Thursday, June 5, 2008

San Marcos unveils new aquatics facility


It’s been 726 days since anyone so much as dipped a toe in the pool at San Marcos High School.
So it comes as no surprise that when school officials signed off on construction of the new aquatics facility a few months ahead of schedule, it stirred up a bit of interest among the Royals faithful.

“We’ve all been very patient,” junior Sam Boysel, a water polo and swim team member, told a crowd of school leaders, students, parents and community members gathered on the newly finished concrete deck on Thursday.
“We’re all very excited,” he added, “all us swimmers and water polo players.”
And after a series of quick speeches, their wait paid off when two Royals hit the pool as the first leg in a water-breaking relay. Soon after, dozens of swimmers and water polo players hopped in and cavorted in their new home.
“They’ve been asking me questions for a month,” said Jeff Ashton, head coach of men’s aquatics.
In his third year as a coach, Ashton had one season with a pool and suffered through the next five without a true home game. It’s a good feeling, he said, to finally have the Royals pool back in operation.
Brian Roth, head coach of women’s aquatics, described months upon months of practicing at other pools in the wee hours of the morning, having the lights cut out in the middle of an evening practice and fighting traffic on a daily basis.
“I’m happy to announce it’s over,” he said.
Student-athletes who use the pool couldn’t agree more.
“It’s been rough,” said Max Gomez-Divine, who played water polo and swam during his four years at San Marcos. “It’s so much better to have your own pool.”
Although the graduating senior won’t get to compete as a Royal in the new facility, he said he plans to stick around during the summer and hang out with his teammates.
Along with an upgrade to a 25-meter by 25-yard pool, the project also included disability access lifts, a one-meter diving board, a new scoreboard and an on-deck timing system.
And while the pool is among the smaller aquatics venues in town — other facilities are typically 50 meters by 25 yards — Roth said he’s excited about the atmosphere it will create.
“It’s a real small, tight-packed environment,” he said. “It’ll get loud out here.”
The $2.3 million project also involved rehabilitating the outdoor basketball court, where construction workers staged equipment and materials, as well as purchasing new pool equipment, windows for the pool office and new gates to the aquatics facility.
San Marcos Aquatics Boosters also provided spectator bleachers not covered in the project budget.
“It’s bigger, it’s deeper and it’s finished,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Sarvis said to cheers from the crowd.
He praised taxpayers for funding the massive overhaul by approving Measure V, a $67-million bond measure passed in 2000 and put toward numerous projects throughout the district.
Carl Mayrose, project manager, described the pool renovation as one of the toughest he’s seen. Working in a confined space made it tough to demolish the old pool, excavate earth and build the new facility, he said.
Crews also had to flip the deep end to the west side of the facility after bumping into the massive foundation from the neighboring gym to the east.
Nonetheless, workers brought the project in on budget and several months in advance — officials initially expected construction to last until August.
“I am personally very grateful this project is complete,” Principal Craig Morgan said.
Although coaches plan to start summer practices at full bore as soon as graduation ends next week, the official opening event is expected to be the first home game of the boy’s water polo season in September.

No comments: