The University of Louisville will host the first Conference Championship swim meet in the history of the American Athletic Conference, which is basically the renaming of what’s left of the old Big East (as compared to the new Big East), plus some new members (catch up on the full story here).
When discussions were being had on the logistics of the new conference, the University of Houston had anticipated hosting duties for the first year, but with so many moving pieces, plans were bound to change.
This conference, though it doesn’t have many swimming powerhouses, has a surprising number of impressive facilities. That includes Louisville’s Ralph R. Wright Natatorium, which is less than 10 years old, seats about 500 spectators in addition to athletes, and has a full complement of diving apparatus.
Among the programs with top-flight facilities in this conference include Rutgers (50 meters, 1,200 seats, 600 of which are armchair); Houston (50 meters plus diving well, 1,000 seating capacity); SMU’s Perkins Natatorium (certainly not as technological as the new pools, but holds incredible history); and UConn’s Wolff-Zackin Natatorium (50 meters, recently renovated); Cincinnati (50 meters, built in 2006).
That means that despite Louisville leaving the AAC after one season for the ACC (that’s going to get confusing), making this its one-and-only hosting of this meet, the conference won’t be left with a dearth of hosting potential going forward.
The Wright Natatorium was designed by the Circle Design Group: the same group that designed the natatoriums at Indiana, Princeton, and Iowa.
Will additional spectator seating be added for the Championship meet? I believe there are 6 teams in the AAC – that gives each team 83 seats for parents and fans. Having seen the Louisville Natatorium as well as the one in Houston, the AAC awarded the meet to the wrong university.