UC Davis club men’s, women’s water polo teams raise concerns about proposed plans for Rec Pool renovations
The UC Davis Recreation Pool’s convenient on-campus location for students and other members of the Davis public has been a staple of the university over the years. The Rec Pool has recently been closed for renovation, starting this summer and expecting to end in summer of 2019, according to Campus Recreation and Unions. The plan was four years in the making and is expected to cost around $7.5 million.
“The renovation of the Rec Pool will bring most of Campus Recreation’s aquatic activities into one facility, including lap swimming, fitness and wellness programs, and recreational use,” said Jeff Heiser, the associate director of Campus Rec and Unions, in an email interview.
However, concerns have been raised about the plans for the new renovation, specifically from the UC Davis club men’s and women’s water polo teams, who feel that the new design of the pool will be a hindrance rather than a help.
“One [of the two new pools] was made to be the competition pool and it isn’t very usable for any competitions [for the team], and we asked if it can be made larger they told us that everything was set in stone,” said Harrison Brown, the president of the men’s club water polo team. “The goal is for us to be there full time, but the pool isn’t suitable for us to be there full time.”
The women’s club water polo team is also concerned with how a possible size decrease in the new pool will affect the team’s level of play.
“Currently we have 50 girls on the roster, which is the largest our program has been since I have been a part of the program at Davis,” said Sofia Caryotakis, the president of the women’s water polo club team. “Having a two-hour practice with 50 girls in the pool [at the new facility] would mean we might have to cut down the size of our team, because we would have to be more selective, or split practices into two sessions of 25, which would divide the dynamics of the team.”
The plan for the new Rec Pool renovation includes one recreational pool with four lap lanes and diving well and a second pool with six eight-foot, 25-yard lanes. According to Heiser, the second pool would be suited to host aquatic activities, including water polo play. Even though the club water polo teams expressed concerns about the new proposed size of the new Rec Pool, and believe that the pool is still too small for competition, Heiser assures that the new plans are up to competition standards.
“The campus consulted with an aquatic design company that has experience designing pools for collegiate use,” Heiser said. “The activity pool has the required dimensions for club water polo practice play according to NCAA water polo rules.”
For Brown, the biggest concerns are that the club teams felt their opinions were not taken into consideration while designing the pool.
“I think the biggest thing was we didn’t really have a heads up,” Brown said. “We didn’t really have a chance to give feedback on any preliminary plans and now when we have a chance, it is pretty much set and there are no changes available.”
Because the work for the renovation of the Rec Pool has been going on since 2014, Heiser mentioned the planning and collaborations that were brought during the process.
“Both the Campus Recreation Advisory Council and the Campus Unions and Recreation Board (now part of the Council on Student Affairs and Fees) were consulted and provided input during the beginning phases of the process,” Heiser said. “Both of these groups are student run and led. Additionally, the Sport Club Council was involved.”
“This pool is a huge investment and it makes sense to do it right the first time,” Caryotakis said. “I think the best solution would be to revisit the design plan, meeting with students and seeing what is truly needed.”
Heiser also commented on the success of the club teams on campus.
“Campus Recreation is proud of the success of the water polo clubs as well as the participation of students in other aquatic programming,” Heiser said. “An additional pool on campus that can host a variety of aquatic activities will allow for greater flexibility in scheduling practice times for all aquatic participants.”
Hickey Pool, located on campus across from the Memorial Union, will continue to remain open according to Heiser, and club sports teams will continue to be able to reserve time and space in Hickey and Schaal pools as well as the new Rec Pool. The new pool will be under the same membership model as the Activities and Recreations Center when completed.
Additional information on the new renovation of the Rec Pool can be found at the Campus Recreation and Unions website.
Written by: Ryan Bugsch — firstname.lastname@example.org