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First in the Pool! Swimmers & Divers Help Open New Pool at Century Middle School

May 12, 2022

Swimmers diving into pool

Swimmers and divers from the Lakeville North and South Swim & Dive teams were the first in the new pool at Century Middle School. An opening dedication event was held for the Lakeville Area Schools Blanchard Aquatic Center on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.

The event opened with a dedication ceremony by the Board of Education and donors, Jay & Sue Blanchard, who are Lakeville Area Schools alumni with ties to the swimming program. An open house was held for the public, allowing them to tour the facility.

Then the boys and girls swimmers and divers walked out onto the pool deck and jumped into the water as one unified group. The high school athletes held a swim and dive exhibition to show off what a competition event looks like in the new facility. After the first race, the announcer exclaimed a new (and first) pool record had just been set. The students and families in the stands cheered loudly as the text "New Pool Record!" appeared on the large video board.

The students had an absolute blast swimming races, performing dives, using the high dive and seeing themselves on camera up on the video board.

About the Pool

The Lakeville Area Schools Blanchard Aquatic Center is a destination for education, competition and community. It features an eight-lane 25 yard lap pool. There is a separate diving well with two 1 meter and one 3 meter springboards. The timing systems and pads are the same as what is used in the Olympics. A 32 foot by 9 foot video board from Mitsubishi can play video clips, display race results, and display clear video feeds from cameras mounted around the pool area.

The facility's front lobby has a concession stand for events. The lower level has a multipurpose room that can be used as a classroom. The locker rooms feature motion activated showers. The spectator area above the pool can accommodate more than 500 people in the seats and standing area.

The Lakeville Area Schools Blanchard Aquatic Center fulfills a need to provide equitable education opportunities for our middle school students. Century Middle School students now have the opportunity to have a swimming unit in their physical education classes where they will learn life-saving water safety skills.

The community will have the chance to jump in the water for open swims, adult lap swims, water fitness classes and other events hosted by Lakeville Area Community Education.

As the opening event proved, the facility will be perfect for competition. The many features and amenities of the pool rivals some of the best high school-level pools in the state of Minnesota. There is more room for spectators at events than our current competition pool. Speakers inside the starting blocks will make it easier for swimmers to hear officials at the start of races. The capabilities of what can be shown on the video board opens up many ways to have professional productions during swim meets. Divers will be able to re-watch their practice dives on the cameras to evaluate and improve their performances.

In addition to the high school level, the addition of a 3-meter diving board opens up the opportunity to host college and professional level competitions. 

We expect this facility to draw crowds not only to this pool, but to our greater school district communities to experience everything we have to offer.

School Board and Jay and Sue Blanchard at Pool

Swimmers racing in pool. Audience in the background.

swimmer doing the backstroke in a race

girl diving into pool