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Liberty U. holds grand opening ceremony for new natatorium

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- Just before Liberty Flames swimmers were making a splash inside their new home at a swim meet, the university held a grand opening ceremony, celebrating the new natatorium.

"We just have so much more space than we did in our old pool, and just so much more opportunities with what comes with the facility, which is awesome for us," said Colleen Donlin, a swim team member.

"I'm like speechless," said Brittany Weiss, another swimmer. "It's incredible. It's exceeded all our expectations, and it's truly a blessing to be able to swim in here."

The facility has a nine-lane, 50-meter pool, 17-foot-deep-diving well with one and three meter springboards and a three-column tower, with up to a 10-meter platform.

Swimmers were all too happy to dive in. Even LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. couldn't wait to take the plunge off the highest platform.

"It is a game-changer for our program and really for the entire state, especially Central Virginia, [with] the ability for outside clubs and organizations to host meets and use the pool," said Head Women's Swimming and Diving Coach Jake Shellenberger.

They also have a 25-yard wide pool that can hold up to twenty lanes.

"We have a wonderful water circulation program that makes us one of the fastest pools in the country as well. So, this will attract the top swimmers all around the country, and internationally, to come and swim in this pool," said Athletics Director Ian McCaw.

LU now has the second largest video board in all of college swimming and diving, stretching out 43 feet wide.

At 75,000 square feet, the new natatorium is much larger than the LaHaye Aquatics Center pool previously used by the swim teams. Staff members said they'll still use it for recreational purposes.

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