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One last lap in the Dome of Champions

Published: Feb. 27, 2021 at 6:29 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -Before the Dome of Champions is torn down to make way for a new swimming facility at Bowling Green High School, former Purples got the chance to swim a final lap in their longtime home.

“There’s no telling how many people have made use of this pool and we just wanted them to have one last opportunity to come in a take the last lap,” said Dee Wilkins, Bowling Green’s Swimming and Diving coach, as well as a 1988 graduate of BGHS.

The Dome of Championships of been the home for Purples Swimming since 1970. Wilkins said many of the Bowling Green alums were excited at the opportunity to swim one more lap in the dome before it was demolished.

“If you swim competitively, you spend a lot of time in here,” Wilkins said. “The swim season’s long, you’re spending four hours a day following this black line and it’s a memory you never forget, and to get to come back and to do it one more time, it’s something special to them.”

“I made a lot of memories and a large portion of my swimming career was spent here so I think it’s really a kind of fitting close to the dome to get a last lap in for everybody,” said Hunter Eaton, Class of 2017.

For some of the former swimmers, returning to the dome brought back memories of having to brave the fridged water during practice.

“It was so freezing cold in here the coach used to drag me out, throw about 10 towels on me, and told me to hover over the vents to get warm again because I’d be so cold and blue,” said Anne Powell, Class of 1980. “It was perfect today. I wish it could’ve been like this all through high school.”

“There’d be ice on the inside of the walls, it was so miserable,” said Dan Powell, Class of 1983. “It’s definitely an iconic building.”

Despite the memories of the cold water, Dan said it was exciting to see the post on Facebook allowing former swimmers to come back.

“I hadn’t really considered ever coming back,” Dan said. “But now I wish I’d come back sooner and watched a couple meets. But it’s neat coming back and seeing what they’re doing to the new building and really can’t wait to see the new pool.”

For Wilkins, he holds special memories in the dome as both a swimmer and coach.

“I guess my last meet when I graduated in 88′ was a good memory and I guess that Thursday night,” Wilkins said. “We broke three pool records, and it was the last meet in the dome.”

Former swimmers will have another opportunity to take one last lap in the Dome of Champions on Sunday, Feb. 28, and Saturday, March 6.

Those who wish to swim one final lap can sign up here.

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