The Hoosier State is home to amazing facilities and incredible athletes
From state-of-the-art Olympic-sized pools to recreational swimming and diving facilities, Indiana is one of the best states for aquatic sports. Indiana not only has a history of hosting large scale events to back up its lofty reputation, it also has been the home of some of history’s best swimmers, divers, and water polo athletes.
Communities across the state are home to upscale aquatic facilities and the growth of the state’s swim programs call for continuous development. Notably, new pristine facilities in both Elkhart and Evansville will hold largescale events in the near future featuring a variety of amenities.
Opening in Fall of 2021, Evansville’s Deaconess Aquatic Center is a two-story center which is separated into both recreational and competitive areas. Both areas have a 50-meter pool and the competition pool and diving well allow for simultaneous swimming and diving and room for nearly 1,000 event spectators. Additionally, the space has relay touch pads, a timing system, Durafirm Maxiflex springboards, and full webcasting capabilities.
Elkhart Health & Aquatics provides community members with a comprehensive health and fitness, swimming and community center. The 1.1-million gallon, larger than Olympic-sized pool is event-ready with capabilities for more than 10 swimming lanes as well as spring diving boards, 3 and 5-meter diving platforms, adjustable bulkheads, a full-sized diving well, and seating for 1,200 spectators. In 2021, the pool was home to one site of the Central Zone Section 3 Spring Speedo Sectionals, the summer Central Zone 14 & Under Championships, and the Great Lakes Valley Conference Swimming & Diving Conference Championships.
Central Indiana’s Hamilton County features Forest Park Aquatic Center for swimming and diving. The complex consists of an outdoor heated 50-foot pool with 10 lanes as well as one and three-meter springboards and 5, 7, and 10-meter diving platforms. Recreational amenities include a waterslide, concessions and a toddler pool. In the summer of 2021, both the Indiana Swimming Age Group Long Course Championships and the USA Diving Open Championship were held at Forest Park.
The legendary Indiana University Natatorium, located on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus, can hold up to 4,700 spectators, which makes it the largest indoor pool in the United States. The competition pool is 50 meters in length and contains around 1 million gallons of water with eight racing lanes. Adjacent to the competition pool is a second 50-meter, sixlane instructional pool. The arena has been the location of 19 world records along with 101 national records. The diving well of the natatorium has a 17-foot depth with five diving platforms, four one-meter diving boards, and four threemeter boards. Both the competition pool and diving well hold underwater windows that allow for easy television coverage as well as coaching analysis. Easily, it is the most iconic aquatic sports facility in the country.
The Natatorium has been home to many elite aquatics competitions throughout its nearly 40-year history including the NCAA Division I , II, and III Swimming & Diving Championships, NCAA Division I Water Polo Championships, USA Swimming and USA Diving National Championships, FINA Championships, International Swimming League (ISL) Professional Match, USA synchronized swimming championships, Collegiate Conference Swimming & Diving Championships, and 11 Olympic Trials across different aquatic sports. Most recently, the 2021 TYR Pro Swim Series featured 300 worldclass athletes from across the country, and the top divers competed for their place on Team USA at the 2020 US Olympic Team Trials – Diving.
The State of Indiana has upheld its distinction as a swimming haven through its training programs, facilities, elite athletes, and collegiate programs. Large-scale and local swimming events throughout the state are sanctioned by Indiana Swimming, which is one of the many local swimming committees under the umbrella of USA Swimming. The committee serves approximately 12,000 athletes from 115 clubs across the state and has the mission of inspiring excellence through progressive, innovative programs and partnerships.
Additionally, the main campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University, in Bloomington and West Lafayette respectively, each have state-of-the-art 50-meter aquatics venues that attract elite athletes in swimming, diving, and water polo. Both campuses have hosted numerous collegiate and state competitions, including the Big 10 Swimming & Diving Championships. Indiana University has also hosted water polo events, such as the 2019 USA Water Polo Champions Cup.
With such great facilities across the state, it’s no wonder Indiana is home to a slew of elite athletes. These products of Indiana’s various high-quality collegiate, professional, and amateur training programs include swimmers Lilly King, Blake Pieroni, Annie Lazor, Michael Brinegar, Cody Miller, Zach Apple and divers David Boudia, Michael Hixon, Andrew Capobianco, Jessica Parratto, Steele Johnson and water polo athletes Jessica Gaudreault and Shae LaRoche.
These are just a fraction of the aquatic legends who have come out of the state’s programs. Indiana’s aquatics programs are continuing to grow along with the number of top-tier facilities across all corners of the state.
By Jill Pillow