The atmosphere at a
high school state swim meet is intense. In Iowa, spectators brave
the February cold and line up hours before the doors open to ensure
they will have the best possible vantage point for the
At the Marshalltown,
Iowa, Community Y, we’re using the latest in technology to
take that excitement level up a notch — and make every seat
in the house the equivalent of a poolside view.
A new video
projection system incorporating a 22-foot screen was installed in
the 1,700-seat natatorium in February. The multimedia system allows
for live video, recorded video and computer-generated graphics to
be displayed on the large screen during the meet. This means the
Community Y can tailor a multimedia presentation to specific events
hosted in the natatorium.
The Y staff and
volunteers were able to draw on the expertise of Fake Space, a
company with a wealth of experience in consultation, design,
installation and servicing of hundreds of large-scale visualization
solutions for clients such as Ford Motor Co., NASA, Boeing, Conoco
Phillips, John Deere, and the U.S. Army and Navy.
Fake Space provided
components for the project at cost and helped the volunteers with
installation. The project price was less than $23,000 and was paid
for by donations from local companies and the community, along with
fund-raising from the Y’s Swim Team Parents
commonly used business computer platforms, training time is kept to
a minimum. The system provides messaging, promotions and display of
live video, featuring the parade of athletes, the events of the
meet itself, team scoring, Hall of Fame recognition and live views
It was first used at
the 2006 Iowa Boys High School State Swim Meet held Feb. 19, and
two weeks later at the 2006 Boys and Girls YMCA State Swim Meet on
March 4-5. Approximately 2,100 spectators and swimmers attended the
high school meet and more than 3,500 attended the two-day Y
At one event alone,
screen advertising raised $1,500. Next year, we hope to double
that. But the system’s potential is still being developed. We
are looking at ways it can be incorporated into training (including
underwater recording) and how to expand that training statewide.
The Y already has a synchronized swimming program that will use the
system for training.
The Y will be using
the projection system to promote other programs and events at the
facility, including “dive-in” movies and its annual
fund-raising campaign — the Partner With Youth
relatively minor enhancements, the system will be able to broadcast
to the Y’s in-house television system and to Internet sites.
This will give people from around the country the opportunity to
share in the excitement of Marshalltown’s swimming
Jason Beeghly is
the aquatics director at the Community Y of Marshalltown, Iowa.
Beeghly manages all aspects of the aquatics facilities, which
include the 1,700-seat, eight-lane swim natatorium. During the
summer, he also oversees the operation of a city-owned outdoor
aquatics center, which includes pools with play features, two
slides and a lazy river. He serves as the aquatics chair of the
Iowa YMCA Membership and Program Network, and is a member of the
Iowa YMCA Competitive Rules committee.