Tupelo Aquatic Center Draws Swimmers From All Over Mississippi

Swimmers and water lovers, rejoice. Tupelo has a brand-new Aquatic Center, and it’s making quite a splash in the community and beyond.

“Everyone who visits our aquatic center, whether locals or out-of-towners, is just in awe,” says Amy Kennedy, director of the Tupelo Aquatic Center. “The community has been very supportive of our programs and the facility.”

The grand opening of the Tupelo Aquatic Center was held in December 2013, and all-new programming began in January 2014. The facility’s main attraction is a heated 12,625-square-foot competition/recreation pool with diving boards, a climbing wall, an obstacle course, lap swimming and several guided aquatics programs. 

Shockwave Aquatics

Tupelo's competitive swimming program, Shockwave Aquatics, holds practices and swim meets at the Tupelo Aquatic Center.

“You would have to drive three hours or more to find an aquatic facility of this quality. It’s top-notch,” says Lucas Smith, Shockwave Aquatics head coach. “It’s been so great to be able to practice consistently in the new facility without worrying about the weather or maintenance complications. The facility also has nice changing rooms and restrooms, places to sit and conduct business, and plenty of room for large groups.”

In its short history, the Tupelo Aquatics Center has already hosted two regional swim meets and one state meet, drawing swim teams from all over Mississippi. Those events have had a positive economic impact on the local economy.

“We held our first major meet February 27 through March 2. That championship meet brought 368 swimmers and their families to our facility and to Tupelo for a three-night stay,” Kennedy says. “People love coming to Tupelo because of our hotels, restaurants and shopping venues. Now they love coming to Tupelo because of our aquatic facility as well.”

The City of Tupelo was able to win three championship bids for swim meets in 2014 before the Aquatic Center even opened. Two more large meets are scheduled for June 27-29 and July 17-20.

“That shows that our hospitality and our facility is top notch,” Kennedy says. “By the end of July, the Tupelo Aquatic Center will have hosted six swim meets. We will also host the 2015 Southern Zone.”

Elvis Presley Teaching Pool

In addition to the Competition/Recreation Pool, the center has a nearly 3,000-square-foot Elvis Presley Teaching Pool, which was sponsored by the Elvis Presley Fan Club. It is used for learn-to-swim and fitness classes.

“With our two separate pools, we are able to run all sorts of programming simultaneously,” Kennedy says. 

Swim lessons are offered for all ages from babies to adults, and the highly successful Kids Power Hour helps children take exercise to the water. 

“Our two most popular adult fitness programs are the Golden Waves and Aqua Zumba classes,” Kennedy says. “The Golden Waves work out in the warm water pool to improve strength, flexibility, range of motion and balance. The Aqua Zumba is a fun calorie-burning workout that incorporates kickboxing and aqua explosion moves.”

The center also has inflatable games that can be anchored into the pool.

“Children love those, and even the young at heart get a kick out of trying to balance on them,” Kennedy says. “Our kayaks and paddleboards are a huge hit too, as well as the aqua climbing wall.”

With so many fun and engaging physical activities available, it’s not surprising Tupelo was recognized in February 2014 for its healthy living efforts by the National League of Cities.

“Recreation is a prescription for better health,” Kennedy says. “And water is the perfect medicine.”

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