For 10 months, a small army of men wearing hardhats and orange-colored safety jerseys from CORE Construction, California Commercial Pools and various subcontractors swarmed the Hillenbrand Aquatic Center, rushing to beat deadline.
Finally, early last Friday morning, Arizona’s nationally-ranked men’s and women’s swimming teams were given clearance to jump in the water. It was 28 degrees outside. They jumped in anyway.
“We’ll have a ribbon-cutting ceremony,” says UA swimming coach Augie Busch, “but we’ll wait until Arizona State is here for our meet in February.”
From the outside, Hillenbrand Aquatic Center doesn’t look much different than it has since “McKale Pool” was built on the site in 1973. But after spending $13.2 million to restore the facility in 10 persevering months, Arizona now has a jewel matched by few in college swimming.
“I would put ours second only to Stanford now,” says Busch. “As far as outdoor swimming facilities in the country, there’s Stanford and ours, and not many, if any, to match it.”
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*Photo provided courtesy of tucson.com.