The Stephen C. O'Connell Center Natatorium, home of the Gator swimming and diving program, is home to one of the fastest facilities in the country. Since its opening in January 1981, the pool has been the site of many prestigious events, including the inaugural NCAA Women's Championships in 1982; the women's SEC Championships in 1984, 1989, 1998, 2005 and 2011; and the men's SEC Championships in 1981, 1985, 1989, 1998, 2005 and 2011. In addition, the 1982 United States Swimming Short Course Nationals, the 1993 U.S.S. Junior National Championships and the 2000 and 2004 Junior Olympic Swimming Championships were held at UF.
Most recently, the O'Connell Center Natatorium had its entire pool deck revamped, while completely renovating the 1,600-square foot "Gator Wall of Champions." Before that, the area underwent a major renovation totaling approximately $850,000. A new indoor hot tub, champions picture wall, a Mondo diving surface and a dry diving board and overhead spotting rig were just a few of the new amenities added.
Did You Know?
The pool holds 847,000 gallons of water
The natatorium has room for more than 3,000 fans
In 1994, a $75,000 state-of-the-art color matrix scoreboard was installed, and was recently updated in the summer of 2010
Florida Olympians such as Ryan Lochte and Gemma Spofforth use the five-lane 50-meter outdoor pool for Olympic training
Ranks among the finest in the nation
Comprised of two one-meter boards, two three-meter boards, one five-meter platform and one 10-meter platform
Features a hot tub and underwater viewing room
Training apparatus includes a trampoline set-up with an overhead spotting rig and a one-meter board over a port-a-pit
The pool is considered one of the fastest in the world because the water remains so calm during competition. The pool bottom slopes rapidly from five feet to 18 feet, greatly reducing the rebound of waves from the bottom. The extensive gutter system also absorbs water slapping against the sides to help eliminate waves.
The 847,000-gallon pool can be used as two 25-yard courses with a warm-up area in the middle; two 25-meter courses; or at its full 50-meter long course use. Seating is good for 1,200 spectators, but as many as 3,000 have filled the confines of the O'Connell Center to watch Florida battle some of the nation's finest competition.
A $75,000 12' x 13' state-of-the-art full color matrix scoreboard was installed in the spring of 1994. The scoreboard is complete with graphics, video, timing and scoring information that keeps fans posted on all of the swimming and diving action.
The O'Connell Center, which houses the natatorium, had its Teflon roof replaced with a hard, permanent surface that was completed in August 1998.
Outdoor Training Facility
The five-lane, 50-meter pool is used for daily training in conjunction with the indoor facility. It is also used for warm-up purposes while competition is taking place inside. The outdoor pool sits adjacent to the indoor facility and offers easy access between the two through a revolving door on the ground level of the O'Connell Center. The warm-up and training pool is well lit for swimming at night and allows Gator swimmers to enjoy Florida's mild temperatures while training. Two hot tubs with hydrotherapy jets, a variety of pull-up bars, dip bars and VASA training equipment are also located on the outdoor pool deck.