October 28, 2007

Triangle Aquatic Center Opens

By Chris Cowperthwaite, NBC 17

CARY, N.C. -- After years of planning, a state of the art aquatics facility is finally open for business in Cary.

The Triangle Aquatic Center held a grand opening Sunday afternoon, with more than a thousand people there.

After a ceremonial pouring of water, TAC officially welcomed its very first swimmer,13 year old Stephanie Calleja, who won a free raffle to kick things off.

"It felt really really good," smiled Calleja. "I was just excited I got to go in there."

For TAC organizers, the swarm of people piling into the pool was the culmination of six years worth of planning.

"It's a great day for Cary and Wake County, to have a facility like this open after all these years," said Mike Curran, TAC's volunteer President. "As you can see behind me there's an awful lot of excitement from both children and adults."

"It's sweet. Our old pool is a piece of junk. This pool is so awesome," said Michael Harr after finishing a lap. "It's awesome."

For a lot of these kids, this was their first dip in the pool, but most of them say it certainly will not be their last.

"I swim on the swim team that swims here, so I'll be here like almost every day," said Emma Lux.

A lot of supporters say it's been amazing to watch the amount of private funding that made this all possible, considering neither Cary nor Wake County had to contribute a dime.

"There are tremendous things that can be accomplished when government stays out of the way. And I think this is a case where we certainly saw that happen," said Cary Mayor Ernie McAllister.

The facility cost more than $20 million to build, and that money was raised entirely with private donations.

The three pools hold more than a million gallons of water, and have been built for competition.

TAC already has several major competitions lined up and organizers say they're hoping to be busy from the get go.

This is TAC's first facility and now that it's been finished, they're hoping to start working on new pools around the area.