EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Olympic gold medalist swimmer Lilly King grew up training at an old community pool in Evansville.
She said, though the pool helped get her going in swimming, it was not an adequate facility for her to progress into the world class swimmer she is today. King said she still remembers seeing the old rusty pipes and algae growing along the bottom of the pool.
“I remember when I left the Greater Evansville Aquatic team to swim with the Newburgh Sea Creatures due to lack of facilities in Evansville, they said to me ‘grab a locker’… and I was like, ‘what?’, because I had never had a locker before,” King said to the Evansville City Council this week.
She said her high school pool at Evansville Reitz wasn’t much better. It was too small to host anything other than a dual swim meet with another high school.
“Other than a high school dual meet, I’ve never swam a swim meet in my hometown,” King said. “Just think about that.”
Now a swimmer at Indiana University and an Olympic gold medalist from the Rio De Janeiro Games, King is spearheading an effort to build a new state of the art aquatics center in Evansville, saying today’s up and coming high school swimmers deserve better than what she had growing up.
The effort has the support of Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, who said this week the Evansville Redevelopment Commission has approved a plan issue a $25 million bond to fund several redevelopment project across the city, the largest portion of which will go to build the Deaconess Aquatic Center.
The bond still needs approval the Evansville City Council, but once it is approved, Mayor Winnecke said the new state of the art aquatic center would be open for public use by 2020.
(PHOTO: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)