Harvard Swimming & Diving

Blodgett Pool - The Home of Harvard Swimming and Diving


[IMAGE: Blodgett Pool]

The Blodgett Pool

Gift of
JOHN WOOD BLODGETT JR.
Class of 1923
Grand Rapids Michigan

Prominent in the Pacific coast lumber industry
Generous friend of Athletics for all at Harvard
Blodgett Pool dedication plaque

[ Women's Record Board ]
[ Men's Record Board ]

[ Map of the area ]

Technical Data
Width:25 yards
Length:50 meters
Depth:7 feet (8 lane course)
15 feet (diving well)
Competition
courses:
8 x 25y, 6 x 25y, 8 x 50m
Electronic timing:Daktronics Timing
128x192 (23mm) ProStar Display
Daktronics touchpads
Diving equipment:2 x 1M springboard,
2 x 3M springboard,
1M, 3M, 7.5M platform
Water Polo
courts:
1 regulation (20m x 30m)
or 2 practice
Pool construction:Poured reinforced concrete
Wall thickness:12" to 16"
Ballast floor slab:18" to 96"
Interior finish:Ceramic tile
Pool capacity:750,000 gallons
Surge tank capacity:16,000 gallons
Recirculation rate:2700 gallons per minute
Filtration:Whitten MultiCell all sand
(6) 96" tanks - 18 cells
Sterilization:Liquid sodium hypochlorite
Chemistry control:Automatic Whitten chemical
control center
Recirculation system:Uniflow stainless steel gutters
with custom FasTime grating
Building design:Architects Collaborative,
Cambridge MA
Building construction:Turner Construction,
Boston MA
and Whitten Corporation,
Mendon MA

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:

  • March 1979: 38th Annual Men's Eastern Championships
  • March 1980: 57th Annual Men's NCAA Division I Swimming & Diving Championships
  • April 1981: Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships
  • February 1985: Women's Eastern Championships
  • March 1986: 45th Annual Men's Eastern Championships
  • February 1988: Women's Eastern Championships
  • March 1989: 48th Annual Men's Eastern Championships
  • Spring 1991: NCAA Division I Men's Region One Diving Qualifier
  • February 1992: Women's Eastern Championships
  • March 1993: 52nd Annual Men's Eastern Championships
  • February 1995: Women's Eastern Championships
  • March 1996: 55th Annual Men's Eastern Championships
  • February 1998: 1st Annual Women's Ivy League Championships
  • March 1999: 58th Annual Men's Eastern Championships
  • February 2000: 3rd Annual Women's Ivy League Championships
  • April 2000: New England Masters Short Course Yards Championships
  • April 2001: New England Masters Short Course Yards Championships
  • February 2002: 5th Annual Women's Ivy League Championships
  • March 2002: 61st Annual Men's Eastern Championships
  • April 2002: New England Masters Short Course Yards Championships
  • March 2003: New England Masters Short Course Yards Championships
  • February 2004: 7th Annual women's Ivy League Championships
  • March 2004: New England Masters Short Course Yards Championships


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