RCW: A Look Back 4.24
With the Kansas women’s swimming & diving team having taken third place at the Big 12 Swimming & Diving Championships on February 21-24, let’s take A Look Back at the original home of Kansas swimming & diving.
The basement pool in Old Robinson Gymnasium is where the Kansas men’s swimming & diving program began, but it was not particularly well-suited for competitive swimming or diving. The pool, just 20 yards long instead of the standard 25-yard short course length, was so narrow that events involving the butterfly stroke had to be run in additional heats as using all four lanes would result in swimmers hitting arms with each other.
The diving board – situated at the deeper end of the pool as opposed to having a separate dive pool area – had to be made of buckboard so it was less flexible. Higher flexibility of the board could have resulted in divers being flung too far toward the shallow end and hitting the pool bottom. As it was, divers already had to be aware of the height of their dives. According to former swimmer and head coach Dick Reamon, there were three marks on the ceiling near the diving board: two hand marks, nearly directly over the edge of the board, and slightly further out, a mark where feet occasionally nicked the ceiling! New Robinson Gymnasium opened in 1967, during Reamon’s coaching tenure (1963-77). That first spring it hosted the 1968 Big Eight Men’s Swimming Championship, which KU won, thus beginning their eight-straight conference championships run.