By Allison Jones ’20 Front Page Editor
On Friday October 11, the Mercersburg community gathered in the new Lloyd Aquatic Center for the dedication of the facility. This eight-month project is finally coming to an end, with this ceremony marking the first time that the school was able to be in the space together.
The Board of Regents was on campus for the usual Fall meetings, but they were also able to attend the dedication of the pool joined by many past alumni. Olympic swimmer and Board of Regents member Betsy Mitchell ’83 and Olympian Geri Mewett ’92 joined the crew on deck for the ceremony. In addition, the Board of Regents member Philip Lloyd ‘65 and his wife Peggy, with their daughters, Kim ’90 and Bebe ’94, former Board of Regents president, Denise Dupré ’76, and Tony Furnary ’76 joined the Olympians on deck. Board member, Ames Prentiss ’89 said, “The opening of the Lloyd Aquatic Center is another great example of Mercersburg Academy’s commitment to give our students and faculty the resources they need to be successful inside and outside the classroom.”
The ceremony started with opening words from Head of School Katie Titus who emphasized the importance of the facility as a community space. “When the Board of Regents first considered a 50-meter pool, of course their initial focus was on our swimming and diving program. But supplementing that thinking was to create a space that could be better used by all of our programs. This pool will allow for swim practice, diving practice, and other cross-training to occur all at the same time. In addition, we hope the students will imagine ways that they want to use the space for things like class bonding events or movie nights. Maybe students will want to start an intramural water polo club – the ideas could be endless,” said Titus.
Among the board members, Olympians, and administration, there were students involved in the ceremony. Student body vice president, Caroline Kranich ’20, said, “It was a great experience to be a part of with so many remarkable alums. It’s amazing to see what this new space will mean for not only the swimmers but the entire student body.” Kranich and student body president Aba Sankah ’20 both participated in pouring cups of water from the Flanagan Pool into the new Furnary Pool, alongside the donors and other notable alumni.
In addition, swimmers, Kiersten Donnelly ’21, Jack Kothari ’20, Isabel Lewis ’21, Josue Lopez Jaimes ’20, Will Maurer ’20, and Bryce Mitchell ’21 participated in the first ceremonial swims that marked the dedication. Lopez said, “It was incredible to have the opportunity to swim and even just be close to past Olympians. It’s an opportunity I don’t know if I will experience ever again.”
The ceremony culminated with a medley relay: Titus and the students versus the alums. The Titus relay team was in the lead for most of the race. Donnelly added, “I was just swimming butterfly and next thing I knew Betsy Mitchell was on top of me trying to slow us down. She sure is a competitive athlete.” Then during the last leg of the relay, the alums pulled ahead and won.
The Lloyd Aquatic Center recognizes the leadership gift of Phil Lloyd and his family. Within the center there is the Furnary Pool named after the Tony Furnary, a standout student and swimmer during his time at Mercersburg. This project has been in the works for over 15 years and many have been eager to finally see the end result. Although the pool is not officially open for everyone, it is close to being done and will be available for Mercersburg Academy’s community to enjoy.