The Arena Pro Swim Series will be held at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center (MCAC) in Charlotte, NC this weekend. Over the years, the MCAC has been known as one of those special places where fast swimming happens without a lot of glitz and glamour. The aesthetics might seem functional, but the MCAC is one of those places that can provide a great competition environment, especially during its biggest swim meet of the year!
One of the aspects that makes this stop unique is the strong fan support at the MCAC. Don’t be surprised if you get mistaken for an Olympian in the parking lot; the large fan base in Mecklenburg County will stop at nothing to get autographs, even if it means asking an up-and-coming swimmer for their autograph. (Taking off a swim cap can be misleading for the common fan.)
Mecklenburg County also does a great job taking care of the athletes outside of the water. Some of the first timers this weekend might be more excited about the athlete hospitality than they will be to swim a best time. (Rumor has it that in years past they have provided Bojangles’ breakfast sandwiches to the athletes.)
This year is special for the Arena Pro Swim Series in Charlotte as it will be the last year for the old look of the Aquatic Center. Shortly after this year’s meet, the MCAC will be shut down for major repairs and renovations.
Many people have been hard at work to make this happen for Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte.
“The City of Charlotte and its swim teams are excited to have this renovation take place”. According to Swim MAC Carolina CEO, David Marsh, “The renovation to MCAC will create a better competition atmosphere with more seating and storage, and a newly-renovated, state-of-the-art racing tank. The various clubs that rent the facility to host meets will no doubt have a better facility offering high-level competitions.”
Next year there will be a more attractive and functional Aquatic Center. Plans include renovating and expanding the lobby to provide greater curb appeal. The MCAC’s fitness area will also be expanded and renovated.
“The additional dry space would allow the many swim teams that rent lanes in the facility to greatly expand their training opportunities for their swimmers out of the water.” – Coach Marsh
There will also be additional work done to the locker room areas. New family change locker rooms will be added for the day-to-day use of the facility, as well as a full remodel of the existing men’s and women’s locker room.
The footprint of the Aquatic Center will be expanded to provide space for new bleachers. These new, elevated, bleachers will provide a great space for expanded athlete seating during competitions. For those familiar with the current MCAC layout, this area is directly opposite the existing spectator area.
The pools in the MCAC are also going to receive a much-needed facelift. Both the 50-meter competition pool and warm-up pools will be modernized. Each pool will receive completely new filtration systems as well as new pool finishes. A new ultraviolet disinfection system will be added to the filtration system for the 50-meter course to will help cut down on the amount of chloramines in the air and provide a better breathing environment for both racing and daily use.
The competition pool will receive new upgrades such as replacement of the diving boards and starting blocks, and two new stainless steel bulkheads which will offer the MCAC the flexibility to provide multiple racing courses and a full-length water pool course. The gutter system will also be replaced with a new stainless steel gutter system, and the natatorium pool deck will receive a new deck surface and new deck trench drainage system.
The inside of the natatorium will also receive many improvements including upgrades to the mechanical, electrical, and telecommunications systems.
“There is a great demand for pool space in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, although the true need is well beyond this renovation. MCAC has provided some critical space for the Charlotte swim community in the past and it is anticipated that the new MCAC will provide more training space by providing new programming opportunities for the future.” – Coach Marsh
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Swimming News is courtesy of Counsilman-Hunsaker, a SwimSwam partner.