March 2, 2009
From VisionSMU newsletter
SMU Athletics has had many reasons to celebrate in recent seasons, including the opening of Crum Basketball Center and the arrival of head football coach June Jones and men’s head basketball coach Matt Doherty. Now, efforts are under way for new facilities for men’s and women’s swimming and diving and golf. More space for swimmers and divers.
Perkins Natatorium, the home of SMU swimming and diving since 1956, has run out of wall space. National and conference championship trophies are stacked two deep, and the walls are crammed with photographs of men’s and women’s national and international champions.
“We need to bring the spirit and tradition of Perkins Natatorium to a new facility with modern amenities and size,” says women’s swim coach Steve Collins.
A proposed aquatic center planned for the site of the natatorium on Bishop Boulevard could include a 50-meter pool with 22 training lanes, a 10-meter diving platform and underwater video installations for competition and training.
Currently, men’s and women’s swimming share the six-lane natatorium for three practices each day. Divers practice at the outdoor Barr Pool until cool weather arrives, when they rent a high school facility for practice.
A larger pool would give student-athletes more flexibility to balance practices and academic schedules, Collins says.
The larger facility also would enable the Mustangs to host top-tier competitions. Teams that currently compete at the SMU Classic send just eight swimmers because of the limitations of the six-lane natatorium, says Eddie Sinnott, men’s swimming coach.
“Bringing top-level competitions to SMU increases our visibility to recruits and showcases the achievements of our program,” he says. Keeping golfers in the swing.
A new $4 million golf practice facility at the Dallas Athletic Club will put SMU at the fore- front of men’s and women’s collegiate golf, says Jay Loar, men’s golf coach. With a practice course, workout facility, locker rooms, study rooms and clubhouse in one location, college athletes can make better use of their time, leading to better golf scores and grade point averages, he says.
Current SMU golfers wake up for 5:30 a.m. workouts at the Salvino Strength and Conditioning Center on campus and practice their swings 10 miles away at the Dallas Athletic Club. “This will give them a permanent home,” Loar says.
The facility also will help them prepare for national tournaments, with indoor hitting bays equipped with swing-analysis capabilities and a five-acre practice course.
Golf course designer Chet Williams has designed the four-hole short course, which will enable golfers to practice on bent grass greens popular in cooler climates and grainier Bermuda grass greens common in warm climates. Greens will challenge golfers with tiers and slopes, and bunkers will feature different textures of sand.
“People who study golf understand that it all gets down to the short game,” Loar says.
Golfers will use the facility to build on SMU’s golf legacy – the men’s and women’s teams hold national championship trophies. The program has produced golfing greats such as Kyle O’Brien ’80 and the late Payne Stewart ’79.
Part of the facility will be named in Stewart’s honor. In addition, the 11th annual Payne Stewart Cup golf tournament May 4 will benefit SMU men’s and women’s golf.
To learn about supporting SMU Athletics, please contact Senior Associate Director for Development Tim Leonard at 214-768-4465 or email@example.com.