NOVA of Virginia Aquatics is a USA Swimming Gold-Medal Club that had previously run out of two 10-lane, 25-yard pools. NOVA has never had their own long course water to train in on-campus, which was one of head coach Norm Wright‘s biggest goals for the Richmond-area team.
Now, NOVA is proud to announce the completion of their new $13 million facility, the NOVA Aquatic Center – Regency. The facility will feature an 8-lane, 50-meter pool that also runs as a short course yards pool in the opposite direction. Also included in the new facility will be two 3-lane, 25-yard pools that will primarily be used for NOVA’s swim lessons program.
Interestingly enough, the new NOVA facility was built out of a closed Macy’s department store in the Regency Mall. NOVA of Virginia Aquatics partnered with the Regency Mall and Henrico County to design an aquatics center that would support not only NOVA Aquatics, but the Richmond community as a whole.
In addition to NOVA practices, the Regency facility will also host practices for 9 local Virginia high school programs that had previously faced inconsistent practice times. From a non-swimming perspective, Henrico County and the Regency Mall envision consumerism being drawn to the area when large events are hosted.
For NOVA, the primary objective was to offer more opportunities to their members, including more lane space, more athletes to accommodate, and easier access to the Richmond area. With the addition of the Regency location, NOVA will now have 46 usable lanes for training purposes, 26 more than they previously had with the Gayton location.
In addition to 26 additional lanes, NOVA has also invested in a brand new Daktronics timing system and scoreboard. The facility will also feature the latest lane lines, starting blocks, and backstroke flags. The pool was purposely planned to have no current, which is why the gutter system was designed to absorb the pool’s wake.
Drew Hirth, NOVA’s Manager of Operators, had mentioned there will be a ‘Phase II’ in the renovations. In order to meet the preliminary costs and deadlines, NOVA had to wall off most of the 2nd story, which limited spectator seating. Upon opening, the facility will only have spectator seating on deck, which is encompassed with permanent deck bleachers.
‘Phase II’ entails eliminating 75% the 2nd floor walls in order to create seating on two or three sides of the venue. The upstairs seating will house 1200-1500 spectators, not including the deck capacity of 800 athletes.
The Regency location is expected to host bigger competitions once ‘Phase II’ is completed and the facility becomes fully operational. Wright envisions the facility hosting large national-level meets such as Winter Juniors, the US Open, and various TYR Pro Series meets. At the LSC/Zone level, he wants NOVA to host the Virginia Senior Championships and the Eastern Zone Championships.
NOVA heavily relied on the contributions of both current and former NOVA Aquatics members, and is extremely grateful for their support. The facility will open to its competitive team on Tuesday, September 7th.