On Tuesday, pool officials from the Flagship campus of Keiser University in West Palm Beach, FL announced their plans to raise $8 million to construct a new outdoor aquatics center.
The planned aquatics center, which will feature a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool, currently has a sponsorship from Florida Power & Light aiding their campaign. They have also received a matching $500,000 donation from Dr. Bill Kent, a chairman on the board of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and a member Keiser’s board of trustees. Keiser pool officials have also announced that their funding will be linked to the recently passed state-wide Every Child a Swimmer legislation.
The new legislation now requires parents of children entering kindergarten to answer if their child has received swim lessons. If a child has not yet received swim lessons, the school is required to provide information for local learn-to-swim programs. It has been clarified that this does not institute a mandate for swim lessons.
The passing of this legislation came after a 2020 survey revealed half of Floridians admitted they do not know how to swim. Research has suggested that children who know how to swim are more likely to succeed academically than those who do not know how to swim. Likewise, research has shown that children who have completed swim lessons have an 88% less chance of drowning during their lives.
It is still unclear how Keiser pool officials will utilize this legislation with the planned pool construction. A fundraising dinner is scheduled for April 1, 2022 to discuss further planning. “It is our dream and part of our mission to be of service … not only to our athletes, but the greater community,” Keiser pool officials said. “We plan to be another resource to help children and adults swim… Right now it’s a matter of getting started.”
The Keiser men’s and women’s teams currently practice and compete out of the Lake Lytal Aquatic Center in West Palm Beach, which also features a 50 meter by 25-yard Olympic-sized pool along with 1- and 3-meter diving boards.
In 2020, the Keiser men won their third-consecutive NAIA team title. The 2021 championship meet was canceled, but the Keiser teams had a regular season anyway, leading into an ad-hoc championship meet.
The Keiser women finished 2nd at the 2020 NAIA Championship meet, placing behind only the Savannah College of Art & Design.