More than 50 years of ups and downs: The rich history of International Swimming Hall of Fame/Aquatic Center

Fort Lauderdale’s International Swimming Hall of Fame pool complex, known by many as the Aquatic Center, is a place where swimmers and divers around the world have trained and competed.

But for most of the past 20 years, swimmers, divers, civic activists and city officials have argued over how to renovate it and return it to its prominence in the competitive world. On Friday, the city finally broke ground on a $28 million improvement project of the renowned center.

Here’s a look through the years.


The Aquatic Center opens. Swimming greats Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Crabbe, and Esther Williams are present, and the event is aired on CBS-TV. The same year, a nonprofit group forms to bring a swimming shrine to town.

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