Thanks to Steve Navarro for contributing this story:
Any day that a new aquatic facility breaks ground is a good day for the sport of swimming. Sitting on the most western tip of the state of Texas is the city of El Paso, a city that is rich in swimming tradition and recently was home to swimmers like Lara Jackson (American record holder 50yd Free), Will Licon (NCAA Champion 200BR/4IM), Sean Greishop (Junior Nationals Champion and NAG record holder 500/1650Free), and Victoria Edwards (Junior Nationals Medalist and Texas State Champion 100Fly). With all this talent coming out of this west Texas town with a population of nearly 700,000 people, you would think that there would have already been a state of the art facility. Unfortunately, this is not the case and adequate pool time and space is hard to come by for local USA clubs and high schools. Licon, who left El Paso before high school in search of better facilities and better competition is very happy about the groundbreaking “I am so excited to hear about this new facility. It will attract bigger meets and better competition and young swimmers from El Paso will not have to leave the city as often in search of bigger venues. It is a great day for El Paso Swimming.” In high school swimming, region 1-5A (West Texas Smaller Schools) consists of 30 teams and 16 of them are from El Paso. In region 1-6A (West Texas Bigger Schools) 7 of the 17 schools are from El Paso. Despite the city representing such a large portion of the region, all these schools currently travel to Andrews and Lubbock for their regional championship meets because of the inability to host a meet of this type.
Thanks to a community getting behind a group of motivated parents and swim coaches this all could change in the near future. The 13.4 million dollar project is being funded by a Quality of Life Bond that passed in 2012. According to El Paso Aqua Posse Swim Coach Leann Carr, “The pool is being built at risk, meaning that the project manager will be in charge and it will be built fast and on budget”. The facility will be a two pool facility using a current pool that already exists. The main long course pool will be done by May 2016, and the adjacent existing pool will be renovated and attached by August 2016. Carr also added “El Paso is looking forward to being able to host big championship type meets, training camps for teams, and several other activities that could not be offered before”.