On Monday, June 1, the Mission Viejo City Council approved a $6.2 million full renovation of the Marguerite Recreation Center’s aquatics facility. The motion to fully renovate the facility where the Mission Viejo Nadadores swimming and diving teams practice and hold competitions, including the Greg Louganis Dive Meet and the Fran Crippen Swim Meet of Champions, was passed on a 4-1 vote.
The renovations will include the diving well, the 50 meter pool, and the teaching pool. Construction is set to begin after the 2016 Olympics. The new features of the facility will include a new diving tower that meets current FINA and USA Diving requirements for national and international competition. A new hydrotherapy spa in the diving well area will be added. The 50 meter pool and diving well will feature new electronic scoreboards. There will be new decking, lighting, and shade areas near all of the pools in the facility.
Many people spoke at the meeting on behalf of the Mission Viejo Nadadores, including residents, business owners, Nadadores staff, athletes, and their families. Jay Standish, a Mission Viejo resident since 1974, former member of the Mission Viejo Investment Advisory Commission, inaugural Mission Viejo Masters member and longest continuous Mission Viejo Masters swimming member was one of the supporters who spoke at the meeting. Standish noted, “I’ve seen a lot of these generations of children come and go through the program, and they come out of the program much better humans for the rest of their lives.”
Coach Bill Rose, Head Coach of the Mission Viejo Nadadores, helped the City Council members appreciate, the long history of success that the city of Mission Viejo and the Nadadores have shared. “We are very proud of the fact that we are the only team in the country, and indeed, the world, that has ever put someone on the Olympic Team 10 Olympiads in a row.”
Ruth Bjorsma, a resident of Mission Viejo for more than 40 years, shared that, “Mission Viejo was really put on the map because of the Nadadores.” She also showed her pride and concern for the city she has called home for so long. “We’re a real sports-minded community and that’s what this city has always been known for, and it really saddens me to think that you would compromise on this in any way to not bring the Nadadores facility up to international standards so we can have these meets, these national and international meets,” said Bjorsma.
One of the final speakers during the public comments section of the discussion, Sara Gilliland, a Mission Viejo resident and former diver, announced that the Gilliland Family Foundation, headquartered in Amarillo, TX, would be making a donation to help support the project. “It is through my family’s interest in supporting organizations and causes outside of the mainstream and my personal involvement and passion for the Mission Viejo Nadadores Diving Team that I would like to share…We can offer the Mission Viejo Nadadores Foundation up to $500,000 for this upgrade, specifically, for the dive tower.” Huge applause from the packed chambers erupted after this announcement.
Prior to making a motion to fully renovate the Marguerite Recreation Center aquatic facilities, Council Member Ed Sachs remarked, “A political mentor of mine told me to always keep in mind that regardless of the people in the chambers that are talking to you, always remember that you represent the entire city and not just the people in the chambers. It became obvious about half way through the conversation that that political mentor of mine never had to deal with the Nadadores.”
Swimming news courtesy of Mission Viejo Nadadores.