Women’s swim team slated for spring ’14, but where is the pool?

Women's swim team slated for spring '14, but where is the pool?

Jacqueline M. Kaden

Rachel Zemanek, Sports Editor

City College is adding women’s swimming to the list of athletic programs offered spring 2014.

“There’s been dozens and dozens of students who’ve asked about it,” athletic director Ryan Byrne said. “It’s kind of come to a time where… it’s the right thing to do.”

The athletic department is reevaluating the slate of intercollegiate offerings, which is one of the reasons behind the men’s tennis suspension this fall. Women’s swim is heavily supported in the Santa Barbara community.

“We are still looking into details on location but it’s most likely going to be at one of the high schools,” said Byrne.

Local high schools such as Santa Barbara High School, San Marcos High School and Dos Pueblos High School have strong aquatic programs but have not been contacted about the program or possible pool use.

Santa Barbara High School uses City College’s track. Joe Chenoweth, athletic director at Santa Barbara High School, said he would be “happy to have that conversation” to figure out some kind of joint agreement between the schools.

“I should have been approached,” said Chenoweth. “I’d be happy to entertain that if we could help each other.”

Rich Hanna, Aquatic Recreation Supervisor at Los Banos Pool, said adding an aquatic program at City College is great and a good addition for the community but has not been approached about pool use.

The swim team will join the Western State Conference to compete against Allan Hancock College, Ventura College, Cuesta College and other Los Angeles area community colleges.

The coaching search and recruitment has been underway for a few weeks.

“We feel like we have really strong candidates based on the level of interest in aquatics in this community,” Byrne said. “We have a really good area to recruit from.”

The Santa Barbara recruiting area has 30 high schools that expressed interest in the aquatic program, Byrne said.

Over the past three years, City College has conducted an interest survey of sport programs researching what applying students would like to see offered. Women’s swim and water polo were among the top choices selected.

A men’s swimming program is being researched but stands as a “long-term possibility.”

“We feel like offering women’s swimming is the best use of our limited resources,” Byrne said. “It’s the best way of allocating and aligning our resources with our mission.”

There will be an organizational meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 16 to announce the coach and determine local interest for adding women’s water polo. The community is invited to come and voice their opinions and express their interest in the programs.