Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Princeton, NJ 08540
Year Opened: 1990
Tigers in the Pool
Denunzio Pool is home to Princeton University's water polo programs as well as their swimming & diving teams. This review will focus on the water polo experience at Princeton. Although water polo is primarily thought of as a west coast sport, the Tigers have been an exception to the rule, making the NCAA Tournament eight times on the men's side. Denunzio Pool opened in 1990 and hosted the 2009 NCAA Water Polo Tournament. It is located next door to Jadwin Gymnasium, home to Princeton's basketball teams.
Food & Beverage 1
There is no concession stand at Denunzio Pool. However, there is a machine just inside the entrance that sells soda and water. Fans are also free to bring their own food and drink as long as they do not get anything on the pool deck, but as a typical water polo match lasts only around an hour of real time, there is little reason to bring anything more than a drink and maybe a light snack.
Before each match, a hype video will play on a video board as the overhead lights roll. However, that is about the only excitement you will see at Denunzio Pool besides the water polo match itself. The same board that shows the hype video doubles as a scoreboard, showing the score, game clock, and ejections. (In water polo, an "ejection" does not refer to a player being permanently removed from the game, like it would in other sports. Rather, they have to leave the game for 20 seconds for a foul while their team plays shorthanded, similar to a penalty and ensuing power play in ice hockey.) Seating is on uncomfortable concrete risers, but the games are usually short enough that it won't be too much of an issue.
Princeton has that feel of a small college town. but there is certainly plenty going on here. The Dinky Bar &
Kitchen, named for the NJ Transit line that connects the Princeton campus with Princeton Junction, is located in a former train station near campus. There are many more options in downtown Princeton, ranging from hoagies to seafood to pizza and more. Parking may be a challenge downtown, but there is much to do there even if you have to walk a bit from your car.
Most of the crowd at a Princeton water polo match will be the friends and family of the players involved, although a few others will show up as well. They will cheer after Princeton goals, but beyond that it is mostly quiet in here. Given how short a typical water polo match is, almost everyone stays for the whole thing.
Free parking is available in the Stadium Drive a short walk the street from the stadium. The procedure may be slightly different on weekday afternoons, so check the Princeton website if this applies to you. The Princeton Branch of NJ Transit, more commonly known as the Dinky, is a short commuter rail line (the shortest in the country in fact) connecting Princeton's campus with Princeton Junction on the Northeast Corridor. From the station, the stadium is about a 20-25 minute walk.
Once inside, restrooms are located at the top of the seating area. Given the small crowds, they are of a more than sufficient size.
Return on Investment 5
Admission to all Princeton soccer games is free. Parking is free too, and concessions are affordable. As a result, a game at Roberts Stadium can be an excellent value.
There are banners and displays all over Denunzio Pool dedicated to the history and accomplishments of Princeton swimming & diving and water polo.
Water polo is not the most popular college sport, especially on the east coast, and as a result, Princeton water polo is a pretty basic matchday experience. However, if you are a fan of the sport or just wanting to check out something new, you may want to head down to Denunzio Pool.