Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pool should benefit area swimming

Last winter, if you follow area high school swimming, you may recall my story on the lack of competition pools in the area and some of the borderline painful experiences swimmers have to go through.

There are those who use a business amenities pool or even over the years a hotel pool just to practice. There are those who take the bus every day downtown to Cleveland State. There are those who can't count on significant fan support at their meets because it would violate fire codes at their facility.

Thankfully, another solution is on the horizon to help with these issues.

Friday night, I covered the NDCL-Benedictine football game at Spire Institute (aka GaREAT) in Geneva and ran into Chris Mullan, a facility manager at Spire who I know from his many years coaching high school soccer at Lake Catholic and Madison.

At halftime, he was kind enough to give me a sneak peek of Spire's newest addition, a 10-lane Olympic-size pool that will be opening soon, and I have to say I was impressed. Check out the picture here, and you'll see what I mean.

There's more than adequate space on deck, overhead spectator seating, it's not stifling humidity-wise (which, if we're honest, is an issue at some pools), and I'm told the pool is one of the fastest of its kind in the country.

It's not quite ready yet, but when it is it's a huge step forward for the area high school swimming community, a high-quality option at which to stage meets and practices.

I'll also make a bold prediction. Like everyone else in the Ohio high school swimming community, I believe there's just something about going to Branin Natatorium in Canton every year for state - it's a hallowed venue. The atmosphere there is something you can't replicate, and of course for my coverage purposes having the University boys and Hawken girls leading a fast area contingent helps, too.

That said, after seeing this pool - and folks, I hope this doesn't come across as a cheap plug; I was simply legitimately impressed by what I saw - it would not be a surprise at all to see the state high school swimming meet at this facility one day.

Granted, the geographic location is not centric for a state high school competition.

But take it from me after Friday's sneak peek - if the OHSAA ever considers moving from Branin and wants the best available option in Ohio, this is it.

- Chris Lillstrung


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home