 and there were also unbalanced chlorine levels,” women’s water polo head coach Misha Buchel said. “A lot of players were irritated by the chemicals and we had to cease operations.”

   Following this incident, Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD) held a meeting on Sept. 25 to discuss future plans in case of similar events. 

   “We basically held a meeting on what we will do going forward and we are in the making of a future protocol,” Acalanes associate principal Andrea Powers said. 

   Among the members present was AUHSD aquatic director Andrew Morris. The district tasked Morris with leading the development of future plans in case of a similar event.

   Although the district hasn’t established any affirmative protocol, Powers hopes the meeting was a step in the correct direction.

   “We are in the initial steps of our development, but we are working with Mr. Morris so this doesn’t happen again,” Powers said.

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