"They love the academics at Purdue and love the team, but they want to go to a school with better facilities," says Wright-Eger, Purdue women's swim coach. "Our academics really sell themselves, but our facilities are lagging behind what our competition can offer."
Completed in 1937, the Lambert Gymnasium pool has been the deciding factor for many swimming and diving recruits, Wright-Eger says.
For example, this fall 17 recruits were brought to campus to look over the men's and women's programs. Nine of those narrowed their choices to Purdue and one other school. All chose the other institution.
Several factors besides age make the Lambert pool nearly obsolete:
Despite the lack of facilities comparable to Purdue competition, teams coached by Dan Ross, men's swim coach, and Wright-Eger have occasionally finished in the top half of the Big Ten.
Both also pride themselves on the academic achievements of their swimmers. Each has coached a number of Academic All-Americans.
Wright-Eger and Ross agree that the new Aquatics Center will help make the difference for Purdue.
"It will make Purdue the perfect package of academics and athletics for the swimming and diving program," Ross says.
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