- For more information about the $21 million renovations, click here.
Courtesy: Alabama Athletics
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama Athletics and University Recreation hosted the grand reopening of the Alabama Aquatic Center and the Don Gambril Olympic Pool Thursday evening, complete with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
University of Alabama President Dr. Stuart R. Bell and Director of Athletics Greg Byrne both spoke prior to the ribbon cutting and toasted the newly renovated facility.
Former head coaches Don Gambril, the namesake of the Tide’s main competition course, and Dennis Pursley were on hand for the grand reopening, along with current head coach Coley Stickels and the 2020 Crimson Tide men’s and women’s teams.
President Dr. Stuart R. Bell Said:
“Our student-athletes can now train at an even more advanced level, and we look forward to hosting meets in our upgraded competition facilities. In addition to being the home for the UA swimming and diving team, the Alabama Aquatic Center also offers fitness opportunities for our campus community that are beneficial for everyone. These facilities also allow University Recreation to offer a variety of programs with real community benefits, such as swim lessons, lifeguard training, CPR/AED training and First Aid training.”
Director of Athletics Greg Byrne Said:
“Members of the inaugural Alabama swimming and diving team in 1959-60 talk about practicing in a pond that first year. I think it’s safe to say that through the great and productive partnership between Alabama Athletics and University Recreation, and the help of so many others along the way, we’ve come a long way from the pond. From the time it opened in 1981, the Don Gambril Olympic Pool has been considered one of the best in the country with national, U.S. Open and even world records being set here. Today, we celebrate an overall facility that has risen to meet the level of the pool it surrounds.”
Head Coach Coley Stickels Said:
“This facility gives us an incredible training environment and puts everything we need right in one place. It’s an amazing benefit for our student-athletes to have two training courses, plenty of room for dryland training, a training room and nutrition center as well as locker rooms, team lounge and our offices and meeting rooms all in one facility. It gives us an amazing home.”
The original natatorium, which opened in 1959, was converted into a 25-yard by 25-meter outdoor pool, complete with 1- and 3-meter springboards.
The Don Gambril Olympic Pool, which opened in 1980, was also completely renovated, including new bleachers and roll up doors on the east side of the facility that open out to a dryland training area. The diving area was also bolstered inside, with the Tide now having platforms from 1- to 10-meter, as well 1- and 3-meter springboards.
In between the two pools, a new team suite that houses locker rooms for both teams, a nutrition station, team meeting room and a team lounge as well as coaches’ offices and conference room were added in addition to an athletic training room just off the deck of the Don Gambril Olympic Pool.