July 14, 2004
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. –
All good things must come to an end. For the Florida State University athletics department the end came in the form of the closing of the Bim Stults Aquatics Center in the fall of 2003, but the horizon looks promising with plans for a new facility taking shape.
Formerly the outdoor home of the Seminole swimming and diving program, the Stults facility was closed because an aging filtration system in the pool was beyond repair. The Tribe currently trains on campus in the Bobby E. Leach Center with long course training and platform diving in various pools throughout the area.
But the days of using a potpourri of training facilities will soon be a distant memory for Florida State. In conjunction with Seminole Boosters, the athletics department is currently in the process of raising additional money to begin construction for the new aquatics center which might be built in two phases.
“Currently a definite site has not been identified for the new facility,” FSU athletic director Dave Hart said. “The current site of the Stults pool will probably serve as the site of a new classroom building so other potential sites are being considered and feasibility studies are ongoing.
The design for the new aquatics center is a part of the athletics departments master facility plan. Preliminary sketches feature a 50-meter long course setup and a 25-yard competition configuration in the main area and separate diving well. The unnamed facility will also have locker rooms for both the men’s and women’s teams, as well as offices for the coaching staff along with seating for spectators.
“After meeting with President Wetherell and Mr. Hart, I’m excited about the commitment that Florida State has to the swimming and diving program and its future,” FSU head coach Neil Harper said. “Many of the elite teams in the country have made huge strides after moving into new facilities and this could be the final piece of the puzzle that elevates us to that level. We’ve improved tremendously over the last few years, but the new facility will put us on an even playing field with the top programs when it comes to recruiting and competing.”
The Seminoles are coming off one of their best seasons in the water. The women’s program posted its best finish ever at the NCAA Championships, taking 17th with a pair of All-Americans. Harper was named ACC Women’s Coach of the Year and Emma Dutton took home Swimmer of the Year honors. The men’s team won three ACC titles on its way to a second-place showing at the conference meet.