It is the time of year for the big end of swim season meets, where every swim team in the Mid-Atlantic states (or maybe it just seems that way) comes together for a giant swim team mash up. This meet began at 8 a.m. and is being held at George Mason University – which I call commuter hell. The entire campus is ringed by parking lots the size of Rhode Island.
Because there are so many teams, the warm-ups began on Thursday afternoon…or at least it seemed that way. Claire’s team bus left school at 6 a.m.; Andrew had to be in the pool at 6:30 a.m. Lilly and I were up at 4:45 to take care of Lilly’s business and to get this show on the road.
Well, it is cold at 4:45 in February so you have to bundle up and dress accordingly. But at 9:34 with a “Natatorium” full of enthused parents and high schoolers, the place is heating up. Now I wish I had my summer swim meet outfit of t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops.
Sitting here in the Jim McKay Natatorium (do you hear the Wide World of Sports theme song in your head?), I got to wondering about the origin of the word natatorium. So I did what any self-respecting blogger does…I looked at Wikipedia.
A natatorium is, strictly speaking, a structurally separate building containing a swimming pool. In Latin, a cella natatoria was a swimming pool in its own building; thus, the sense was much as now although it is sometimes also used to refer to any indoor pool even if not housed in a dedicated building (e.g. a pool in a school or a fitness club). It is usually taken for granted that it will also house locker rooms, and perhaps capacity for allied activities, such as a diving tank, facilities for water polo, and so forth. Many colleges and universitieshave natatoria.
But after getting my Latin lesson for the day, I really loved the fact that Wikipedia then highlighted a National Trust 11 Most Endangered Historic Places site:
The Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium in Honolulu, Hawaii is believed to be the largest salt-water natatorium in the world. Although the pool was closed in 1980 due to health concerns, the structure remains a feature on the eastern end of Waikiki in the shadow of Diamond Head. The natatorium was included in the National Trust for Historic Preservation‘s 1995 list of most endangered historic sites in the U.S.
Cool. Well, Claire’s getting ready to swim the 100 Free. Off to cheer!
More to come…