Most people know why The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium was way ahead of its time when completed in 1972 (big gutters, bright lights, integrated diving well, no windows, etc.). Here’s “the rest of the story”.
A few years later the NCAA made the following pronunciation after 16 NCAA records were shattered during the 1977 Division I Championships held in our pool: “The greatest swimmers in the fastest pool at the greatest meet in history”. Our pool was now OFFICIALLY v e r y f a s t.
When the pool was dedicated as “The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium” in 1999 it was still considered one of the fastest five pools in the US. There were several reasons our pool was (and still is !) so fast:
- Its big, wide gutters keep the water smooth
- The deep water in the competition end of the pool, no separate diving well, make for fast swimming
- The lights are designed with a special “competition mode” for extra brightness
- There are no windows in the pool which keep the lighting consistent and reduced distracting glare
The simple answer: Bob Busbey was ahead of his time in pool design thinking, and knew Peter van Dijk who was an outstanding architect with the ability to convert big, new ideas into practical reality. The Robert F. Busbey Natatorium, located in the CSU Physical Education building, was the result of a collaboration between these two champions.
How they met, and what lead to their partnership to build the pool leads to “the rest of the story”.
Bob and Peter attended the AAU National Championships in Columbus Ohio in 1946. They were both in the hotel lobby waiting for room assignments. Bob was from Fenn College, Peter from the New York Athletic Club. Neither had roommates so they decided to room together.
Years later when Bob was looking for an architect for the new CSU pool he knew Peter’s office was in Cleveland. Bob ask Peter if he’d like to build “ a big fast pool”; Peter said yes and, well, the rest is history as they say.
Peter, now 86, has been a Masters Swimmer for 40 years. He has 50+ National Championships in Freestyle and Backstroke. He is the winner of 17 Gold Medals in Masters World Championship competitions. And he’s still swimming with O*H*I*O Master Swim Club, most recently winning 4 Gold Medals at the 2014 Montreal World Championships last AUGUST.
Bob was also a champion – Fenn’s first All-American (’48 & ’49) and four-sport athlete in swimming, baseball, fencing and track. And five-time Highlander Class National Sailing Champion. He also won the 50 and 100 freestyle at that AAU Championship meet back in ’46.
Dave G, along with Wally, Joe, Jim, Jim, and Tom for the CSU Swimming and Diving Heritage Project
In the splash zone:
What’s YOUR story – about you, teammates (well, maybe not all the stories) or coaches (please be a little kind OK)?
Here’s three easy ways to share them:
- Add a comment to this post below
- Comment on our Cleveland State Swimming and Diving Friends and Alumni Facebook Group Page
- Upload a .pdf article to our website