The NCAA has announced the championship sites for the 2012 National Championships. In addition to Indianapolis hosting D-3 nationals, which was released in January, Auburn (Ala.) will host the Division 1 Women’s meet, King County Aquatic Center in Seattle will host the D-1 Men’s meet. Henderson St. will host the Division 2 meet at the Mansfield Aquatics Center near Dallas.
The James E. Martin Center on the campus of Auburn University is a $10.5 million dollar facility built in 1993. In addition to the 50-meter competition pool, the facility also has a separate indoor training pool, built in 1969, which served previously as the competition pool. There is also an outdoor 50-meter pool, which could also be used for pre-meet practices and warmups, depending on how the weather is.
The facility will be one of the smaller ones to host an NCAA Championship meet in recent years, with spectator seating for only 1000. Still, Auburn has one of the fastest pools in the country (it was ranked third by Sports Illustrated in 2002), and might be a great chance for some of the super-suit records to be broken.
The Martin Aquatics Center was also host to the 2003 Women’s and 1998 Men’s NCAA Championships.
The King County Aquatics Center in Federal Way, Washington, just outside of Seattle, was built for the 1990 Goodwill Games, and is one of the most active competition facilities in the country, as the host of over 50 events annually. Although the pool is not on a University campus, and it is a Division-1 championship, the official host of the event will be Seattle University, a Division-2 school.
Due to the high volume of meets hosted there, the KCAC is one of the most financially viable aquatics centers in the world, as studies show that it pumps roughly $7.5 million into the local economy annually.
The facility, much larger than the one at Auburn, seats 2,500 people, and received a big upgrade prior to it’s hosting of the 2008 Men’s meet. This included a new LED scoreboard that had twice the resolution, but used just 1/12th the energy, in fitting in with Seattle’s “green” image. It also had a major upgrade to the sound system, which is often a big complaint in these large, older facilities, and a new paint job. The pool will also host the 2012 US Olympic Diving Trials later that year.
Henderson State, located in tiny Arkadelphia, Arkansas, is a Division-2 powerhouse in both men’s and women’s swimming. The actual meet site will not be an Arkadelphia, but 5 hours away in Mansfield, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
The Mansfield ISD Natatorium is a $12.5 million dollar facility that has a 50-meter pool with seating for 1000 spectators. And perhaps the coolest feature of this facility? It has an online virtual tour.
This bid continues the recent trend of choosing large Division-1 or independent facilities to host Division 2 and Division 3 meets, like the University of Houston (Division-3 2007), and the massive Canton, Ohio Schools CT Branin Natatorium, which hosted D-2 nationals last year.
The 2011 sites are: