LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) – A state-of-the-art natatorium is coming to Liberty University.
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. It 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 two springboards and five platforms.
The new building will feature a barreled roof and plenty of glass to allow for natural lighting. It will be able to seat 1,300, with 900 permanent seats in wraparound stands and room for an additional 400 spectators and competitors in bleachers on deck.
The facility will allow for the addition of two new Club Sports — men’s swimming in 2017 and men’s water polo in 2018. Liberty’s Student Activities and Intramural Sports programs will also 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, Jake Shellenberger, head coach of Liberty’s NCAA Division I women’s swimming & diving program, 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.
Lee Beaumont, Senior Vice-President of Auxiliary Services, agreed. “A lot of big schools like Stanford and Texas A & M and some others do have Olympic athletes on their roster, and that’s obviously something we aspire to in a variety of our sports, so this will give us the ability to go out and recruit athletes of that caliber,” he said.
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.