Cal Finalizes Plans for New $15 Million Dollar Aquatics Facility

Following suit of their Pac 12 rivals USC, the University of California, Berkeley, has announced plans to construct a new $15 million aquatics facility to supplement the existing Spieker Aquatics Complex.

This is a renewed sign of commitment for an aquatics program that has been one of the most successful in the country for the last five years: an about-face to early in the millennium when many feared for the future of the swim teams.

The new pool will be an athletics-only facility, which will open up more time in Spieker for the general student body.

The project will be funded by Cal Aquatic Legends, an alumni donor group; that group, in fact, has negotiated for full control over the construction of the facility, including working with architects and supervising the construction on land that has been granted by the university.

The new facility would have a 50-meter by 25-yard outdoor pool, as well as a new platform diving tower. Cal has sent Kahley Rowell to the NCAA Championships as a platform diver the last two years, despite her having to use Stanford’s facility to train.

This pool won’t be quite as elaborate as the remodeled aquatics center at USC that broke ground late last year, but it will be able to seat 500 spectators and should be more than enough to host dual meets and water polo matches (though the school has declared its primary function as training). It will, however, put Cal into the ranks of schools with multiple 50-meter pools on campus alongside programs like Stanford and Tennessee.

Construction of the new pool is expected to take 12-15 months to complete. The new facility will be located on the very southwest corner of campus, replacing an old parking lot, and about a block away from Spieker.

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7 years ago

Did they break ground yet?

Joel Lin
9 years ago

USA Swimming twice chose Stanford for the pre-Olympic training camps in 2004 and in 2008. The venue moved to U Tennessee in 2012. With two 50m facilities and ample hotel / housing right nearby, why not Cal for that venue in 2016?

The only on campus possibility for a USA selection meet remains Stanford. Other than that it is a temp pool in a hockey rink thing these days.

SCSC Supporter
9 years ago

Santa Clara Swim Club is looking for donors to upgrade its facility as well. Any interested parties, please contact [email protected]. THANKS!!!

9 years ago

Great to see Cal is getting the pool they deserve so much. Even better that a group of great swimming alumni will do it. I’m sure that they will add great detail from all the experiences they’ve had. Cal’s swimming legacy is also very deserving of this new pool. Also cool that the pool is still on campus near Spieker.

9 years ago

Cool, but doesn’t the single pool constraint just move down the street? Rec swimming at Spieker is only available when the swim/water polo teams aren’t using the pool.

Norcal and the nation needs another aquatic complex capable of hosting national championships and Olympic trial type events — opportunity missed?

Cheers to Aquatic Legends for stepping up to the plate with their vision and $$.

9 years ago

Any chance the Cal Aquatic Legends can raise a few more $$ and put a roof over this pool? Maybe then the PAC-12 Championship Meets will have another location option than Federal Way.

Reply to  Patrick W. Brundage
9 years ago

A capacity of 500 isn’t going to cut it for Pac-12s, men’s water polo on football Saturdays, or Stanford/USC dual meets. Will be fine for weekday water polo games or dual meets. The biggest beneficiary will be women’s water polo, who lag behind the men’s team and both swim programs.

Cal cut a few corners between the original design and actual construction on Spieker. That didn’t please the Spiekers, who are still big donors to Cal Aquatics. I’ve heard that Cal Aquatics will spruce up (better seating options) Spieker to bring it more in line with the original plans. That’s the main reason why it will still be used as the main competition venue for Cal swimming and water polo.

9 years ago

You should write an article on Michigan’s new pool that will be adjacent to Canham Natatorium

9 years ago

Cal is getting it done. Good for them. This will further put the nail in the UF Gator’s coffin for any chance at a NCAA men’s or women’s team title in the foreseeable future (unfortunately also IU’s). I don’t see much downside for the Bear’s chances!

Reply to  jeantuehl
9 years ago

Pools alone don’t make great teams. There are plenty of schools with great pools without great teams. There are also teams with exceedingly sub-par pools (e.g., Cal until this is built, Arizona still). Cal’s a great team. The pool will be a much-deserved upgrade for them and a wonderful addition for the swimming community, but, other than finally giving them a chance at building a real diving program, I don’t think it substantively changes the swimming dynamics. It’s the coaches and the commitment of the University that builds a great, long-term team. The pool is icing on the cake.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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