The United States Naval Academy (USNA) has been educating and training individuals who primarily patrol the waters internationally since 1845, and currently is the highest-ranked public liberal arts college in the entire nation.

College and U.S. Olympic Competition Pool

For an institution that trains its students to be capable in water, there obviously is a strong and competitive intercollegiate swimming and diving team. The Academy already boasted pools that were among the top in the States, but with teams that consistently win Patriot League titles and rank in the top 25 nationally, there were needs for facilities that reflected and encouraged continued success in the water.

Special Considers for the Renovation of a Competition Pool

Over the summer of 2012, the USNA had its existing competition pools renovated. In doing so, two of the grandest and most beautiful pools in the entire country became an integral part of the school’s venerated “water tradition.”

True competition pools are much different than typical high school or community pools. For example, diving pools must possess specific dimensions in order to be safe and operational. The newly-designed USNA diving pool has a depth of over 14 feet, and the racing pool measures 50 meters in length in order to be fit for competition.

Submariner Pool Project

Without question, this grandiose project was no in-and-out pool renovation. “The pools sit 50 meters below sea level,” said Kurt Weber, sales representative for LATICRETE International.

“With the campus located on the Chesapeake Bay, there were plenty of concerns and challenges in keeping water from running off into the pools’ foundations while construction took place. There were even days when construction had to be shut down during the Hurricane Sandy period for fear that there could be some residual effects.

“The pool was so deep, it was astonishing,” Weber continued. “It’s not very often you look down into a pool and see 40 feet of scaffolding rising up toward you!”

Renovations within an Existing Pool Structure is Challenging

The pool renovations took place within a pre-existing steel structure so everything had to be exact. “This was clearly a high-profile job,” said Eric Pucilowski, LATICRETE assistant director of sales. “Any time you are working on a military facility, you are going to be under a microscope and scrutinized the whole time.”

Below Sea Level Pool Construction

Typically when building a pool, a key concern is keeping the base and shell completely sealed so that water does not leak out. But in this case, the construction team had to worry about water leaking in. While working below sea level is not a new task for highly-skilled construction and installation specialists, it still cannot be taken lightly since any leak or crack can potentially cause major structural and/or cosmetic problems.

Tile Installation in Large Pools

Profast Commercial Flooring was the company in charge of installing all the tiles on the project, and the professionals from that fi rm found optimal ways to deal with these water issues.

“We installed over 32,000 square feet of 1”x1” mosaic tiles as well as 32,000 square feet of thick mortar bed on the walls and fl oors of the facility,” said Kevin Killian, president of Profast Commercial Flooring.

Getting the Pools Done Right

“When you have a project that big, you need to know you’re going to have installation products that work. LATICRETE materials are spectacular, trustworthy and have a great reputation. They worked well not only for our tile installations but for sealing and water-proofing!”

The installation system Profast used was a traditional one, and they were guided through the process by LATICRETE’s Weber. “Kurt did a fantastic job making sure the system was installed correctly and that we knew exactly how the products specified would be working – and how they would be working together,” stated Killian. “Kurt advised us throughout the entire project. Our company’s expertise and hard work combined with his sage installation input made this a very smooth operation.”