The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 22, 2013

Atlantic 10 in full swim as it dives in

Staff Writer

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — Athletes from 16 different Atlantic 10 universities are swimming and diving for conference championships this weekend at Spire Institute.

“It’s the fastest pool in the world,” Spire Institute Chief Executive Officer Jeff Orloff said.

In addition to the swim meet Spire Institute will be hosting the Big 10 Indoor Track Meet today and tomorrow.

“This was the plan. It started with the MAC Volleyball Championship (several years ago) and then make this a championship facility,” Orloff said. In addition to the track and swimming events there will be a 50 team basketball tournament.

Orloff said there will be plenty of parking and staff and volunteers to assist those attending the events. He said 150 volunteers are expected to help make the events special for those in attendance during this weekend of athletics.

“It really speaks well for the community,” he said of the area volunteers that assist in parking, directing traffic, giving directions and general operations of the events.

Orloff said he reminds staff and volunteers that this will be a special memory for the athletes when they sit down with their grandchildren in 30 years.

“This pool is amazing,” Steven Nelson, a swimmer for George Washington University, said. He said everyone was dropping their fastest times.

Jim Bocci, director of swimming at Spire Institute, said this is the first major Division I swimming championship to be held at the state of the art pool complex; but not the last.

He said the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program will be holding the girls East-West Championships on March 16 and 17 and the USA Swimming Speedo Sectional Championship on March 21-24 which is a qualifier for the NCAA Division I national championship.

Bocci said the coaches were excited about the excellent times. He  said the depth of the pool and the construction of the side gutters are two elements that make the pool so fast.