W&L swimmers enjoy new pool

The new natatorium is shedding light on talent in the pool and improving team chemistry

Kathryn Young

The Washington and Lee men’s and women’s swim teams are looking to continue their ODAC championship win streak: the men have won the ODAC championship for the past three seasons, while the women have won for the past 10 seasons.

This year, the team has a brand-new facility in which to train for these championships.

“With the new pool, we hope to fill it with a team deserving of such beautiful facilities,” said Mara Tynan, ’18.

The natatorium, situated between the third-year housing Village and the Law School, features a 25-yard by 39.3-meter pool with an all-deep racing course, locker rooms, offices and great spaces for fans who wish to cheer on the Generals.

“I’m excited to train in the new natatorium and to not only get fast individually but as a team,” said Sam Logue, ’20. “My favorite part of the natatorium is the amount of lane space and how all of the lanes are at least eight feet deep.”

Tynan, on the other hand, is a fan of the large windows that surround the building.

“They let in natural light so we can watch the sunrise during 5:45 a.m. practice or enjoy the sunny afternoons during later practice,” she said. “This is such an improvement over the dark, windowless depths of Cy Twombly.”

The men’s swim team has big goals for this upcoming season and team members say having a new space to train in will help them achieve these lofty aspirations.

“The team’s greatest strength this year is most likely our depth. With a strong freshmen class and new natatorium to train in, we are ready to compete well as a team,” Logue said. “Our main team goal this year is to send as many athletes to NCAAs as possible, freshmen included.”

Bancks Holmes, ’19, said the team’s atmosphere and dedication, along with a strong first-year class, will help them this year.

“We have a lot of quick freshmen this year, so I’m excited to see how far we as a team can help them get in their first year,” Holmes said. “Our biggest goal is to promote a more cohesive team.”

Sam Childress, ’19, says the team’s seniors have proven to be great leaders, noting that they have “worked very hard already to bring the team closer together.”

The women’s team is also excited about the new facility.

“The new pool is huge,” said Cassidy Fuller, ’18. “I love having so many lanes for us to swim in.”

Tynan agrees and says the larger pool will help connect the team even more.

“I am excited about everyone being able to practice at the same time,” Tynan said. “Because our pool is so much bigger than the old one, we no longer have to split the team between two practices.”

Although there are only two female senior swimmers on the team, the large first-year and sophomore classes add depth and strength to the team.

“Our sophomores and freshmen are the two largest classes, so that will be great for our team when they are seniors,” Fuller said. “We are also all very motivated to make this year the best year we’ve had, both in the pool and outside as a team.”

Last year, the women’s team placed seventh at the NCAA Championships after sending just eight women to the event. Six of the eight team members earned All-American honors at the event.

This year, the women are looking to crush more records and send even more team members to nationals.

“Ours goals are always to swim fast and be the best team we can possibly be,” Fuller said. “I know we are looking to send more people to Nationals in the spring, both men and women.”

The men’s and women’s team will kick off their season in the new natatorium on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. when they race against University of Mary Washington and Centre College.

In the meantime, the pool will be used on Sept. 27 to host a Tread-A-Thon to raise money for the International Water Safety Foundation, which strives to raise drowning awareness and bring basic swimming and water safety skills to low-income areas.