Although not home to a varsity swimming and diving program, the closing of one of Central Michigan University’s (CMU) pools will still impact the student body, as well as the surrounding Mt. Pleasant, Michigan community.
CMU has announced the closure of its Rose Natatorium, effective June 2016, due to potential pool renovation costs in the ballpark of $4.6 million, and a committee of students, staff and faculty decided earlier this fall that the potential benefits were not worth the expenditure.
CMU has a lively club sports environment, which includes both men’s and women’s water polo, as well as club swimming and diving. Athletes in these sports practice at the Rose Pool, with the site also hosting the Special Olympics Summer Games, physical education classes, instructional swim programs and lifeguard lessons.
However, there are limitations to the facility. The pool is only four feet deep on the sides and eight feet deep in the middle, which renders competitive swim starts unsafe, as well as not being deep enough for water polo players to remain off the bottom of the pool.
CMU’s Aquatics and Safety Assistant Director Darin Masselink says, of the displaced teams, that the water polo team will have the toughest time finding a replacement home. The 2nd aquatics facility on CMU’s campus, the SAC Aquatic Center is also very shallow.
“For water polo, the (Student Activity Center) pool is four feet deep,” Masselink said. “We’ve talked to them already that they will need to find another pool such as Alma or something like that to rent out to continue their practices.”
As such, the water polo club’s fate is TBD. Says, student and water polo club athlete Zach Saganski, “I really hope they reconsider upgrading the Rose Pool and keeping it,” he said. “Being a (Mid-American Conference) school and not having a pool to host swim team or water polo events is laughable.”
Says another student, club swimmer Tyler Grady, “It’s disappointing to see money going into all these other programs but not money being put into the pool. If we upgraded the facilities we could have a possibility of having a competitive varsity swim team.”