The University of Puget Sound poured nearly $20 million last fall into upgrading its athletic facilities.
The centerpiece of the project was building a state-of-the-art aquatics center — the eight-lane Wallace Memorial Pool — which is located right next to Memorial Fieldhouse.
“It’s just gorgeous — the whole thing,” 26-year UPS swimming director Chris Myhre said.
Indeed, it does sparkle. That is why Myhre could not wait to show it off to one of the school’s legendary coaches.
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In the past month, Myhre decided to reach out to Don Duncan, who coached at UPS for 37 seasons and established the reputation the program has today, for a tour.
“We stood near the starting end,” Myhre said. “And he looked out over the pool, and a funny expression came to his face.
“I mean, he is 87 years old, and he looked at me and said, ‘This pool is going to be fast.’ And it’s true.”
The old pool, which opened in 1957 and was located directly on the east side of Baker Stadium, had six 25-meter lanes. It held nearly 200,000 gallons of water.
The new pool has eight 25-yard lanes. They are wider, too. It holds nearly 300,000 gallons of water. Also, there are three warm-up lanes for instruction, therapy and cool-down areas after races.
On Oct. 22, the school’s Don Duncan Alumni meet will be held in the new facility. Myhre expects 30-40 former swimmers — men and women who graduated as far back as the early 1960s — to come and compete in a morning dual meet against the current UPS swimmers.
“I think they are going to be impressed,” said top all-around swimmer Cody Dodge. “It’s been a long time coming, and all the alumni will want to get in there and feel it out.”
Myhre has seen the same reaction to the new swimming pool from campus and community members alike.
“Members of the kayak club and scuba classes — their eyes get so big when they see it,” Myhre said. “Even on the first day we opened, a lady came in with no goggles but just in a swimsuit. She just wanted to get into the new pool. She swam two laps, was done in five minutes and got out.”
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