In 2022, the McAuley Aquatic Center will once again host a national swimming and diving championship event. From March 16-19, the Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be held at McAuley, and the Men’s championships will be held from March 23–26.
The NCAA recently announced the future host sites for all of its championships from 2019 to 2022, and for swimming and diving, Tech is the one of only two schools to host both the men’s and women’s championships in the same year for the next five years. The other school is the University of Texas at Austin, which was ranked as having the second best collegiate competition swimming pool by college admissions preparation site College Ranker. McAuley Aquatic Center ranked first in the same list.
Tech most recently hosted the swimming and diving championships last year, and the first time they hosted the championships was in 2006. The most reasons stint was in response to the NCAA deciding to move championships from the state of North Carolina, a boycott it recently lifted.
Other championships Tech has hosted include the Conference USA Championships in 2014, 2016, and 2017. Other events include the 2005 Men’s and Women’s Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, the 2005 NCAA Zone Diving Championships, the Nations Bank Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, the IXth Diving World Cup and the IXth Water Polo World Cup. Of course, the most famous competitions McAuley has hosted came with the 1996 Olympic swimming and diving events as well as numerous USA Olympic trials since then.
The Aquatic Center was constructed next to the Student Athletic Center fields in preparation for those Olympic Games. Construction on the $21 million facility began in July 1994 and finished in time to host the VIIth Synchronized Swimming World Cup as its inaugural event. The Olympic Games, contrary to popular belief, was the second competition held at the new Aquatic Center. Originally an outdoor stadium, renovations began in 2001 to reduce the crowd capacity to 1,900 and completely enclose the stadium. During those same renovations, the current fourth and fifth floors of the Campus Recreation Center were also built. These suspended concrete structures are completely supported by the roof of the CRC, courtesy of ramblinwreck.com.
In 2016, the Aquatic Center was renamed the McAuley Aquatic Center in honor of Herb McAuley (EE ’47). McAuley not only swam for Tech during his time as a student, but also coached swimmers at tech for 40 years. McAuley truly loved swimming, and he continued to swim competitively in his 90s.
What might be equally impressive about McAuley is that its facilities also play host to thousands of students, alumni and faculty looking to get in a quick swim before work or perhaps enjoying its waterslide. Tech may have to wait until 2022 to once again welcome the top teams from its conference, but there is no doubt that McAuley will be plenty busy between now and then.