YMCA Renames Orlando Aquatic Center After Harris Rosen

Rowdy Gaines, two-time Gold Medal Olympian and VP of Aquatics for the YMCA of Central Florida, Orlando hotelier Harris Rosen, and Dr. Lucky Meisenheimer, an early YMCA Aquatic Center supporter/contributor participate in an inaugural swim at the newly renamed Rosen YMCA Aquactic Center.
Rowdy Gaines, two-time Gold Medal Olympian/VP of Aquatics for the YMCA of Central Florida, Harris Rosen, and Dr. Lucky Meisenheimer after an inaugural swim.

The YMCA Aquatic Center on I-Drive in Orlando has just been officially renamed the Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center in honor of prominent Orlando hotelier Harris Rosen,

Rosen, also avid swimmer, turned activist for the facility in 1992 when the private center, then called the Justus Aquatic Center, was shut down by the mortgage holder.

Respecting its place within the fabric of the Orlando community, and especially the swimming community, Rosen called upon celebrities, organizations, and even Orange County to help save the competitive swimming center.

Under his visionary leadership, the facility was ultimately gifted to the YMCA of Central Florida and revenue-generating programs were put in place to help offset operating costs.

Rosen, who led the fight against the center’s demise more than 25 years ago, has donated millions to the YMCA, some of which will continue to be used for renovations over the next few years.

“Harris Rosen took it upon himself to save this facility, and, at the time, gave the YMCA of Central Florida one of only two competitive swimming centers in Florida. This allowed us to increase our impact in the Central Florida community and it is only fitting to honor him by renaming this facility,” said Dan Wilcox, President and CEO, YMCA of Central Florida.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs joins youth swim team members in celebrating the debut of the newly-renamed Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs joins youth swim team members in celebrating the debut of the newly-renamed Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center.

The newly-dubbed Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center is a state-of-the-art facility featuring two Olympic-size swimming pools and new diving platforms. It is home for many competitive swimmers, divers and water polo players.

The facility was also selected to host the 2018 UANA Pan American Masters Championships, making it the second-ever American site to host the event. The 2,500-athlete competition will run until Aug. 12 with events like swimming, diving, synchronized swimming, water polo and open-water swimming. Competitors will represent 43 Swimming Federations in North, South, and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.

Rosen built Rosen Hotels & Resorts into the largest independent hotel company in Florida while never losing sight of those philanthropic roots, especially in relation to the community support of the facility.

The Harris Rosen Foundation has also contributed tens of millions of dollars to the founding and support of educational and youth-benefiting programs and scholarships throughout the Central Florida area.

“I am deeply honored by this recognition,” said Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, “I have been so blessed to be a part of this community and I hope this facility serves as a reminder to all the children and competitors who enter, that with courage, drive and determination, anything is possible.”

The Rosen YMCA Aquatic Center is located at 8422 International Drive. Visit YMCACentralFlorida.com for more information.

About Michelle Snow

Michelle is the owner and editor of CitySurfing Orlando. She also owns Zengrrl.com, is a freelance writer specializing in travel and entertainment, and has authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. She lives in Orlando near Disney, and hears Magic Kingdom fireworks every night.
Scroll To Top