Come On In: The Water’s Amazing at Vanderbilt and Denison

Few things are more quintessentially summertime than taking a break from classes for a dip in the pool. Universities like Vanderbilt and Denison offer many beautiful recreational opportunities for their students and faculty to enjoy, and among the most noteworthy are their aquatic amenities.

Vanderbilt’s aquatics facility includes a 25-yard pool, with 15 swimming lanes. The pool is approximately 512,000 gallons, and ranges from 3.5 to 10 feet deep. The indoor pool is maintained at 81 degrees all year long, making it possible for students, faculty, and community members to enjoy swimming, even in the coldest months.

Denison finished construction on their new pool facilities in 2012, and all have been very pleased with the results. The $20 million facility includes an updated time-keeping and scoring system, two video boards, a state-of-the art sound system, and areas specifically designed for administration and media coverage.

In addition to 25 swimming lanes, Denison’s Trumbull Aquatic Center also offers a whirlpool spa and a large diving well. Chris Crume, the Director of Aquatics for Denison University, notes one of the most unique features of Trumbull is the movable floor. Denison’s 50×25 yard pool has a moveable floor which can be adjusted anywhere from 0 to 7 feet deep.

Therefore, when the swimming lanes are not being used to host classes, lessons, or practice for their highly competitive swimming teams, the floor can be raised to facilitate dances or ceremonies. Trumbull can seat more than 750 people, which makes it an ideal venue to host competitions, such as the North Coast Athletic Conference Championships or the NCAA Division III Diving Regional.

Women’s Only Swimming

Vanderbilt strives to listen to the needs of their students, and is happy to make adjustments based on the needs and desires of their students. One suggestion that has been implemented involves monthly opportunities for female students to enjoy the peace and comfort of female-only swim time.

During the school year, on the first Sunday of every month, female students can swim in the evening with their female peers, a change initiated after the requests of many students. Kenny Moore, Director of Daily Operations, Strategic Planning, and Student Management for Vanderbilt’s recreation department, notes that the change has been well-received.

The decision to include an all-women’s swim time started in 2017, and though the frequency of these female-only swims has changed over the years, the students seem appreciative of the opportunity.

There are many reasons why women may prefer to swim only with their same gender. Orthodox Jewish and Muslim women, for example, in honoring their faith, may not feel comfortable sharing a co-ed pool. Others may simply prefer a setting where they feel more comfortable and can express their modesty. Adaptations such as this may seem small in practice, but can be monumental in principle and respect.

Lessons and Community Involvement

At Denison, Trumbull Aquatics Center is for more than just students and staff–they want their facility to be open to the greater community as a whole. Some of the features they offer to the rest of the community include unstructured lap swimming, group swimming lessons, exercise programs, and even certification courses.

Denison offers community members as young as fifteen years old to become certified lifeguards by teaching them lifeguarding, first aid, CPR, and how to prevent disease transmission.

Much like Denison, Vanderbilt also offers swimming lessons to the younger kids in the community, as well as classes, personal training, and relaxation. The exercise classes offer a great alternative in exercise for those who live with joint pain or bone fragility, such as those recovering from surgery or older adults in general.

Vanderbilt’s aqua group exercise classes are an excellent cardio option that helps circulate blood, without putting unnecessary strain on the heart, which can prevent overheating.

Importance of Aquatics Facilities

As mentioned, swimming and water aerobics are low-impact forms of recreation that can be beneficial to people from childhood through geriatrics. Swimming builds muscle strength, improves cardiovascular performance, and helps maintain a healthy body weight. Additionally, according to National Health Services, swimming training may improve students’ abilities to concentrate and improve exam performances.

Private universities all work toward offering students the opportunities to have a well-rounded college experience. Aquatics facilities give students a place to relax, socialize, and exercise between classes; this downtime is not just good for their bodies, but also their brains. When universities have the types of aquatic facilities that offer both relaxation and safety, the experience can buoy students’ self-esteem and abilities.

About the Author
Cassidy Clevenger is a Samford University alum. After earning her BA in Psychology, she studied Gerontology at Georgia State, and is back at Samford finishing her MSW while working as a staff writer for PUPN Magazine.