Minnesotan Club Launches Fundraiser For Olympic Trial Warmup Pool

Even though the 2016 Olympic Trials competition pool is locked down with its new home in West Fargo, North Dakota, the warmup pool is still up for grabs. According to Mike Mintenko of Myrtha, the field is “wide open” in negotiation for the 50 meter by 25 yard pool, which will also be equipped with the latest technology.

Coach David Bentz of the Great Wolf Swim Team in Minneapolis hopes to get the bid and build the “ultimate age group swimming facility” right in the Twin Cities.

According to Bentz, swimming has recently hit a huge uptick in Minnesota, and the state doesn’t quite have the facilities to support all of the age group meets that USA teams want to host. In the Twin Cities, a lot of the weight ends up falling on the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center (known recently for hosting the 2014 NCAA Women’s Swimming Championships and the Minnesota Grand Prix), but the pool can’t possibly run all of the age group, high school, college, and national meets that teams want to host there.

The proposed solution is the Minnesota Swim Center, a three pool facility with a small 8 foot by 12 foot hydroworks therapy pool; a 5 lane, 25 yard learn to swim and warmup pool; and the Olympic Trials warmup pool shipped in from Omaha. The facility would have 900 stadium seats in a balcony overlooking the competition pool and would also feature a 10,000 foot crash area for age group meets.

Although Bentz’s Great Wolf Swim Team would definitely hold their practices and meets at the new facility, it would be open for any other team in the state to rent out for practices and meets. He finds the name of the aquatic center, the Minnesota Swim Center, symbolic of the spirit of inclusion the facility will provide.

“We hope to be hosting meets three out of four weekends out of the month,” he said. “Whereas now, club teams have to call around to all the pools in the state asking ‘can we have our meet here?’, this facility would call out to teams saying ‘come host your meet here.”

The coalition of Minnesota club coaches interested in putting together the facility has already identified key sources of income for the $10 million project, but some work still needs to be done before they can lock down the Trials pool. According to Mintenko, Myrtha wants to find the warmup pool a home by June, but if the Minnesota group isn’t quite ready by then, the Minnesota Aquatics Center still can become a reality.

“If, at the end of Trials, we still don’t have all the money ready, we’ll just order a brand new out-of-the-box pool from Myrtha,” said Bentz.

To supplement the cost, the group has launched a GoFundMe page (on a crowdfunding website similar to Kickstarter), which assures that the pool could come together if “all the USA competitive swimmers in Minnesota contributed the price of one pair of new $20 goggles.”

Still, Bentz is hopeful and excited about the benefits that the aquatics center could bring to the Minnesota swimming community.

“It is a close knit community, and that’s what makes this project possible, and that’s why we’re opening it to all the other teams.” he said.

To read more about the project or to donate to the Minnesota Swim Center, visit the project’s GoFundMe page. If you’re interested in learning about other ways to donate, email Bentz at [email protected]

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James Wang

Hannah, thanks for bring some light on this project. I truly hope the pool gets funded and built. We’ve been swim parents in the Minneapolis community for over seven years. With two kids in the water, and sometimes in different clubs, attending meets are always a challenge. Four to five weekends a year are devoted to out of town venues based either on pool availability or the premise of a “fast” pool. By simply relocating one of those meets to the proposed Minnesota Swim Center would save our family $800-1000 in travel and lodging expenses. That’s a huge savings for any swim family, enough to buy a few MP tech suits.;) I would encourage every family in the Minnesota swimming… Read more »

Jon Breiner

Why buy a used pool? These used pools have historically come with a price tag that does not offer any real discount. There are several pool construction systems that offer a more durable and robust structure than the used, bolt-together pool referenced. The pool referenced is constructed using tens of thousands of fasteners and utilizes a sealant on hundreds of feet of seams in order to remain water tight. A more robust, all welded pool structure will serve the community and will have a longer life span. These systems are manufactured in the USA, while the used pool is manufactured in Italy. Of course, if it’s just about having a pool that was utilized as the warm-up pool at the… Read more »

Aasa Schmit

Thank you for bringing attention to this important project, I am already donating to this project and I hope others do too. We desperately need this pool in our area.

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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