FLASHBACK: The Dive, Past and Present

In the interest of preserving and celebrating our illustrious history of over 150 years, The Fourth Crown presents the second of a 2,928,608 part series, FLASHBACK, chronicling the most important events in Gustavus Adolphus College’s history.

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The swimming pool before The Dive.
Courtesy of the College and Lutheran Church Archives, Gustavus Adolphus College

Our second installment looks back to the 1985 transformation that turned the campus swimming pool to what is currently known as The Dive. Commonly referred to as a “sweltering hotbed of sex, sin, and dance,” The Dive is one of the busiest places on campus on Friday nights. As the music blares, couples grind, and God cries, the legend of this mystical place grows.

With the rumors of renovations to The Dive echoing throughout campus in recent memory, today we look back to the original transformation to The Dive as we know it now in 2014.

Before Lund, the athletic facilities were housed in the Student Union, with the pool residing in the basement. Six days and 20 hours a week, this pool was home to the swim teams. But on Friday nights, the pool transformed from one of the school’s premier athletic facilities to an even more scandalous dance club than The Dive in its current state.

Gustavus graduate Mildred Charles ’43 said, “Friday nights at the pool got real nasty. It was always filled with people just all over each other. So much more dope than it is now. I went back to check out what it was like, and shit’s weak now. F’real.”


Group of young college men looking for girls.
Courtesy of the College and Lutheran Church Archives, Gustavus Adolphus College

Donald Reese ’55 said, “Oh I remember strolling over to the natatorium on Friday nights from my double room in Valley View, and I was always tryna get with some ladies. And them freshman girls, you knew they’d be in the deep end.”

The “glory days” as they were called were known for their lawlessness. At this point, Campus Safety did not check IDs at the door. In fact, the only staffed people watching for safety were a duo of student lifeguards who were often taking part in the festivities anyway.

Lifeguard Stan Cheeks ’79 said, “Let’s be real here for a minute. I was guardin’ nobody’s life there. Even we lifeguards were like, ‘fuck it, let’s get wet. YOLO!’”

Eventually, the administration caught wind of the myriad of safety protocol violations, which happened to coincide with the erection of Lund Center, which became home to all things sports. The swimming pool was then converted into the multi-purpose facility now known as The Dive. With that, the wet and wild Friday nights were over.

Or were they? Although The Dive has become milder since the renovation, scholars argue that it is no less wet. Researcher Dr. Wendell Oliver argued, “While The Dive might lack the raw, sexual energy of those days of yore, it is just as wet—perhaps even more so—due to inexplicable sweating of the walls surrounding the facility.”

No matter your opinion on The Dive, it has undoubtedly challenged authority in every way, dating back to its initial days as a swimming pool. And with the potential of changes in the near future, where does The Dive go from here?