An online petition posted last week argued that the new Boston College recreation facility, which will replace the Flynn Recreation Complex, will hinder efforts to recruit student-athletes for both the swimming and tennis teams and will not provide adequate resources for students or current BC athletes. The main concern of the petition is that the pool in the new facility is not large enough for the swim team to realistically use for practice. There is also concern about the reduced number of tennis courts. In response, Director of Athletics Brad Bates has said that the plan for the new facility will “reflect the University’s needs and address the evolving demands of intercollegiate athletics at Boston College.”
This petition has a legitimate point. If BC is to ever have a competitive swimming team in the ACC, it requires an Olympic-sized pool of at least 50 meters by 25 yards, or one that is 25 meters by 25 yards that also includes a diving well. This pool needs to be deeper and have better filtration than the current one in the Flynn Recreation Complex, which is out of date and does not meet these needs.
Every other ACC school, with the exception of Miami, has an up-to-date pool of adequate size available for use. Each of these schools has an Olympic-sized pool. In comparison, BC is far behind the rest of the conference, and the swimming program suffers because of this. If the swimming pool is not improved in the new facility, the swimming team is facing an uncertain future. By continuing to be vague about plans for a pool, BC is threatening the viability of swimming as a sport at BC. Good facilities are a necessity for BC to show dedication to the program and provide incentive to recruits. As plans for the new facility go forward, this issue should be addressed.
This same principle applies to the tennis team, which has not received adequate information about how many courts it will be allocated in the new facility. BC needs to show a commitment to both the swim team and tennis team. Continuing to be vague about whether a suitable pool and tennis courts will be built puts these teams in a precarious position. Explicit information should be released in order to ensure that no team is neglected when the new facility is built.
This petition brings up a number of important concerns with the new facility. Since considerable donation money is being spent on the new project, it is important that the facility reflect the needs of the student-athletes and non-athlete students who will be using it. Having subpar swimming facilities hurts BC swimming athletically and limits the fitness options of regular students. The concerns brought up in this petition should be taken into account by the athletic department and plans should be adjusted to meet them.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor