Fast, flexible, beautiful: premier competitive venue brings swim dollars back to Illinois, serves swimmers of all ages and skill levels
The lack of an adequate natatorium forced Illinois Swimming, Inc. to hold its biannual statewide age group swim meets outside the state. The FMC Natatorium not only provides an elite swimming venue for these meets, but it also serves as one of few Illinois facilities capable of hosting the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Finals. The 71,000-square-foot facility welcomes the entire spectrum of swimmers, from the infant getting a first swimming lesson to the U.S. Masters Swimming member with a lifetime of experience.
The natatorium features a 50-meter Olympic-size competition pool. Natural light fills the space courtesy of a large glass wall on the facility’s east side, along with clerestories and tall windows. A unique horseshoe seating arrangement offers three sides of seating to accommodate up 1,200 spectators — more seating than any other indoor pool in Illinois.
A secondary development pool (eight lanes, 25 yards) serves many needs: open-lane swimming or jogging for members, warm-up/cool-down for major event competitors, training for younger team members, and lessons for community members. Its deepest corner even has two starter blocks for teaching younger swimmers how to “get off the block.”
The FMC Natatorium has plenty of “dry land” spaces. The first floor, for instance, houses a hospitality room, coaches’ offices, a conference room, and a tech room, all of which have views of the competition pool. On the second level, swimmers can warm up in a large multipurpose room or do strength training in the adjacent weight room. Other areas on the second level include a swim shop operated by Urban Tri Gear (a Westmont business), as well as a concession stand.
The building’s exterior has a clean and contemporary look that fits the context of surrounding buildings. It has cost-effective precast concrete wall panels with a large expanse of glass on the east side, as well as tall windows and eight-foot-high clerestories. The glazing design not only fills the space with daylight but also draws attention to nighttime activities.