A Splashy Debut

DeGuerre Pool opens, and students dive right in.

September 2023

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DeGuerre Pool

Stanford University Archives

Over 50 years, Stanford’s aquatics complex has seen it all—flip turns of six dozen Olympic swimmers at practice, frolicking frosh at New Student Orientation’s MuFuUnSun, two women’s water polo titles before a home crowd.

Originally named for the deGuerre family, the center opened in November 1973 at a cost of $2 million. Combined with the passage of Title IX the year before, the new pool provided robust opportunities, especially for women. Today, swimmers Jenny Thompson, ’95, and Katie Ledecky, ’21, hold spots one and two on the list of most decorated Cardinal Olympians.

Rebuilt at the turn of the century and renamed Avery Aquatic Center, the facility still features that main pool. “[It] has pretty much stayed the same. But the complex as a whole has changed a lot,” says David Shinkle, assistant director of facilities for Stanford Athletics. “I would say [it’s] the best outdoor swimming facility in the country, probably top five in the world.”

Shinkle keeps the now middle-aged pool going. “Some of the piping is original, so that’s insane,” he says. “To be able to say, ‘Well, this pool has been here for 50 years, even through the different alterations of it,’ is really awesome.”

Christine Foster is a writer in Connecticut. Email her at stanford.magazine@stanford.edu.

Vintage 1973 Collection

Stanford is 50! It turns out we’re not the only one. Walk with us down memory lane as we sample some of the wonders and horrors of the 1973–74 academic year on the Farm, and in the world around.

Start the Presses

Were Golden

89 Rodins Find a New Home

A Godfather Delivers a Ransom Payment

A Splashy Debut

The Winds of Freedom

SLE Club

‘Until the Birds Took Over the Singing’

The Poet and the Coup

Steps Toward Saving Salamanders Are Set in Motion

A Sequel for Supersonic Flight?

The First Stanford Astronaut Returns from Space

The End of the Nursing Education Era

Keepers of the Flame

50 Years After the Stanford Murders, Three of Four Families Have Answers

A Classic Is Released

A Young Lawyer Wins an Educational Equity Case

Joining the Force


The Axe Is Stolen One Last Time

Fit to Be Tried

For Commencement Speaker, a Watergate Special Prosecutor

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