New multimillion-dollar aquatic center opens at Virginia Military Institute

The facility contains an indoor 50-meter swimming pool, which holds 800,000 gallons of water.

LEXINGTON, Va.Virginia Military Institute’s new aquatic center is a massive project that began in December of 2020. The $44 million facility contains an indoor 50-meter swimming pool, which holds 800,000 gallons of water.

Katie Lloyd, a Cadet at VMI says she was never much of a swimmer until she went to college. During her sophomore year, she decided to join the water polo team. Since then, she has fallen in love with the sport and her teammates.

“We are always looking for more girls to play. It is hard to find girls with both the military and athletic experience,” says Lloyd.

She hopes this new aquatic center will bring more recruits to the team and more students together.

Lloyd says, “I hope it helps with core cohesion. I am big on bridging the gap between athletes and non-athletes. It is one of the things I am really striving for as a team captain.”

The pool is large enough to be divided into three different sections. One for diving, another for water polo and a third for competitive swimming that can all happen at the same time.

Deputy Daren Payne, the Director of Construction says, “This pool is capable of handling all of the ROTC requirements, all the basic swimming requirements, so the physical education classes, as well as the NCAA sports.”

Besides the main pool, the new facility includes an endless pool, a warming pool, a full-scale training and rehab room and a wet classroom.

“Someone taking scuba lessons can get out of the pool, all wet set their tanks down walk inside the classroom, get some instruction, go back outside in their wet suit and go right back into the pool,” says Payne.

Another athlete who is excited to dive into the pool is Kate Taylor. She is a sprinter on the swim team.

Taylor says, “There is nothing that can match that competitive energy that I have experienced here with VMI sports, and I think that not only in a training sense that this will really change our game in terms of the resources that we have, but I think it will change our mentality, as to know that you are competing now because you have been given this extraordinary gift.”

The new center is set to fully open in a couple of days, with Cadets being able to fully use the facility by the middle of February.

“I can’t wait until we can all jump in the pool as a team,” says Taylor

Deputy Daren Payne says VMI is one of the only schools in Virginia that requires every one of its students to take a semester-long swimming class. So, every cadet that attends VMI will spend time learning in this new facility.

About the Author:

Brittany Wier joined the 10 News team as the morning reporter in August 2021.