Just add water: 50 years of fast laps and splashy fun

by Lestraundra Alfred '11

On its 50th birthday, a few things you might not know about Wallace Memorial Pool:

  • It is named for Hugh Campbell Wallace (1863–1931), an early Tacoma land developer and politician (a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat), former Puget Sound trustee, advisor to President Woodrow Wilson, and ambassador to France from 1919 to 1921.
  • Wallace was also a philanthropist. He donated the clock and chimes in the tower of Tacoma’s Old City Hall and set up a trust to which institutions could apply for building grants. In 1956 the College of Puget Sound solicited the trust for assistance constructing a swimming pool. The request was funded, and the pool was dedicated on Jan. 6, 1957.
  • The men’s competitive swimming program began that year. A women’s swim team was formed in 1976. Intramural and recreational swimmers have been splashing around and turning laps at designated hours since the pool opened.
  • On October 13, during Homecoming weekend, current and past swim team members celebrated the program’s 50th anniversary and the 25th annual alumni swim meet. Don Duncan, longtime coach and beloved “grandfather of UPS swimming,” spoke briefly about how far UPS swimming has come since it began.

Among distinctions for UPS swimming: numerous All-American swimmers; five national titles for the women, three for the men; the women’s team has been Northwest Conference champions for the past 11 years straight; the men attained three NWC championships during the past 10 years.