WESTMINSTER COLLEGE, PA- The first and only time I was at the Westminster pool was way back my freshman year. My fresh-start leader led us, sweaty and exhausted, to the Field House for a tour. They briefly introduced us to the pool, also known as the natatorium, and we moved on.
I quickly forgot where it was, only remembering that it was somewhere in that building. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was on the first floor, right next to the lobby. Broadcasting Major Katarina Braun was there waiting for me, as she was kind enough to offer me a small tour. Now that I am a seasoned student, I’m sure to keep the pool’s location in my memory bank this time around!
We stepped into the small hallway connected to the pool. Framed certificates commemorating different swimming and diving achievements crowded the walls. They even spread up the stairs leading to the pool viewing deck. The funny thing about it was the recurring name of “Sean P. Coughlin”. He must have been quite the swimmer! We tried the door handle to the deck to get a bird’s eye view of the natatorium, but it was locked, to our disappointment. I’m assuming it is only opened during events, when spectators need the extra room.
Kat pointed out the sign labeled “Natatorium”, and we stepped into the WC pool area. Further research on the school’s website revealed that it had been here since 1975.This year marks its forty-third anniversary. A hint of chlorine was in the air, not nearly as strong as I had vaguely remembered it. The floor was, as most pools are, very wet. There’s a reason why they tell you not to run around the pool!
The first half of the pool was still, while the other half was churning from the powerful strokes of a swimmer. We slowly made our way around the pool and towards his training lane, Kat naming more landmarks along the way. Since the training was the main action at the pool that day, I was hoping to record a quick clip of some swimming. The trainer, however, may have had different plans. She approached us, asked if she could help us, and we explained about the tour project we were doing for a class. She responded by saying that the pool hours were closed, but that that was fine as long as we were just taking pictures. I really didn’t want to push our luck by asking for video, and I certainly wasn’t going to record anyone without permission. The footage that I did end up with, put below this article, was me and Kat’s ill-fated journey to the viewing deck.
Kat and I explored for a while longer, then soon parted ways. But not before she referred me to the “Student Donors to the 125-Natatorium” plaque, with so many donors that each name was practically microscopic. While it was tough to read, and get a clear picture of some of the names, I’m glad that it had a substantial amount of donors!
Overall, I’m glad that I chose the WC pool as a place to explore. I got a bit of an insider’s view on the equipment, and on the divers and swimmers’ training processes. Even if some of the trainers behind it are a bit intimidating! And it definitely will be a tour to remember, and to ensure I never forget where our school’s pool is again!