University News

Excitement grows among water teams for new pool

By
Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Though not scheduled to be completed until January 2012, the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center is already receiving high praise from the Brown community.

“I think it will be the best indoor aquatics facility in the country,” said Felix Mercado, head coach of the men’s and women’s water polo teams.

Construction is slated to begin in June for the $46.6 million building, which will also house the Jonathan Nelson ’77 Fitness Center.

For the past three years, the swimming and diving and water polo teams have practiced in a temporary pool located behind the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center. The teams have not hosted a meet in Providence since the Smith Swim Center was demolished in 2007.

“This has been a very frustrating experience,” said swimmer Sage Erskine ’11. “Being the only team in the Ivy League without a pool has become somewhat of an embarrassment.”

“It would have been easy for the easy for the aquatic teams to become bitter about the situation,” she added. “But I think overall the teams have handled it with as much patience and poise as possible, given our disadvantage.”

Erskine and other members of the class of 2011 will not have a permanent pool at any point during their time at Brown.

The new aquatics center will include a 56-meter pool and three-meter diving board, eliminating the need for divers to practice off-campus.

“I’m grateful to have a pool on campus, but definitely excited to have one where we can host our own games on campus,” said Brittany Westerman ’13, a member of the water polo team. “It will bring more spectators.”

The swimming and diving and water polo teams will no longer have to share a locker room with the general public in the OMAC. Separate lockers will be built in the new facility for members of the swimming and diving, water polo and visiting teams and recreational users.

“Everything will be state of the art, and varsity athletes will have their own private areas,” Mercado said.

The building will also house three dance studios and over 22,000 square feet of fitness space, with 12,000 dedicated solely to varsity athletes.

Director of Athletics Michael Goldberger told The Herald last month that physical education class offerings will increase, intramural inner-tube water polo will return and pool hours for recreational users will be expanded significantly.

While praising the new center’s design, Mercado was also quick to hold off on criticizing the temporary facility.

“To be honest, I just want a pool,” he said. “Sometimes we get spoiled and our expectations get too high.”

“In this environment, we should just be happy to have a place to practice,” he added. “Our temporary pool is better than a lot of other university pools.”