Canham Natatorium

Donald B. Canham Natatorium

SIZE: 59,000 square feet; 8-lane, 50-meter pool; Diving well with one- and three-meter springboards and 10-meter platform
Swimming and Diving: Nov. 8, 1988
  • Women: U-M 113, Bowling Green 84
  • Men: U-M 135, Bowling Green 69
Women's Water Polo: Feb. 17, 2001
  • Stanford 17, Michigan 3

The University of Michigan continues its commitment to athletic excellence with the Donald B. Canham Natatorium, home of the Michigan swimming and diving and women's water polo teams. Considered one of the finest college-owned swimming and diving facilities in the nation when it was constructed in 1988, a renovation in 1998 upgraded Canham to a state-of-the art swimming and diving facility.

The 59,000-square foot facility houses a 50-meter pool, eight lanes wide, that can be divided into two separate 25-yard pools by movable bulkheads. The Dick Kimball Diving Pool, located at the west end of the facility, features an Olympic Tower, one- and three-meter springboards, and a hot tub. On the east end of the mezzanine level is one of two full-service training rooms on the U-M athletic campus, which includes physical therapy modalities, a cast room, running pool and physician examination rooms. One of Michigan's three weight training and conditioning facilities also is located in the natatorium.

Canham Natatorium also features coaches' offices, a team room that houses team meetings and allows athletes a place to study and relax. The team room has full audio/video equipment, two computers with internet connections, desks, couches and a kitchen.

Completed in 1988 at a cost of approximately $8.5 million, Canham Natatorium underwent comprehensive renovations in 1998 to ensure its presence well into the 21st century. A new roofing system was installed, while the ventilation system was revised to reflect greater concern for the health of athletes. Both pools have new filtration equipment and piping that is totally resistant to corrosion. In addition, ceramic tile was installed on the interior of both pools, creating an environment that is more conducive to faster swimming, as well as more precise diving. Finally, a state-of-the-art lighting system for the competition pool area was installed, permitting lighting levels to be adjusted based upon the level of activity in competition.

The natatorium is named for former Michigan athletic director Don Canham, who retired from his post in June 1988. Canham was an NCAA high jump champion for Michigan in 1940 and went on to coach the men's track and field team before becoming Michigan's fifth athletic director in 1968.

In 2002, Michigan dedicated the diving pool in Canham Natatorium to legendary diving coach Dick Kimball, who retired after the season following 43 years of service to the university. Kimball, who was himself a world-class diver for the Wolverines in the late 1950s, coached nine Olympic medalists and tutored five NCAA Champions in his career. Kimball's divers also collected a record 33 Big Ten Conference trophies.

Designed for Michigan varsity swimmers and divers, the natatorium is available to U-M student-athletes at all times, year-round. As a result, the swimming and diving coaching staffs are able to develop training programs around individual academic schedules, allowing student-athletes to pursue any educational opportunity without interfering with scheduled workouts.

Since its inception in 2001, the Michigan water polo program has called the natatorium home. The Wolverines didn't ease into the home slate, challenging the nation's top ranked team, Stanford, on Feb. 17, 2001 in its first home game as a varsity squad. The Wolverines lost 17-3 to the Cardinal but a tradition of coming out of the gate against stiff competition was born. U-M earned its first victory at Canham on March 24, 2001, with a 15-5 triumph over Slippery Rock.

Canham Natatorium, which has a seating capacity of 1,200 people, hosted the 2005 NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship and 1996 NCAA Women's Swimming and Diving Championships in addition to 10 Big Ten Conference Championships: the 1989, 1993, 2002, and 2009 women's conference meets and the 1990, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2008 and 2014 men's meets. Canham also has been the site of the 1993 U.S. Open and the 1994 U.S. Speedo Junior National Championship. In April 1992, the Phillips 66 National Diving Championship, part of the Olympic Trials, was conducted at the natatorium.

Suspended around the pool are numerous banners recognizing the success of Michigan's previous swimming and diving and water polo teams. The east end of the pool showcases Michigan's NCAA national champion teams. Since 1937, the men have won 12 official national titles, an NCAA record. Michigan's storied men's program also captured seven unofficial national titles prior to 1937, when the national championship became an NCAA-sanctioned event. On the south side of the building, and continuing around on the north, are banners representing each of Michigan's Big Ten champion teams. The men won 10 consecutive conference titles from 1986-95 and regained the crown in 1997, 2000, 2003, 2008-09 and from 2011-14, while the women won a conference-record 12 straight from 1987-98 and also won the 2001 and 2004 titles. Michigan is proud to claim more Big Ten swimming and diving champions than any other conference member.

In only its second season as a varsity sport, the water polo team claimed its place amongst the rafters, winning a CWPA Southern Division and Eastern championship. The Maize and Blue now proudly hang eight division (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009) and four Eastern Championship (2002, 2005, 2008 and 2009) banners inside the natatorium.

Address and Directions

Canham Natatorium 500 E. Hoover St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104-3715
Google Directions/Map

From Detroit Metro Airport and points east: Take I-94 west to State Street (exit 177). Turn right. Travel north approximately 2 1/4 miles through two stoplights. Turn left just past Yost Ice Arena into parking lot. Canham Natatorium is located at the northwest end of the parking lot, next to the Intramural Sports Building. Canham Natatorium is also accessible from Hoover Street.

From Chicago and points west: Take I-94 east to State Street (exit 177). Turn left. Travel north approximately 2 1/4 miles through three stoplights. Turn left just past Yost Ice Arena into parking lot. Canham Natatorium is located at the northwest end of the parking lot, next to the Intramural Sports Building. Canham Natatorium is also accessible from Hoover Street.

From Toledo and points south: Take U.S. 23 north to I-94 west. Follow directions from Detroit Metro Airport.

From Flint and points north: Take U.S. 23 south to I-94 west. Follow directions from Detroit Metro Airport.