Swasey Indoor pool receives a "green" facelift

By Alexandra Churchill
On September 21, 2009

On a quiet weekday morning, there is only Renée and the Swasey Indoor Pool.

"It feels good to be back swimming here," UNH junior Renée Gauthier said as she stepped out of the pool, wrapping herself in a towel and shivering slightly. "The pool looks a lot nicer too."

The new and improved Swasey Indoor Pool officially reopened Wednesday, Sept. 16.

"We haven't done any large scale renovations since its construction," said Cheryl Currier, aquatic coordinator with Campus Recreation.

The pool, located in the Field House, was dedicated in 1969 in honor of UNH's Coach Henry "Hank" C. Swasey. It wasn't until last year that renovations to the pool were deemed long overdue by Campus Recreation officials and the student body at large.

Last year, Student Senate approved a movement for $1.5 million to be granted toward renovating the pool. Renovations began July 20 and officially ended September 11.

After what has been a summer-long project, the pool has a new drain system, filters, tiling, spectator seat lighting, and a re-plastered pool floor. A redesigning of the pool's gutter systems has made the pool deeper, effectively expanding the depth range of four by 13 feet to 4.5 by 13.5 feet.

"A deeper pool makes for a faster pool by way of swimming dynamics," Currier said.

The pool renovations were, in part, a reaction to recently passed national legislation.

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which passed into legislation this past December, promotes pool safety by reducing drain suction entrapment incidents. Under law, all public pools were required to upgrade their systems in accordance with specified safety regulations.

The Swasey Indoor Pool was no different.

"Under this law, the gutter system had to be upgraded," explained Currier, "and the pool needed a second anti-entrapment system installed that blocks drain suckage."

The renovations contributed to UNH's "green" reputation. Filters have reduced their eight-hour pre-filtration cycle to a six-hour cycle. A new filter has been installed to sanitize the pool water using UV-rays, which minimizes chemicals and is more environmentally sound.

The heat exchanger, used to heat the 250,000 gallons of water in the pool every day, has been adjusted to take the steam heat given off from machines already running to heat the pool.

The pool is an eight-lane competitive lap pool ranging in depth from four to 13 feet and is equipped with one and three-meter springboards. This makes it the perfect stage for swim meets both on the university level and high school level. Spectator seating holds up to 610 people in bleachers, with an additional 232 people on deck level. They have included a handicap viewing area where previously there was none.

The pool is also the stage for various public programs hosted by the American Red Cross on water safety, lifeguard training and swimming. The pool is a public recreation site, open to UNH students, athletes, and the community.

Phyllis Heilbronner, a Durham resident and former part-time faculty member of UNH, has been a public patron of the pool for over 25 years. More than anything, the new pristine look of the pool caught her eye.

"I think it looks great," Heilbronner said.

 The bland, gray tiling of previous years has been substituted for an immaculate white and blue tiling.

"I give [Currier] credit for keeping the pool nice for everybody, and the lifeguards too," Heilbronner said. "They've done a lot to bring the pool up to new standards with a great sense of dedication."

As for next year, Campus Recreation expects to install a new HVAC unit that would have been included as a part of this year's renovations if not for shipping issues, according to Currier.

 "The time it would have taken to get here would have been outside the window of opportunity," Currier said.

Further information on the pool's schedule, passes, and aquatic programs can be found online at http://www.campusrec.unh.edu.


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