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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Univ pool will reopen Monday for recreation and sport

Published: January 20, 2012
Section: Front Page

The Linsey Pool, which has been closed since 2008, is scheduled to re-open Monday, after approximately eight months of construction.
According to head swimming and diving Coach Mike Kotch, the original pool was built in the late 1960s and the heating and filtration system was failing to the point that it was no longer operable. Subsequently, student surveys showed that re-opening the pool was a top priority and leading members of the Brandeis community actively lobbied for the re-opening. Last April, the Brandeis board of trustees voted to renovate the Linsey Pool, which cost approximately $3.5 million to repair.
Re-opening the pool was one of President Lawrence’s first projects when he arrived on campus last year. The project snowballed momentum very quickly, which allowed construction to begin shortly after the board voted in favor of the renovation, according to Kotch.
The vacant space forced Brandeis’ swimming and diving team to become a club team, downshifting its focus, commitment and competition from the varsity to the club level. The team had been forced to hold night practices at Regis College in Weston and early morning practice at nearby Bentley, which impacts the team’s time commitment to the sport.
Coach Kotch says his team has not allowed these challenges, however, to hinder their determination and motivation to succeed. “At the end of the day, these kids have found a true passion. The general nature of students having to put in a little bit of extra time has made them even more passionate about the sport and of the success of their team,” he said.
In the fall of 2012, Brandeis’ swimming and diving team will renew its membership to the varsity program. A number of students who participated in the varsity program as first-years have continued to swim for the club team and will join the varsity program next fall as a new chapter in the program begins.
Coach Kotch says that students on the team have been the recruiters themselves for the past couple of years and that their leadership has allowed a high level of commitment and energy. Since last spring, however, Kotch has been on the road recruiting for next fall and says that the Linsey Pool re-opening will only have positive benefits on prospective student athletes.
“Any time you have the opportunity to renovate, it helps you recruit,” Kotch said. “But the main attraction will still be the high caliber of the academics and the ability to compete in the UAA [University Athletic Association].” Kotch says the combination of the two opportunities have always been present, but now the school is able to continue its 35-year tradition of successful swimming.
The new pool, which includes a modernized locker-room facility, new lighting, an updated heating and filtration system, and updated multipurpose rooms, will become Brandeis’ newest functioning space. In addition to the repairs to the pool and its facility, the building also boasts a new pool deck and updates to the main lobby that will encourage the Brandeis community to cheer on the swimming and diving team.
“When you look at it from the outside, Brandeis has had a vacant, broken-down building and now it is a functional space that will rally school spirit and encourage the community to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” Kotch said. “It’s nothing but a positive addition to the school. Students, faculty and staff can all benefit from this new space.”
This Saturday night from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Student Events, in collaboration with the Student Union, WBRS 100.1FM, Athletics and Student Activities, will sponsor “Making Waves,” the pool’s grand re-opening ceremony. Students will cheer on the swimming and diving team seniors, as they compete to raise money for their respective clubs. Afterward, members of the Brandeis community are invited to take a dip in the new pool in order to celebrate the new milestone in Brandeis history.