Sept. 24, 2009
LOS ANGELES - The UCLA athletics department will unveil its newest athletic facility, the Spieker Aquatics Center, when its No. 2-ranked men's water polo team hosts No. 7-ranked UC Irvine on Saturday, Sept. 26. The athletics department will host a private reception prior to the 7 p.m. water polo match against UC Irvine.
The Spieker Aquatics Center brings together all three of UCLA's intercollegiate aquatic sports - water polo, swimming and diving - to one venue. The state-of-the-art facility was made possible thanks to a generous lead gift from former UCLA student-athlete Tod Spieker and his wife, Catherine. Tod was an All-America swimmer at UCLA, competing from 1968-1971, and continues to successfully compete in Master's Swimming.
"We all know that UCLA enjoys an abundance of proud moments, but this one really is special," Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said. "For only the second time since 1932, this campus is unveiling a new aquatic facility that is not only beautiful and versatile, but also provides our water polo, swimming and diving teams a new home.
"Nothing pleases our current athletes more than winning, and nothing pleases our athletic alumni more than continued success. Thanks to the generosity of all who have contributed to this project, and for the hard work of those who had a hand in the planning and execution of the Spieker Aquatics Center."
The Bruins' new aquatic center will become the home to UCLA's men's and women's water polo, swimming and diving teams. The state-of-the-art facility features a 52-meter by 25-yard all-deep water pool with a dividing bulkhead, allowing races to take place at varying distances (meters, versus yards). The pool also features four platforms on a diving tower, at heights of three, five, seven and one-half, and 10-meter platforms, as well as one and three-meter springboards. The aquatics center also features a warming pool behind the tower for divers.
The main pool, Dirks Pool, is named after Carolyn Dirks, who provided the lead gift for the swimming pool. Dirks Pool will also be used for special use events and Masters Swim meets. The signature feature of the Spieker Aquatics Center is the diving tower, which sits at the pool's west end. The east end houses the new scoreboard, an LED, state-of-the-art piece of electronics that makes scores and statistics easily visible to all in attendance.
Next to the scoreboard is the "Wall of Champions", showcasing UCLA's water polo, swimming and diving national championship teams, as well as all individual student-athletes' achievements, record-holders and Olympians.
Separate men's and women's locker rooms house enough lockers for all team members. Equipment needed for meets and matches have storage capacity on the facility's south side. The aquatics center features event lighting and permanent seating with the possibility of additional temporary seating for larger events.
When walking through the public entryway to the center, visitors first notice the Donor Wall. All donors who generously made gifts to the Spieker Aquatics Center are recognized on this wall. Additionally, over 50 former UCLA water polo players, swimmers and divers made gifts to "name" a locker. Those names will forever be part of the locker rooms in the new facility.