Nestled between the Recreation and Wellness Center and the McNamara Alumni Center on the Minneapolis campus, the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center was completed in 1990 for a cost of $11 million. At 73,000 square feet, it houses the Dorothy L. Sheppard Pool, eight 50 meter lanes ranging from 7 feet to 7 feet, 10 inches in depth with a movable bulkhead. The separate diving well features a pair of 1- and 3-meter spring boards, as well as 1-, 5-, 7.5- and 10-meter diving platforms. The Aquatic Center seats 1,350 spectators and up to 1,200 competitors.
For nearly 30 years, the Aquatic Center has proudly served as the state of Minnesota's premiere aquatic facility, attracting every major national championship in aquatics. From swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo and even underwater hockey, the Aquatic Center has brought the highest level of competition to campus. In serving the student athletes of the NCAA, the Aquatic Center has hosted 24 Big Ten Championships and 10 Division I NCAA Championships. In 2018, the Men's Big Ten and Division I NCAA Championships will return to Minneapolis once again. The Aquatic Center is also the home to a wide range of recreation programs and daily lap swimming.
Holding true to its intentions, the Aquatic Center continues to be a flagship for aquatic facilities in the US, and invests in capital improvements each year. Since 2011, the University has invested more than $2.5 million to upgrade the facilities infrastructure, including new filtration systems, dehumidification systems, skylights, starting blocks, video boards and countless aesthetic improvements well beyond the routine maintenance of existing systems. Next up, the Aquatic Center is due for an upgrade to LED lighting, a new sound system and HVAC renovation.
In 2014, the Aquatic Center was rededicated to beloved alum and coach Jean K. Freeman. Freeman swam for the Gophers in the late '60s and was soon named head coach after graduation. She coached the Gopher women for 31 years, where she achieved 27 winning seasons and two Big Ten Championships, and won 208 dual meets. She produced two national champions, 14 Big Ten champions and 175 All-Americans. Freeman was a four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Minnesota Swim Coaches Hall of Fame, among countless other awards. She was the driving force that developed the Golden Gopher Women's swim team into the powerhouse that it is today.
What They're Saying About the Aquatic Center "The Jean Freeman Aquatic Center is one of the best racing facilities in the world. I have been in pools all over the world and our Aquatics Center remains my favorite. I have had some of my lifetime best performances in Minneapolis, and our pool records speak for themselves." - David Plummer, 2008 Minnesota graduate and 2016 Olympic bronze and gold medalist
"The University of Minnesota Aquatic Center is one of the best aquatic venues in the country, if not the world. From the leading training facilities (50-meter pool/double eight-lane 25-yard short course pool and a fully-loaded diving well with bubble machine), to the supplemental amenities (hot tub, cold tubs, physical therapy offices, trampolines, fin diving blocks), the U of M Aquatic Center provides a world-class environment that has produced some of the world's best athletes, including Olympic medalists." - Jillian Tyler, Minnesota graduate, 2011 national champion in 100-yard breastroke and 2008 and 2012 Canadian Olympian
"Minnesota's Aquatic Center is one of the most comfortable facilities that I have ever dived in. The lighting is excellent and the boards are smooth. I usually do not like to dive indoors, but of the indoor facilities that I have had to dive indoors in, this has to rate as one of the best." - Greg Louganis, Olympic and world champion diver
"The (Aquatic Center) is probably the finest training facility anywhere. The pool is fast; it's just a great competitive center. I had the best race of my life in the Aquatic Center at the U.S. Open. I raced unrested, unshaved and untapered against the best two or three swimmers in the world and won. It's a great facility." - Mike Barrowman, 1992 Olympic gold medalist
Major Collegiate Events Hosted Men's Big Ten Championships: 1992, 1994, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2018 Women's Big Ten Championships: 1991, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2013, 2014 Men's NCAA Championships: 1994, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2011, 2018 Women's NCAA Championships: 1993, 1998, 2007, 2014
Location 1910 University Ave. SE Minneapolis, Minn. 55455 Phone: 612-626-1352
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