“There’s a lot of lap swimmers that would love to use the pool in the evenings, but there’s no lap space because the swim team is in the pool,” McGill said. “It’ll allow us to allow those members to continue to use the facility when we’re hosting meets outside of the new facility, so it opens up the opportunity for everybody to have full advantage of the space and the needs.”
The City of Opelika, Alabama is receiving a significant upgrade to its aquatics offerings, with the city’s sportsplex planning to break ground next month on a new 8-lane 50-meter outdoor pool with covered seating for about 675 people. The project has a planned opening date of 2024.
The City of Opelika’s swim program, led by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Tyler McGill, currently trains out of an 8 lane, 25 yard indoor pool that will also receive some lighting upgrades as part of the project. That pool is located next door to the new outdoor pool.
The expansion of the aquatics facilities also will include upgrades to the outdoor 25-yard pool at the Covington Rec Center.
“It’s a very traditional, classic outdoor pool from that timeframe, so it definitely needs to be upgraded to reflect what the modern swimmer and the modern family is looking for in terms of what they want to be able to do in the water and around the water all day,” McGill said when the project was proposed.
That plan will create an “ultimate family fun” outdoor pool that includes a large water slide, water play features, a spray pad, and a pavilion for hosting parties, as well as a zero-depth entry. This pool will also have a few 25-yard lap lanes used for recreational and exercise lap swimming.
The goal for the new 50 meter pool is two-fold: opening up lane space for the general public between 4:30 and 7:30 PM, when the swim team is most active, and creating opportunities to host big meets.
With highs in the upper 50s throughout the year, swimmers in Opelika can train outdoors (in heated water) most of the time.
Opelika, located near McGill’s college home in Auburn, had a population of 30,955 in the 2020 census. That makes it the 14th-largest city in Alabama.
See more renderings of the upgrades below:council pp 5.16 (1)