A Look At Some of the New Competition Pools Around the Country
Collegiate and high school swimming has exploded since the pandemic, with the fastest swimming in history happening year over year. A factor in all of the new records set may be new, fast, modern pools. Over the past few months, dozens of new competition pools have opened around the country. A few of these new facilities stand out for their reputation for enabling fast swims, due to the utilization of new technology. They also feature ample spectator space.
The first pool of note is the recently opened Hampton Aquaplex, in Hampton, VA. The Aquaplex facility features an eight-lane, 50-meter pool, as well as an additional eight-lane, 25-yard pool. The pool is deep, with bulkheads and standard competition blocks.
Located in downtown, the convenient location makes it an attractive spot that allows swimmers and their families to enjoy not only the modern pool but also the attractions of Hampton, a water-front city that was one of the first settlements in the United States. The Aquaplex was first opened for competition in January 2023. Since then, it has hosted the ISCA National Club Championships, VHSL 6A and 5A state championships, as well as the Colonial Athletic Association Championships.
The Aquaplex is not the only new facility in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In January 2023, the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) opened a new, 50-meter competition pool that the school reports cost $44 million and has seating for 570 spectators. The Goodall Pool is a massive upgrade from the original six-lane, 25-yard pool the VMI swim team had been using for decades. The pool will also be used for diving and water polo competitions. The only meet it has hosted so far is Virginia Military Institute vs. Washington & Lee, but no doubt it will be used for countless club, high school, and collegiate meets in the future.
Florida Aquatics Swimming & Training (FAST) is one of the largest and nicest facilities in America. It includes two 50-meter pools, one indoor and one outdoor, as well as a 25-meter pool connected to the outdoor pool. Opened in the summer of 2022, it has already hosted the legendary Florida vs Florida State meet in January 2023 and is scheduled to host Futures this August. With the sheer amount of space this facility offers, it is no doubt a great venue for hosting large, high-level competitions.
The Clovis West High School Pool in Fresno has been around for decades and has hosted countless major competitions. After being closed for an entire year for renovations, the facility reopened this April. Some major upgrades include new concrete, new lane lines, a new timing system, new pool lights, new diving boards, new fencing and the most prominent renovation is a brand new shade canopy above the bleachers. Shortly after its opening, the Clovis pool hosted the CIF State Championships in May. As proof that this is a fast pool, multiple national high school records fell at that meet. No doubt, the massive renovation on this Clovis pool will allow it to continue to host Zones, Sectional and Pro Series meets in the future.
Another new pool of note is the Klein Aquatic Center built at Charlotte Country Day that opened in the summer of 2022. The 30,000-square-foot Klein Aquatic Center includes two 25-yard pools, as well as plenty of bleacher space. The first competitions hosted here were in the fall of 2022. It has hosted a private-school conference championship meet, and will host more important meets in the future.
No doubt, more pools will be built in the coming years, specifically as many collegiate pools are becoming out of date.