Swimming Pool and Aquatics Center

Mayanka Dhingra, Staff Writer

The new swimming pool and aquatics center will expand aquatics opportunities for all branches of the community and heighten the preparation of the school’s aquatic teams’ in the upcoming year.

According to Director of Facilities Management Gordon Jensen, the aquatics center will feature a USA Swimming certified pool, offices for aquatics faculty, swim locker rooms, an all-gender locker room, and rooms for teams to convene for meetings, he said.

Also new to the center will be Director of Aquatics Thatcher Woodley, who spent 10 years at the Poly Preparatory School as the Head Swim Coach and the Chair of Physical Education, Director of Athletics, Health & Physical Education Robert Annunziata said.

In his new position, Woodley will manage facility hours and scheduling as well as oversee the building’s own staff, he said.

The new facilities will help the school’s swimming and water polo teams succeed in the upcoming season, Mckayla Widener (11) said.

“The biggest challenge with the old pool was that there was just not enough space for everyone during practice, especially during swim season,” Ben Hu (12), a member of the Varsity Water Polo and Boys Varsity Swim team, said.

“A new pool that is double the size of the old one with eight lanes, each 25 yards long, is going to be a huge game changer for the swim team,” Eva Fortunato (12) said.

For Fortunato, more room to train will allow for more leeway to work on specific strokes and events, which will in turn permit her to grow and thrive as a swimmer, she said.

Taimur Moolji (11), a member of the Varsity Water Polo and Boys Varsity Swim team, believes that the larger facility will allow the coaches to interact with athletes differently. “Our coaches will be able to critique more closely than ever before, and split us up more effectively based on speed, resulting in more productive workouts,” he said.

According to Moolji, swim meets are expected to become increasingly competitive due to the size of the new pool, which enables each team to have four swimmers competing per event instead of the two the old pool permitted, he said.

John Mauro (10) said that with the new pool, the swim team will also be able to compete against multiple schools simultaneously, as opposed to the individual meets that were held before.

The new swimming pool will also feature a much larger pool deck to accommodate more people and a bleacher area that will ideally encourage community members to support the aquatics teams, Widener said.

The depth of the new pool can be altered from zero to around six feet, allowing the Water Polo team to have both the Junior Varsity and Varsity teams practice in the “deep end” at the same time instead of rotating players as the team did before, Ryan Leung (12) said.

In the Lower Division, where aquatics are integral to the physical education curriculum, the new center will expand teaching capabilities by enabling teachers to simultaneously manage two classes and use the moveable floor to adapt to instructing different ages of students in swimming, Annunziata said.

Lifeguards will be on duty all throughout the day and possibly on the weekends for people to use the facility once the space is up and running, Jensen said.

The new facilities will allow for expanded recreational opportunities and give the physical education department license to go beyond typical curricular offerings, he said.

“We are looking to incorporate activities like kayaking, life guard training, longboard yoga, and longboard paddling into the gym offerings for the upper division,” Annunziata said.

“The goal is to make aquatics readily available to as many members of the community as possible,” Annunziata said.