A national diving training center proposed to go next to Triangle Aquatic Center would be the only one of its kind in the country, the center’s president said.
It would be designed for training divers, including those at the Olympic level, and hosting local, regional, national and international diving competitions.
“China is doing a lot of these, and they are dominating global diving competitions,” said Mike Curran, president of Triangle Aquatic Center, a nonprofit public aquatic facility.
The High Performance Diving Center, a temporary name for the facility, would be a 55,000-square-foot, two-story structure northwest of TAC. It would cost a maximum of $20 million, Curran said.
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Discussions about the plan became public in March when representatives from USA Diving, a nonprofit that trains teams to represent the country in major events like the Olympics, visited TAC for preliminary discussions and a site visit.
Preliminary renderings and floor plans were completed during the second phase of the diving center project, which wrapped up at the end of June.
The proposed diving center is part of a larger vision to expand TAC’s 21.5-acre campus near Cary Towne Center. The $22.5 million aquatic facility, which opened in October 2007, serves 420,000 visitors per year and provides about $5 million in annual economic benefits to Wake County, Curran has said.
“It’s a big project with a lot to do, and we are just taking it one phase at a time,” he said.
The diving project will be paid for through a combination of hotel and meal tax revenues, fundraising or financial assistance by USA Diving or the Town of Cary, Curran said. Funding sources would be determined in a later phase of the project.
Project representatives, including Curran, traveled to the Olympic diving trials in Indianapolis last month to present the facility’s concept to USA Diving.
“They were very impressed,” Curran said.
USA Diving representatives will make a decision at the end of September on whether they can commit the fundraising necessary to help make the plans a reality.
If USA Diving gets behind the project, Curran anticipates immediately moving forward with the third phase, which includes going before the Cary Town Council for approval. He said if the diving center comes to fruition, the plan is to have it open by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Curran said there often is competition between diving teams and swimming teams for practice times at other facilities. But because this diving center would be dedicated solely to diving, there would be no such conflict.
“It will be a big advantage to training Olympic divers,” he said.
The facility could attract national and international diving events as one of the few facilities in the country large enough to host such events, he said. It also would provide a place for local divers and teams to practice and compete.
Curran has been in contact with some local college and school teams, including at UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University and Cardinal Gibbons High School, who are interested in this facility. Today, UNC’s and NCSU’s diving teams travel to Greensboro to practice.
“We would love to have another national training center here,” Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said.
Cary already has the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Other sports venues in town include WakeMed Soccer Park and Cary Tennis Park.
“It seems like they are moving along,” Weinbrecht said. “The next key thing is to see if they can get a funding model that will work.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon