New competitive swimming facility coming to the area
Right now it's a concrete pit, barely recognizable as a pool. But in a short month the Bluewater Aquatic Center will open as an eight lane, 25 yard competitive swimming facility.
"I think it's going to be a great addition to the area," said Jim Wise, owner of the facility.
Wise also owns Wise Swim School and said demand there led to the construction of the new facility.
"There are so many kids coming through who are ready for a team but there aren't enough facilities. Hundreds of kids want to swim for a team but can't," said Wise.
The new facility will be located in a former office warehouse near the current Wise Swim School. Wise said the facility will serve swimmers from 5 years old to adults who want to swim competitively.
As a full size competitive pool, Wise said the facility will host 25 to 35 swim meets a year. Already they have seven events booked. The center will be able to host meets of 400 or more swimmers.
The facility is set to open Sept. 4. The pool itself will have high tech features including a new style of starting blocks, which have been used during the 2012 Olympic Games, and underwater cameras to help swimmers improve technique. Wise said they will have the capability to webcast meets so people can watch swimming competitions on the Internet.
"It will be a fast pool," said Wise of the design.
The center also will feature bleacher seating for meets, a dry land workout area, men's and women's locker rooms and access to Elsmore Swim Shop.
"It's not only going to be a great addition to the South Metro but to Minnesota swimming in general," said Wise. The facility will be the only privately owned competitive pool in Minnesota.
Program director Nicole Smith said the Riptide Swim Team, which will be based at the new facility, develops swimmers from new to competitive swimming to adult masters. For all the programs, mastering technique is emphasized. She said the center will offer a variety of competitive swimming programs to meet a variety of needs including for homeschooled swimmers, triathletes and a prep season for high school athletes. Swimmers will be registered with USA Swimming.
When it comes to swimming, Wise knows what he's doing. The former University of Minnesota swimmer has run Wise Swim School for more than eight years. The school serves more than 2,000 children ranging in age from 6 months to 8 years old. The center employs more than 70 instructors.
The Bluewave Aquatics Center will take the business to the next level and Wise said it will bring swimming in the area with it. Wise lives in Rosemount.
"There's been demand for this for years," said Wise. "The number of swimmers has increased considerably."
The Bluewater Aquatic Center is located at 5885 149th St. West in Apple Valley. For more information about the Bluewater Aquatic Center and the different Riptide Swim Team competitive programs visit riptideswimteam.org.