Monday, December 21, 2015

Plantation Country Club was established in the mid 1950's and Ralph Wright was the head coach. In 1957 the club featured first indoor/outdoor competitive pool in the Eastern United States 1 and was located at 8609 Westport Rd Louisville, KY 40242
Plantation Country club consisted of a 16 foot deep diving well, 50 meter pool and a 25 yard pool. The smaller pool was built in 1963 and was first convertible pool on the East Coast. 2 The 25 yard pool had was convertible from an open air pool in the summer and an enclosed pool in the winter. The building that protected the 25 yard pool in winter sat on rails allowing the it to be moved away from the pool in summer. Large doors existed on the exit side of the building allowing for the pools two twelve foot and three foot diving boards to pass beyond the wall of the structure. Electric motors were mounted in the building that were used to move the structure. The indoor training facility included a trampoline and waist harness used for training divers with their diving rotations. Along the wall were a collection of weight bars and plates that were welded to the bars in different sizes. Advanced swimmers would use these as part of their conditioning. Steel plates and insulation were used to create an entry to the snack shack next to the pool and create a hallway in front of the clubhouse giving swimmers access to the locker room facilities.
The 16 foot deep diving well consisted of a three foot and twelve foot diving boards as well as a five and ten meter diving platforms. There was a target painted on the bottom of the diving well just in front of the five and ten meter platforms the divers would attempt to hit when they jumped off. Since the 50 meter pool and the diving well was separated by a bridge you could watch the divers reach the bottom of the pool by looking under the bridge. When I was ten year old I jumped off the ten meter platform once and the impact of hitting the water knocked the wind out of me.
Plantation Country Club Swim team record The Plantation Country Club Swim team had an impressive record and was considered by some "was the biggest and best swim team in the Eastern United States"3
  • 1957 - Swim team consisted of 30 members.
  • 1958 through 1961 - Team grows to 125 members.
  • 1961 - new American record 110 yard (100 meters) breaststroke set by Ralph Wright.
  • 1965 - Three Plantation swimmers represented the United States on the U.S. team which defeated the Canadian All-Star team that year.
  • 1965 - Plantation swimmers set five new men's American records.
  • 1965 - Plantation Swim Team had grown to over 300 swimmers. The team won championship meets in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, and won the Mid-West Regional Championships.
  • 1965 - 55 Plantation swimmers were given National Age Group Rankings making it one of the top teams in the country.
  • 1966 - Runner up at the Long Distance National Championship.
  • 1966 - Fall of this year found Plantation swimmers on the following college teams: Indiana, Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky, Alabama, Yale, Florida State, Washington University and Villanova.
  • 1966 - Plantation had 13 first place national age group{p rankings.
  • 1966 - Plantation Swim Club had 11 qualifiers to swim at A.A. U. Nationals.
  • 1966 - There were 13 individual state champions at Plantation.
  • 1969 - Plantation wins Region 6 Senior Women's Championship.
  • 1969 - Long Course Outdoor National Swimming and Diving Championships were held at and televised from Plantation Swim Club.
  • 1973 - National Outdoor Long Course Swimming and Diving Championships were again held at and televised from Plantation Swim Club.4
Interviewed an employee at the Louisville Indoor Racquet Club (LIRC) August 20155
  • Plantation Country Club was strong through 1979. The source helped as a timer when her son was on the swim team
  • Plantation had several big meets throughout 1975 - 1979
  • The 25 yard pool was filled in some time after 1979
  • Plantation was big before Lakeside
  • Tommy List was the head coach until 2004
  • The source worked with Patti Smith who was also an instructor
Notes from Michael Pfeifer6
  • There was a historical place between the womens and mens bathroom that discussed the historical significance of the club. I wonder what happened to it?
  • When you drove by Plantation you could see the kids jumping off the high dive and then one day you stopped seeing them. I checked to find out why and was told that the concrete on the tower had decayed and they had to close the 10 meter diving platform due to insurance issues.
  • Mike Pheifer's family were not members of Plantation and it cost about $3.00 to swim there there. You could swim at E.P. Tom Sawyer for $.50 so they went there.
The End of Plantation Country Club
Some time before 1979(see above reference) and 1985 the 25 yard pool was filled in leaving only the 50 meter pool and diving well in operation.7
The club filed for bankruptcy in 1985 and closed, but reopened in the late '80s when it was purchased by Marilyn Rueff and her family. The club was operated until it was closed in 2004. Some believe that once Tom Sawyer came and was so close, it was difficult for people to choose to pay to swim at Plantation which contributed to its decline. Admission at Plantation ranged from $6 to $8, compared to $3 for adults and most children at Sawyer Park. In 2003 the club had a couple hundred members. The pool has suffered sizable financial losses in previous years. Owner Marilyn Rueff decided not to reopen the club in 2004 because the pool was deteriorating and the business had lost money. The walls of the pool had numerous cracks, and the pool leaked despite multiple repairs. In the summer of 2003 the pool had to be filled with water five times. Even with all of the concrete, painting, maintenance and extensive labor and financial costs, there were still leaks. Refilling the 700,000-gallon Olympic-size pool costs thousands of dollars. It was estimated that to fix the pool, the concrete likely would need to be replaced, essentially reconstructing it and it was estimated the cost could top one million dollars.8

Satellite view Plantation country club 2002.  Google Earth

25 meter Pool

25 Meter Pool

1973 - 1974 swimming certificate

1973 Swimming Certificate

Achievement Aard

Beginner Swimmer Certification

Beginner Swimmer Certification

Practice tennis court that remains

 Standing in front of where the club house once was

 Standing in front of where the club house once was
Standing where the diving well once was 

Remnants of the back fence where the diving well once was 

 Circle in front of where the club house once was.  At one time this was a fountain

View of the Louisville Indoor racquet club next to where Plantation Country Club once was

 View of the Louisville Indoor racquet club next to where Plantation Country Club once was

 Entry sign that once was the entrance to Plantation Country Club

View of the trees that were just beyond where the diving well once was

The Plantation Dental Center was located here when Plantation Country club Existed

Ribbons from Plantation Country Club

Plantation Country  Club Swimming Certificate

My Sister Sheri's Plantation Country Club membership Card
My Sister Sheri's Plantation Country Club membership Card


    1 Ralph Wright Natatorium
    3 Barry McClain
    5 Michael Pheifer
    6 Interview with Steve Rueff July 2015
    7 Interview with Steve Rueff July 2015
    8 Headline: Plantation club pulls plug on pool, Courier - Journal - Louisville, Ky. Rebecca Neal June 9, 2004