[ Women's Record Board ]
[ Men's Record Board ]
[ Map of the area ]
Built in 1977 at a cost of $4 million, Blodgett Pool is used for men's and women's swim team practice, intercollegiate swimming competition, intramural and leisure swimming, and organized instruction. It is located next to Briggs Cage at the northeast corner of the Soldiers' Field complex, at the corner of North Harvard Street and Soldiers' Field Road. It was designed by The Architects Collaborative Inc. of Cambridge and constructed by the Turner Company and the Whitten Corporation. The pool is named for John W. Blodgett, Jr. '32, who donated the money necessary for the initial planning and construction. Previously, Mr. Blodgett donated Blodgett Court (the addition to the Pusey Library) and a large Spanish Civil War book collection to the Harvard Library System.
The natatorium was officially dedicated on February 4, 1978. The opening ceremony included addresses by James Q. Wilson, chairman of the Standing Committee on Athletic Sports, President Bok, and John W. Blodgett Jr. The pool was christened by Francisco Canales, who sprinkled each lane with champagne. Hal Ulen and Bill Brooks, the first two coaches of the Harvard swim team, whose tenure spanned the years 1930 through 1971, delivered the final words of encouragement to the first team to compete in Blodgett Pool. At this first meet, an undefeated Harvard team faced the phenomenal Princeton team in a duel for the Eastern League Championship. Harvard narrowly won in the final event when it established a new University record of 3:05.29 in the 400-yard freestyle relay. Bobby Hackett '81 brought the team to victory as he swam the last leg of the relay with a 45.5 anchor split.
Blodgett Pool is considered one of the finest swimming and diving facilities in the nation. The building is of brick-faced concrete. It has spectator seating for 1,200 and the deck can accommodate 500 participants. The pool is fifty meters long and twenty-five yards wide, with a recessed diving well fifteen feet deep. Configured for long course, the pool has eight 50-meter lanes. Configured for short course, the pool has eight 25-yard lanes in the main competition course (7 foot depth), and six 25-yard lanes in the shallower practice course. The diving area has two one-meter and two three-meter spring boards, as well as 1, 3, and 7.5 meter platforms. In 1979 it was discovered that the diving pool was six inches too shallow; the pool had to be drained in the fall to increase is depth.
Blodgett Pool hosted the Men's NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships in 1980, and then hosted the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships in 1981. Many Blodgett Pool records that were set at those meets remain to this day. Mary T. Meagher's time of 1:52.99 in the 200 butterfly at the 1981 nationals stood as the American and US Open record in that event until 2001.
Major competitions at Blodgett Pool: