Student Journalism at San Rafael High School

Off the Leash

Off the Leash

Off the Leash

San Rafael Prepares to Say Goodbye to a 75 Year Old Aquatic Relic


At the beginning of this school year, the SRHS pool experienced another shutdown of its filtration system, leaving both the men and women’s water polo teams without a place to practice. This closure came at the most inconvenient of times, as both teams would travel to Sacramento the first and second week of September for the Sierra Canyon tournament.

This situation is yet another example of the frustration that comes with the old structures at the school. It also gives great insight into why people are excited about the construction of a new San Rafael pool. 

The current pool is nearly 75 years old, with its original construction date in 1949. Thousands of swimmers have dipped their toes in its water, and while it may have survived for this long, it has certainly not stood the test of time. As student Brayden Klesius puts it, “the pool is kind of falling apart.”

“The pool deck is run down and has chunks missing from the bottom,” Cormac Seerey, a freshman water polo player, said. Cracks and abrasions on the pool deck look very unappealing, and are dangerous to the swimmers in the pool. One week into the 2023 season a senior on the men’s team cut and injured their foot on a chip near the shallow end of the pool. 

While the worn down nature of the pool may be an important problem, the bigger issue comes from the growth and changes in rules to aquatic programs all around the state. Currently the average water polo court stands at 30 meters by 25 yards with a depth of at least 7 feet. The SR pool stands at 10 by 25 yards, with a deep end at 11 feet and a steep shallow end at 4 feet. SR’s pool is as long as the average pool is wide, and this causes water polo players in Marin county to dislike the SR pool, as well as leaving SR’s team at a massive disadvantage compared to other teams. 

These problems have been on the radar for a long time, and in 2022, a committee dedicated to the construction of a new pool that would fix these problems was created, and allowed community members like coaches, players, parents, and teachers to voice their opinions on the matter. The new pool should begin construction next fall.

The committee had no trouble gaining the resources for the new pool, as grants for the project were made easily available years before the group had been formed. The construction of this pool is part of a larger remodel plan that contained a new football stadium, Commons building and a STEM building all started in 2017.

In 2018, the final San Rafael City Schools Bond report was published. The report described the use and allocation of the 160 million dollars given to the district, with 14 million dollars given to athletic facilities. The San Rafael pool would take a large chunk of this deposit, costing eleven million dollars.

San Rafael’s current pool size only allows for one team to practice at a time. A 40 meter pool would allow for multiple teams to practice at the same time. With plenty of teams eager to rent pool time outside the sport seasons, San Rafael is due to make their money back. 

The final design will come with not only a much larger court to play on, but more deck space, new bleachers and a turf patch. The surrounding athletic building will be transformed and refurbished and extended into the new parking lot.

“Our goal is to serve every student at SRHS, and every student spends time in our pool at some point,” says lead board member Tami McCall. “Whether it is through their freshman PE class, our sophomore sailing program, or as part of our water polo and swim teams, outside swim organizations in our community also utilize our pool for practices and meets.” 

Adding a new pool to SR comes with many new possibilities. The addition of two diving boards is exciting for the swim team, as it would allow San Rafael to have a diving team for the first time in almost a decade. This would put San Rafael at a higher ranking at MCAL championships, because of the combination of Swimming and Diving as one sport, and would come with the opportunity for San Rafael to restore its aquatic legacy within Marin.

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