Liberty University Building 50 Meter Pool With Full Diving Tower, Separate Diving Well

Photo Courtesy: Liberty University

Liberty University announced today that construction of a new aquatics center is underway. The eight lane, 50 meter pool will also have a separate diving well with a full tower of springboards and platforms.

The additional pool will be a huge help to the team that finished second in the 2016 CCSA Championships, and the facility will also be a welcome addition to the Virginia swimming scene.

Press release:

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A state-of-the-art natatorium — connected to the new indoor track complex currently under construction on Liberty Mountain — will elevate Liberty University’s NCAA Division I women’s swimming & diving team and Club Sports program, while also attracting students and community members of all ages.

“It will be one of the top swimming facilities on the entire East Coast,” said Lee Beaumont, Liberty’s senior vice president of Auxiliary Services. He said it will be heavily utilized by Liberty and outside organizations.

The natatorium is already under construction and is expected to be completed by July 2017, in time to host the Commonwealth Games’ long-course swim meet.

Located beneath the LU monogram at the base of the mountain, the facility will feature an eight-lane, 50-meter pool with a bulkhead and a separate 17-foot-deep diving well with a full tower that includes 1- and 3-meter springboards and 1-, 3-, 5-, 7.5- and 10-meter platforms.

Like the adjacent track, it will be equipped to host regional, state, and even national meets for high school, collegiate, YMCA and USA Swimming programs, as well as offer training opportunities for professional athletes.

“This will be a fast pool,” Beaumont said. “There are fast tracks for running, and there are fast pools for swimming. The fast pool is due to all of the physics involved,” he explained. The consistent depth (nine feet) reduces turbulence underwater while an overflow gutter system drains, rather than rebounds, waves off the pool’s edges. The state-of-the-art lane dividers spin to dissipate energy created by swimmers. With the pool and diving well separate, he said, they will each be maintained at optimum temperatures. “Divers like the water a little warmer than swimmers.”

At 75,000 square feet, the natatorium will be much larger than the current LaHaye Aquatics Center pool, which will continue to be used for recreational purposes.

The new building will feature a barreled roof and plenty of glass to allow for natural lighting. It will have a seating capacity of 1,300, with 900 permanent seats in wraparound stands located along the 25-yard portion of the pool where collegiate competitions will take place — a unique feature for a swimming venue. There will also be room for an additional 400 spectators and competitors in bleachers on deck.

“It’s going to be an impressive facility,” said Jake Shellenberger, head coach of Liberty’s NCAA Division I women’s swimming & diving program. “When you have a bowl seating configuration, it can make 900 people sound like 4,000.”

The facility will have multiple uses. Liberty’s Student Activities and Intramural Sports programs will be able to host events there, and students taking kinesiology classes in swimming will be able to walk from the pool to a “wet classroom” with drains in the floor. The pool will also be available to outside organizations, from high school to community club programs, giving youth- to masters-level swimmers a chance to train, compete, and play in the new facility. It will also be used for Learn to Swim classes and training in SCUBA diving, lifeguard skills and first responder water rescue.

At the NCAA level, Shellenberger said the natatorium will allow him to recruit more swimmers and divers with Olympic potential.

“When you have a high school athlete who has Olympic dreams, they want and need to train in the Olympic long-course 50-meter format,” he said.

Over the past seven seasons, Shellenberger has handled hundreds of inquiries from prospective men’s swimmers wondering why Liberty doesn’t offer a men’s team. This facility will allow for the addition of two new Club Sports — men’s swimming in 2017 and men’s water polo in 2018.

“I foresee men turning down scholarship offers from NCAA Division I programs to swim for the club team here,” Shellenberger said. “They’re going to have their own locker room, their own team room, they’re going to have a nicer facility than men who swim at some Division I institutions.”

The 25-yard wide pool can be divided into 20 lanes for short-course training, with an additional six lanes in the diving well, allowing teams to practice concurrently. With its proximity to the track, it will be able to host indoor triathlons as well.

The entire natatorium and indoor track complex will share a 6,554-square-foot weight room and 2,400-square-foot training room that includes a 1,000-square-foot hydro room with two plunge pools kept at 57 degrees.

There will also be a media station wired for live broadcasts of meets and a juice bar/smoothie station to provide student-athletes with protein shakes. 

Liberty University contributed this report.

20 Comments

20 comments

  1. Jeff Gustavson

    Nice pool, but I don’t think I would ever go near Jerry Falwell’s university.

    • Bob Platt

      I could not agree more!

    • avatar
      Handymom

      Let’s not forget what that institution stands for before we tread in its waters. Last i heard the NCAA stands for inclusive programs not exclusionary ones.
      Jerry Falwell can keep his pool.

  2. Myn Ho

    Nice pool

  3. Kui Choi

    I wish I had that in my back yard if I had land big enough for that.

  4. Marie Moffitt

    I am amazed that they will let their students wear swimsuits.

  5. Fu Ren

    @københavns kommune

  6. David Smith

    Nice pool but don’t want to be stepping into that unholy water.

  7. avatar
    Buck Bronson

    For those bashing the school – if you actually went there for an event you would experience some of the nicest people around. I think there is perception that if you disagree on some issues then boycotts are in order and those people on the other side hate certain groups. Not sure how common ground can be reached when people will not have civil discussions.

    You will be hard pressed to find anyone that has actually had a negative experience on-campus.

    There will be plenty of folks that will be very excited to use this state of the art facility so for those who don’t like the school for whatever reason you are the ones that are missing out.

  8. avatar
    NE_Swimmer

    What’s with the bashing of the program or University…Did I miss an article or something?

    • avatar
      Leander

      They are just demonstrating their “tolerance” by explaining how they don’t speak with Christians and that faithful Christian institutions should not be able to participate in NCAA events. If you are having trouble understanding, just ask Winston Smith. He eventually figured it out.

  9. Lelah Olender

    ‘I foresee men turning down scholarship offers from NCAA Division I programs to swim for the club team here,” Shellenberger said.’ This statement was hilarious.

Author: Cathleen Pruden

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Cathleen Pruden is a 2016 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and was a four time All-American and a three time Academic All-American for the Lyons. She grew up swimming in and has also coached in Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently she is the Assistant Coach at Bowdoin College.

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