Florida Aquatics Swimming & Training (FAST) held a public grand opening this past Saturday, March 26th, to showcase the highly anticipated new state-of-the-art swimming and training facility in Ocala, Florida.

Trustee Kenneth D. Colen and Head Coach Brian Schrader with the FAST Falcons mascot.

The community was invited out to explore the grounds, meet the coaching staff, and have a chance to sign up for various FAST swim programs and the FAST Falcons, the official competitive swim club of FAST. Along with membership and program sign-ups, those who attended were able to test out the water in the facility’s outdoor pool designed by Myrtha Pools, which was the official 2021 Olympic Trials Warmup Pool last year in Omaha. Kids of all ages also enjoyed the outdoor splash pad.

Local children enjoyed open swim at FAST during the grand opening event.

The fun didn’t end there, as guests were greeted by several notable athletes including 12-time U.S. Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte, Cali Condors team member and world-record holder Coleman Stewart, and another Cali Condor, Kelsi Dahlia, a 2016 U.S. Olympic team member along with Ocala’s own Elise Bauer of the Florida Gators swim team. All three TYR professional athletes (TYR is the official swimwear supplier for FAST), and Bauer signed autographs and posed for photos with visitors.

Community members of all ages made a splash at the FAST grand opening event.

Other event activities included a flag dedication ceremony by West Port JROTC, outdoor bounce houses, on-site food trucks and complimentary ice cream from Mr. B’s Big Scoop. There was even a live falcon on display to promote the newly forming FAST Falcons swim team. The day ended with a splash as guests at FAST broke the world record for the “Most clothed people to jump in a pool at once.”

Since breaking ground in October 2020, FAST has caught the eye of many due to the attention to detail given during the facility’s design process. The indoor natatorium houses a temperature-controlled indoor 10-lane 50m/25yd competition pool and state-of-the art air quality filtration and cooling system to ensure both swimmers and spectators remain comfortable both in and out of the pool. In addition, there is a 7-lane 50m/25yd/25m outdoor competition pool with shade structures, an indoor 2,475 sq. ft. dryland fitness center and spectator seating to accommodate 2,000 guests.

While FAST will appeal to professional swimmers, the venue is geared towards providing programming and opportunities to the local community and swimmers of all ages and abilities. The Circle Square Foundation has announced the launch of Cannonball Kidz – a program that will offer free swim lessons to every third-grade student in Marion County.

Local children enjoyed open swim at FAST during the grand opening event.

“Cannonball Kidz is just the start of what FAST will offer the community,” states Trustee of the Circle Square Foundation, Kenneth D. Colen. “Seeing families swim in the pool this past weekend brought this whole project full circle, and I am excited to see the impact this facility will have on our local youth and the community.”

The doors to FAST will officially open to the public on Tuesday, April 5th.

For more information on facility hours, job opportunities, or programs offered at FAST, please visit FloridaFAST.com or call 352-820-4222.