by | Dec 7, 2017 | Respect the Quiet

I am member of the Meadowmont wellness facility in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Meadowmont is owned and operated by the University of North Carolina.

Meadowmont is a beautiful facility. Unfortunately, however, there is frequently very loud music in the swimming area. Below are my interactions with the aquatics director.

Dear Matt,

I am a member of Meadowmont health and wellness facility.  I am writing about the loud music frequently played in the swimming pool area.  It is ridiculous.

On Sunday at 6:25 pm, I went to the pool. The music was blasting. You could hear it from down the hall, with the doors closed.

The swimming pool is not the lifeguard’s private domain.  It is not their living room or their car.  Lifeguards do not have the right to inflict their preference for blasting music on other people. Blasting music is not the proper solution for lifeguards being bored.

The lifeguard was a 20ish white male.  He identified himself as “Andrew.”  (The sign on the wall, though, said the lifeguard was “Bobby.”)

The lifeguard did turn off the music after I asked him to turn it down.

People go swimming to relax–not to be blasted by music from a 20 year old.  Please instruct all of your lifeguards to keep the music down–way down.  Turning it off completely is an even better idea.

Meadowmont is supposed to be a health facility.  Being exposed to loud music is very unhealthy.

Ted Rueter


This is the response I received:

Hi Mr. Rueter,

Thanks for bringing the loud music in the aquatic area to our attention.  I will address this with the guard staff.  The intention is to provide “background” music for our members/guests.  This clearly is not what you experienced Sunday evening.  I will take care of it.


Matt Stout
UNC Wellness Centers
350 Stonecroft Lane
Cary, NC 27519

Dear Matt,

Thanks for your response.  I’m sure that this lifeguard thought he was providing “background” music.  The problem is that a 20 year old male’s perception of what is loud is very different from the typical Meadowmont member’s perception.

A much easier solution would be to not have music in the swimming pool area at all.  Then there would be no debate as to what is “too loud.”

If you polled your members, I would bet that “no music” would be the strong preference. Why are you imposing “background music” on swimmers when you have no evidence that it is desired?

The desire for loud music is coming from the staff, not the members.

Ted Rueter

Hi Ted,

Yes you are right about 20 year olds and their music tastes!
We provide background music in all areas of the facility.
I will make sure it stays in a reasonable range.



Matt Stout
Aquatics Director
UNC Health Care
The Wellness Center at Meadowmont
100 Sprunt Street
Chapel Hill,  NC  27517

Dear Matt,

Has the staff at Meadowmont ever asked patrons if we would like so-called “background music”?  I have been a member for almost three years; no one has ever asked my opinion.

What is the definition of “reasonable”?  I’m sure all of your 20 year-old lifeguards think their music levels are “reasonable”?

If music is blasting in the swimming pool, how could lifeguards even hear if someone needed help?

I have to ask lifeguards to turn it down practically every time I swim at Meadowmont.

Maybe I’m the only person who complains. But that doesn’t mean that many other people don’t agree with me.  Very few people who are bothered by excessive noise ever speak up.  People want quiet, not “background music.”  Please stop it.

Most members at Meadowmont are much closer to my age than to the age of the your lifeguards.  Whatever happened to listening to your customers? Whatever happened to “the customer is always right”?