May 7, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- A new $26 million competition pool will be included as part of the University of Wisconsin recreational sports renovations to the Southeast Recreational Facility (SERF) near the Kohl Center on the UW campus.
Construction is planned to begin in 2017, with the 50-meter pool ready for swimming meets in 2019. The pool will have seating for 1,500 spectators and will include a separate diving well with a 10-meter platform. It will link with the existing UW swimming and diving facilities at LaBahn Arena (completed in 2012), which include student-athlete locker rooms, lounge space and training areas.
The competition pool will be paid for by a mixture of resources, including $13 million in student fees ($108 per semester starting in 2016) and $13 million in gift funds from the athletic department. The overall $223 million rec sports plan was approved by UW students in March.
"This new pool will help us provide top-notch facilities for our student-athletes," said UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank. "We have always had a strong tradition of diving and swimming and I am proud that this pool will help continue that tradition for many years to come. We are thankful for the support of our students, the athletic department, and the donors who have made this possible."
Many donors have come forward to fund the pool, which enabled the project to move forward.
"Athletics has always been a good campus partner, and I'm pleased we are going to be able to assist with the development of this pool," UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez says. "We have good fundraising momentum, but we still have work to do."
The new pool will replace the Badgers' competition venue at the Natatorium, a 25-yard, eight-lane pool built in 1961. It will provide recreational and intercollegiate opportunities for the university and will host the WIAA state high school swimming and diving championships.
Two current UW champion athletes were enthusiastic about the project.
Drew teDuits, Junior IM/Backstroke, Fitchburg, Wis.
“I’m really excited about the announcement of the new pool because, even though we won’t be around to utilize it, it will hopefully attract a ton of positive attention for the program. It will showcase the great facilities we have here at Wisconsin and also allow those who are current student-athletes to continue the tradition of UW swimming. It’s great to see growth in such a positive direction for the team and I couldn’t be more excited for our coaches and all the future Badgers.”
Ivy Martin, Junior, Sprint Free, Madison, Wis.
"The swim and dive team is very grateful for the plan to build a new facility! To have the opportunity to train in a high-quality aquatic center and being able to host bigger meets will be extremely beneficial for our program. It will also put us on par with other teams in the NCAA that have great facilities. So we are all super excited for the future of this program."
John Horn, director of the UW Division of Recreational Sports said, "The addition of a competition pool was something envisioned by UW students from the conception of this plan, and recreational and athletic users alike should feel very fortunate that the funding from students, athletics and donors has come together to provide UW-Madison with a first-class collegiate pool. This amenity addition only contributes to the state-of-the-art recreational master plan that is set to begin in the near future."
The impact of a new training and competition pool can only enhance Wisconsin's recent achievements.
teDuits and Martin have both achieved tremendous success in the pool. teDuits became Wisconsin's third individual NCAA champion in 2013, the Badgers' first since 1959, by winning the 200-yard backstroke at the NCAA meet.
A three-time Big Ten champion, Martin became just the second woman in Big Ten history to go under the 22-second barrier in the 50-yard freestyle event, doing so at the 2013 Big Ten Championships. Martin went on to earn All-America status three times last season by finishing fourth in the 50 freestyle (21.79), sixth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:27.97) and eighth in the 400 freestyle relay (3:14.90) at the 2014 NCAA Championships.
Wisconsin's men finished seventh at the 2014 Big Ten Championships and 33rd at NCAA meet; the Badgers women were sixth at the Big Ten championships and 13th at NCAAs.
To contribute to the SERF Pool campaign, please contact the UW Development Office at email@example.com or call 608.262.1000.