2011-03-23 / News Briefs

Chesterfield to welcome new swim facility

Gwen Sadler

Construction on a new swim facility in Chesterfield County is slated to begin later this month. The Richmond Aquatics Center will be located in Ukrop Park, near the intersection of Chippenham Parkway and Route 10.

The center, which is expected to be finished in about 10 months, will take up more than 50,000 square feet and feature three pools, including a therapy pool and a 25-yard warm-water pool for lessons and water sports. The main pool will be a 50-meter, eight-lane competition pool with moveable bulkheads that were used at the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials in Omaha. The center will also feature a 7,000-square-foot mezzanine grandstand that will seat as many as 700 spectators.

There will also be a community room, indoor fitness facility, locker rooms, storage space and plenty of parking. Future plans include the addition of a 5,000-square-foot physical therapy and rehabilitation area.

The construction of the center will cost an estimated $14 million. The Greater Richmond Aquatics Partnership, comprised of area organizations and community leaders including Trinity Episcopal School and Poseidon Swimming in Chesterfield, has raised all but $4 million in funds to complete the construction, and expects to raise the remaining funds through a capital campaign. Other members of the partnership include Collegiate School, Richmond Kickers Youth Soccer Club and Sports Backers.

A goal of the partnership is to provide accessible programs for the area’s youths who don’t have access to swim lessons.

“With nearly 158,000 children under the age of 9 in metro Richmond, offering a swime ducation program is vital for the safety and physical fitness of our kids,” Bobby Ukrop, president of the Greater Richmond Aquatics Partnership, said in a news release. “Currently, the YMCA runs programs for 35 of the more than 120 elementary schools in the area. That means 70 percent of our schools are not participating in any kind of swim program. My fellow team members and I are hoping to close that gap while at the same time elevating swimming as a lifelong participatory sport among the million residents of our region.”

The aquatics center will have the ability to host significant swim competitions, such as local and state high school swim meets and local, state and regional club swim meets sanctioned by Virginia and USA Swimming. The anticipated boost to the area’s economy through sports tourism is over $2 million annually.

Membership fees for use of the fitness and pool facilities will be announced at a later date.

For more information about the Richmond Aquatics Center, visit

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