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Air Duct Falls, Pool Drained

The Russel K. Osgood Pool stands solemnly empty after three segments of air duct fell from the ceiling sometime during the night last Thursday.

“There were like three [segments], two of them fell into the diving well and one fell into the stands,” said diver Kelly Bruce ’12.

The athletic department drained Russell K. Osgood Pool after these two pieces of air duct fell into the pool. Athletic officials expressed concern regarding the safety of these airducts after it was noticed that some of their supports came undone, but they were reassured by the construction company. Photograph by Joe Wlos

Drained to a couple feet of water and hosting two large pieces of air duct in the deep end, the pool remains closed for repairs. At this time the athletics department has no estimate as to when these repairs will be completed.

Director of Athletics and Recreation Greg Wallace was unable to comment on the issue beyond what was publicized in the press release from Friday, February 24th.

The press release emphasizes that there were no injuries involved in the incident, which is a relief to those who use the pool most often.

“Nobody got hurt and that’s the big thing,” said Michael Brus ’14, a member of the men’s swim team.

“Our coach, when we had our little team meeting, kept saying how grateful she was that it happened in the middle of the night when nobody was there,” said diver Emma Falley ‘15

Although those involved are grateful that the incident happened when it did, after swim season and just a week after 400 children attended a club meet hosted at the pool, it is still to be seen how serious the construction repairs will be. According to Brus, it was reported that one of the metal strips that supported the large air ducts had come loose on the far end of the natatorium, the building contractor told school officials that the repairs could wait until summer, when it was more convenient. Now, the college and the building contractor will inspect and eventually replace as needed all other supporting fixtures in the pool area.

“I think that’s what will take the longest,” Brus said.

With the pool closed indefinitely, Brus, Falley and

Bruce have been traveling to other towns in order to train for the NCAA National swim meet, which will take place in Indianapolis March 21-24.

“I’ve been to Marshalltown and Brooklyn so far and I think I’m going to Iowa City also,” Brus said.

The towns, 30 minutes, 20 minutes, and an hour away, respectively, were chosen as training locations based on the pools’ availability, Brus’ schedule, and the coach’s schedule.

“It’s a little rough, we are going day by day to see where and if we can get a pool that fits all of our schedules, us and our diving coach, said Falley.

However, the athletes are positive about their upcoming performances despite the sudden pool closure.

“I think that we’ll be able to adapt pretty well,” said Bruce, “The one really good thing is that the University of Iowa has an incredible facility, especially for diving.”

Their access to a Division I pool is partially thanks to their coach, Deidre Freeman’s connections as a recent University of Iowa graduate.

Claire Williams ’13 and Claire Forrest ’13 are also still training for the Paralympics and travel with Brus, Bruce, and Falley in their search for available pools. Meanwhile, the women’s water polo team and other regional swimming organizations are also forced into an unexpected hiatus.

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    Chris FalleyApr 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    In true creative-Grinnell-style, the coaches and athletes managed this well…and didn’t let it get to them psychologically!! Impressive!