Saint Andrew’s School is home to the Duff Tyler Aquatic Complex, considered one of the best aquatic centers in the country. Though SA Scots get to utilize the pool year round for practices and competitions, the facilities are also used by top universities and collegiate teams in the winter months for training purposes.
The aquatic complex is an expansive, open-air facility featuring the Reid Family Pool, geo-thermally heated and cooled to ensure year-round training for swimming, diving, and water polo. With 22 short-course lanes and ten 50-meter long-course lanes, the Saint Andrew’s facility is highly equipped for collegiate teams as they leave behind cold weather and travel to warmer climates for winter training each year.
This year, Saint Andrew’s is proud to host several schools and teams such as New York University, University of Alabama, James Madison University, Bucknell University, Northern Arizona University, University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Rowan University, Lasalle University, Keene State College, and USA Water Polo.
University aquatic and swimming teams, especially those located in the north and New England area, have traveled to Florida for warmer weather and training purposes for many years. “Colleges have traditionally looked to travel to South Florida in the weeks of December and January since the 1920’s,” said Sid Cassidy, Aquatics Director and Head Swimming Coach at Saint Andrew’s.
It all began when universities with swimming programs had the need to travel for winter training after their campuses and facilities shut down for the winter break, turned off the heat and electricity, and sent everyone home for the holidays...coincidentally in the middle of the NCAA swimming season.
“In the 1920’s, a core group of college coaches took their teams and traveled to Fort Lauderdale for training. These coaches put together a coaches forum and had their teams train with one another for these few weeks. After its initial year, it became a tradition. Since then, swimming teams in the north have been traveling to warmer climates, such as Florida and even Puerto Rico, for winter training,” said Coach Cassidy.
Saint Andrew’s has been opening its lanes since 2005 to top teams from the north as they continue this tradition and commute south for the winter. In August of ‘05, Coach Cassidy found himself handing out flyers to collegiate coaches, offering open, equipped facilities that included more than just a warm pool. Being home to not only the aquatic complex but also the fully-equipped Brockway Family Fitness Center and outdoor certified track for dryland training, SA offers the whole package to teams looking to travel and train.
“We don't mind taking a few weeks to share the unbelievable facilities we have here at Saint Andrew’s. We have all these great resources that generally aren't being used during the break, so we’re happy to extend the invitation,” added Coach Cassidy.
Overall it’s a great opportunity for all involved. “Collegiate coaches have a chance to meet up with one another, NCAA athletes get to meet and see one another practice, and our Saint Andrew’s student-athletes have the opportunity to see and witness college practices and collegiate swimming,” said Coach Cassidy.
While various teams practice in the pool and train in the weight room, students at Saint Andrew’s have a chance to witness the action. As they take a peek into collegiate swimming, Coach Cassidy hopes that they walk away with some insight for the future. “Seeing these collegiate teams practice is a good opportunity and experience for students in the SA aquatic program because it allows them to see swimming beyond high school and get an idea of what collegiate athletics is like,” said Coach Cassidy.
Throughout December and January, these top-level teams will be doing more than just utilizing Saint Andrew’s facilities. They will be continuing a nearly century-long tradition in the aquatics community and showcasing to Scots students what it means to be a collegiate student-athlete.