Round-the-Clock Programming for Competition Pools
By Courtney Cameron
Aquatics facility operators are always looking for ways to fill the water during more hours of the day. But for large rectilinear pools, introducing recreational programming isn't always the best way to diversify use. Clovis West High School in Fresno, Calif., which has hosted the California Interscholastic Federation State Swimming & Diving Championships for five consecutive years, has a laser focus on competition aquatics — and still manages to keep the pool in use more than 12 hours a day, six days a week.
Hosting so many user groups in such a condensed period of time requires setting up temporary support spaces in addition to the connected locker rooms, showers and restrooms at the west end of the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex. The west end also connects to the school gym and courtyard, with a wrestling room directly off the pool deck that gets reallocated as a hospitality room for officials during the championships. The gymnasium itself is used as a team area, where competitors make use of the air conditioning and a live feed of the competition.
"We livestream the competition so the athletes are able to be in a climate-controlled environment and still know what races are going without having to be on deck," says Loggins. "That's one way we allow for a greater number of spectators to be closer to the competition — we remove the coaches and athletes."
Coordinating user groups
Besides being filled to capacity for high-profile annual competition events, the pools at Clovis West are used regularly for high school swim team practices and physical education classes — including sport-specific classes for swimming and water polo. "Before school it's utilized by our high school swim team, as well as our high school polo team, just depending on where we're at in the season," Loggins says. "Then after school our teams are practicing usually until about 5 or 5:30."
The district also operates a USA Swimming-affiliated swim club through the facility, which generally fills the hours between 5 and 9 at night, and the local dive club fills in any other gaps. "It's kind of a joint thing, where it's our campus and it's our site pool so we have some autonomy over it, but then the district has some shared autonomy."
The pools are open to the community only through established competition programs. Says Loggins, "It's not open for general swim. It's pretty organized." As one of five high schools in the Clovis Unified School District, each of which has at least a 30-meter pool, in addition to aquatics facilities at the district's junior highs, Clovis West has the freedom to specialize because the burden of use is shared. "There's a lot of water to be managed in Clovis Unified," Loggins says. "There are areas that do open for the public; we're just not one of those sites."
The Clovis Olympic Swim Complex's revenue comes from year-round club use more than the annual CIF championships, which Loggins considers a labor of love. "It's about allowing our kids to wake up in their own beds and come compete in a pool they're used to," he says, "and hopefully do very well."
This article originally appeared in the July | August 2019 issue of Athletic Business with the title "The Clovis Olympic Swim Complex: In Use Dawn to Dusk." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry.
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