March 28, 2013
BERKELEY - In order to enhance the training environment for the Golden Bears' nationally ranked swimming & diving and water polo programs, a privately funded new facility is being considered to be built along Bancroft Way adjacent to the Tang Center.
The centerpiece would be a 52-meter by 25-yard pool, complete with a moving bulkhead and the campus' first diving tower. Low-profile buildings would house men's and women's locker rooms, along with a team meeting room and multipurpose room. Though primarily intended for training, the planned center would feature a deck that can accommodate 500 spectators on moveable bleachers for occasional competitions.
Cal is one of only three NCAA institutions to provide participation opportunities in both men's and women's swimming & diving and men's and women's water polo. Together, they account for approximately 120 student-athletes annually. The four teams have combined for 20 national championships and 90 Olympic medals, and each program was well represented last summer in London when they amassed 13 of Cal's total of 17 medals at the 2012 Games. In history, the men's water polo team has won 13 NCAA team titles, women's swimming has captured three of the past five national crowns, and men's swimming will be aiming for its third consecutive NCAA championship this weekend.
Despite the overwhelming success of these programs, they are constrained by a lack of capacity for both training and competition, both in terms of times available for practice and competition and the amount of water space. In addition to serving as Cal's home training and competition pool for the past 30 years, current Spieker Aquatics Complex is used on a daily basis by hundreds of recreational, community and master's swimmers, physical education students and a number of postgraduate swimmers, such as Olympic medalists Natalie Coughlin and Nathan Adrian, who continue to train with their Cal coaches.
Once a new pool opens, the Spieker facility, which will continue to serve as the primary competition home for the Golden Bears, will be able to offer more time to swimmers from the university and surrounding communities. In addition, Spieker pool will be able to offer improved programs and services that can benefit the aquatics needs of the entire campus and surrounding area.
While fundraising for the center is underway, a Subsequent Environmental Impact Report is being circulated to evaluate the impact of the facility. The project will require final authorization from the UC Board of Regents. Once critical funding milestones are met and approval is given, construction is expected to take 12-15 months to complete.