When people think of the United States’ great permanent swimming facilities, almost all of them exist in swimming mecca’s Florida and California or on University campuses.
That is until now, as the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas might have just gotten approval that will top them all.
That’s because the district, in conjunction with Bexar County, just managed to raise $14 million towards a massive San Antonio National Swim Center that will be used both by local swimmers and the world’s great athletes.
The proposal, which was approved in two separate bond packages, includes building an outdoor facility with covered seating for 2,400 spectators, 1,200 athletes, and 400 coaches. In addition to the main, 50 meter competition pool, there will be a 25 meter warm-up/diving pool.
If that weren’t enough, this facility is going to be built right next door to another 4-year old, $15 million, indoor 50-meter natatorium with 1,000 seats of its own as well as big drylands, office, and other support facilities. And lest we forget, this whole facility is a mere 15 minutes away from another great swimming facility in the Josh Davis Natatorium.
There are only 3 other facilities in the US that are in the same stratosphere as what this complex will become.
USA-Swimming has guaranteed officials that at least 5 Regional or National-level meets will take place at the complex every year, so don’t be surprised if down the line there is a San Antonio Grand Prix or a National Championship meet hosted there.
This school district is one of the bigger ones in the country, and at last count was home to over 94,000 students. San Antonio has a huge swimming population, and is known as a very sports-friendly city. This includes hosting many youth sports festivals, several NCAA Final Fours, and an annual bowl game. This is a win-win-win for USA-Swimming, San Antonio as a whole, and specifically the San Antonio sporting community, and it’s great to see that the city of San Antonio has thrown their weight behind an aquatics project. Hopefully, this facility will prove that large-scale complexes like these can be self-sufficient, profitable centers for swimming excellence rather than just tax-payer subsidized money pits.