NOVA of Virginia Adding 1,000 Seats to Facility In Hopes of $20 Million Economic Boost

by Riley Overend 2

June 14th, 2024 Club, Industry, News

One of the top swim clubs in the country, NOVA of Virginia Aquatics, is expanding to add a mezzanine with 1,000 seats in an effort to bring more meets to the Regency Square Mall facility.

NOVA of Virginia Aquatics CEO Leigh Peterson said attendance at swim events inside the converted Macy’s department store will double to about 60,000 annually, resulting in an estimated economic boost from $2.8 million to $20 million per year. The second phase of improvement is a five-year project that also includes a weight room and kitchen.

Henrico County will contribute $2.5 million with NOVA of Virginia Aquatics funding $1 million of construction, which is set to begin in January of 2025 and conclude by next fall. The NOVA Aquatics Center first opened in 2021 as part of a push to reinvigorate Regency Square Mall after years of declining traffic. The old Macy’s upstairs sales floor was removed to raise the ceiling while the main floor was excavated to create space for an eight-lane, 50-meter pool and two three-lane, 25-yard pools.

NOVA of Virginia Aquatics earned gold medal status last season as the No. 11-ranked program in the nation. The club boasts three qualifiers at the U.S. Olympic Trials that begin on Saturday: 19-year-old Crash Ackerly, 18-year-old Harry Belcher, and 16-year-old Nathan Szobota, one of the fastest distance freestylers for his age.

“When I was little, I used to go to the Collegiate pool and watch some of the real big meets,” Ackerly told WTVR. “Watching the big swimmers come down there and swim really fast was really inspiring for me. Having NOVA become a large venue to host these larger meets where the pros can come down and swim really fast, I think that can be really inspiring for a younger generation.”

NOVA of Virginia was a successful program even before moving into its new facility a few years ago. The club produced 2016 Rio Olympic champion Townley Haas, who swam the fastest split on the U.S. men’s 4×200 free relay at 1:44.14.

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1 month ago

Exciting news

1 month ago

They put a pool in a Macy’s?

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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