By P. Erik Meyer ’14
Next year Brophy will once again boast an on-campus swimming pool.
Construction started Dec. 6 on what used to be Loyola Field.
On Aug. 1 of this year, a new pool complex will open on the eastern half of the field.
“God willing when school starts you’ll have access and that is our hope and dream,” said vice-president Mrs. Adria Renke.
The new, currently unnamed facility will replace the existing Brophy swim complex know as Brophy East located on 29th street and Campbell Avenue.
“It has been sold,” Mrs. Renke said. “The thing that delayed us was a use permit that we had removed and we had to go through the City Council procedure to have that removed.”
The pool will feature one long pool that has the ability to be used for races as well as diving events.
“I think this is so important, first of all Pat O’Neill, coach O’Neill, has been an invaluable resource in planning it,” Mrs. Renke said. “Clearly Fr. Edward Reese and I and Mr. Ryan are not swimmers so we needed his expertise and with him came expertise. He was involved with some of the people who build some of the wonderful facilities in the East Valley so he was a fabulous resource, so shout out to him.”
Design of the pool was important because Mr. O’Neill and the administration intended to create one of the fastest pools in the Valley.
“The very first thing that we realized we had to do, the goal here is that we have to build what they call a ‘fast’ pool,’” Mrs. Renke said. “That is, deemed fast by its design, so everything we have done with its design is, that’s the goal. Every swimmer wants to swim in this pool because it’s a fast pool, especially if you’re trying to set records like Brophy does.”
Mr. O’Neill explained what makes a pool faster than others:
“It’s truly the physical design of the pool,” he said. “You don’t have waves bouncing off the bottom compared to a shallow pool, we are going to have the newest and greatest gutters so when you come in for a turn the waves roll over, really good lane lines, In a really big body of water you have less agitation during a race.”
Ms. Renke used Mr. O’Neill’s expertise to guide the design of the pool.
“So that was our guide post and we visited a couple pools in the East Valley to see what we did want and what we didn’t want and really it came down to the leadership of coach O’Neill that got us to where we are today,” Ms. Renke said. “The way it’s situated on the land, the way the grassy areas are being used, the way the bleachers are, he just knows what he wants, right down to the square inch of the room that houses the lane lines and the chemicals, all that, he knew it.”
The pool will be deep enough to support diving, something Mr. O’Neill said he is looking forward to.
There used to be a pool on campus, but it was filled in when the Great Hall and Piper buildings were constructed. Brophy then purchased the Campbell property.
A renovation to the pool facilities has been in the works for close to a decade.
“When I first got hired as swim coach, eight years ago, there were plans to upgrade the facility that is over on 28th street. The original plan of the sports campus had a pool there,” Mr. O’Neillsaid. “I’m excited that it is going to be a great, fast pool. I’m excited that it is going to be on campus so there is easy access for students and for students to come out and support the swim team. It’s going to be a beautiful facility.”
Mrs. Renke also confirmed the future construction of a second gym.
“We can’t build that fast enough,” Mrs. Renke said. “We have kids from 120 different schools so if you’re a freshman and have a late practice it’s likely you might not get home until nine o’clock, and that stinks. Besides that, let’s just look at the basketball program for a second. If coach Fuller could watch the freshman prospects in the gym next to his guys, imagine the synergy. So our coaches need that desperately.”
Currently the Robson Gym serves all students.
“Back in 1928 there was one use for the gym, basketball,” Mrs. Renke said. “Now we’ve got volleyball, all the PE classes, and Loyola Academy. Our Wresting program is enormous and they’re in three classrooms. That’s pathetic and they’re good and I love the heart of the wrestler, they don’t deserve that. So that is coming, we just need some cash.”
For now, underclassman can look forward to enjoying a state-of-the-art pool facility on campus for the remainder of their career as it appears the new gym is a few years off.
The Board of Regents and Trustees blessed the new pool on Jan. 23.