CRC Member Spotlight - John & Dot Matthews

Tell us about yourself:

John: I grew up in southern California.  After college, in 1967, I moved to Atlanta to attend Tech’s Graduate School of City Planning (now called the Department of City and Regional Planning). Beginning in 1969, I had a series of jobs as a planner and budget officer with the city of Atlanta and Fulton County.  Retiring from Fulton County in 1999, I returned to school taking a degree in Tech and GSU’s Joint Program in Public Policy, receiving my degree in 2006.  I taught classes as an adjunct while working at the city and county, in both planning and policy beginning in 1987 at both Tach and GSU.

Dot: I have always been a water person. I grew up in Miami, Florida, took Red Cross swim lessons as a kid, and hung out on South Beach as a teenager. (South Beach is quite different today; then it was a dump, but it had a great bagel shop! As a teenager, I was also an avid water skier. After marrying and moving to Atlanta, John taught me to swim freestyle laps at Georgia State's pool, where I swam regularly in the early 70's until the day before our first child was born in September '76. Then in January '88 I began working at Georgia Tech and gained access to CRC. After the kids got old enough to leave alone while we exercised I started swimming around 1990. In the interim years, we tag-teamed running. I never enjoyed running, even though I did it for many years. Sadly, runners' high is a myth to me.

Georgia Tech is a special place to me. I was an academic advisor for 18 years in the then City & Regional Planning Program (now School of City & Regional Planning). I love the high energy, socially conscious, computer savvy, bright, idealistic students and faculty there. It's my home away from home.

How long have you been members of the CRC: 

John: My first CRC type activity at Tech was in the old swimming pool near the old Naval Armory --- where the Bobby Dodd ticket office is now located. That was the pool where undergraduate students had to take the legendary drown-proofing class. We have been members of the current CRC since the day it opened, right after the Olympics, before there was a roof.

Dot: We first joined CRC, then SAC in 1990, so 27 years. CRC opened before the '96 Summer Olympics, and we were there when it opened.

Where are we most likely to find you in the CRC?

John: In the pool! Where else - It’s objectively the best collegiate pool in the U.S. I also have used the weight equipment to rehab my knees.

Dot: Swimming pool. I favor the comp pool when available because the water temp is slightly cooler than the Crawford pool.

Which dimension of wellness do you feel most connected to while engaging with the CRC (professional, spiritual, social, physical, or emotional):

John: Physical wellness is why I spend time in the CRC. I see the CRC as a very important part of Tech and its implicit mission of developing “the whole person”.  

Dot: I enjoy the social aspect as well as the physical. Staying physically active also helps me stay positive and motivated.

What is your favorite CRC story:

John: For one year in college, I was a diver on the swim team. I was there mainly to pick up points in dual meets when the other team didn’t have a diver. But I did learn to appreciate what divers do. A couple of years ago divers from other schools visited Tech prior to the NCAA Swimming and Diving Finals to get used to the pool. A guy from Notre Dame... hustled to the top of the 10-meter platform, ran into space and, with a Tarzan yell, threw a very nice flying (really flying) 1 ½ somersault. To me, that was the best demonstration of a “diver’s attitude” I have ever seen. I can’t even walk comfortably to the edge of that platform, let alone step off.

Dot: Back before the Olympics, when it was still called SAC (Student Athletic Center) there was a bubble pool where the leisure pool is now. It was connected by a walkway covered by an awning. I remember how 'fun' it was running from the pool to the locker room, soaking wet in sub-freezing temperatures.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your time as a member of the CRC:

John:The CRC is a wonderful facility with very good programs. We are all very lucky to have it. But, remember, it was built for the 1996 Olympics. Olympic facilities do not have to last more than three or four weeks and many are built that way. The folks that work to operate maintain the CRC deserve many thanks.

Dot: I also use the gym and track intermittently, just when the pools are overloaded or closed, or I need a break from swimming. Saidah did a personal training term with me, and I must say she actually got me to kind of like doing the treadmill, lateral and weights, among other things. She's such an inspiration! 

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