At a recent Fallbrook Community Forum meeting, where leaders of non-profits give updates on their organizations, many attendees were surprised when Don Kuhn of the Fallbrook Aquatics Fund reported on the facilities being used by some of the boys who compete in aquatic sports at Fallbrook High School (FHS).
“The boys continue to have their locker room be a storage container and an outhouse,” said Kuhn. “In the mornings after practice they’re taking showers outside. That will probably be what we’re going to focus on and try to change first – getting them some facilities that are more accommodating.”
While the girls have complete locker room facilities located right off the pool deck, the boys locker room for physical education (PE) and sports participants is a short walk from the pool. Instead of making the brief walk to take advantage of the full facilities of the boys locker room, many boys on the water polo, swimming and diving teams change in the old trailer located poolside and use a pair of “porta potties” for their restroom needs. Some will use the shower located on the pool deck after morning practices that conclude at 7 a.m. even though the modest multi-spigot shower only dispenses cold water.
“In order for the boys to go to the school locker room for boys PE, they would have to walk out the gate, go on the backside of the old gym and then go into the locker room from there, and when you’re in a Speedo, it makes it a little hard to do,” said longtime Fallbrook swim coach Sean Redmond.
Thanks to the passage of Measure AA – a $45 million Proposition 39 general obligation bond measure proposed by the Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) – last November, improvements will be coming to the school’s swimming facilities.
In FUHSD’s endorsement request application to the San Diego County Taxpayers Association regarding Measure AA, $1.2 million was earmarked for deferred maintenance of the main swimming pool from Series 2017 bonds, and $675,000 was to be put toward the diving pool from the Series 2020 bonds.
Redmond acknowledges the money isn’t enough for a new pool but he does have some ideas for how it could be used.
“If we got a building – for a locker room and a coaches’ room – that would be a nice start,” said Redmond. “Replace all the starting blocks, replace the water polo cages, get a whole new scoreboard, probably resurface the pool, and the deck probably needs to be redone. There’s a lot of cracks (on the deck). Our diving boards could use replacing. Some of those are cosmetic, but if we can’t get a new pool, then let’s try to do that.”
FHS has two swimming pools.
“Our main pool is six lanes, 25 yards, which is what we use for all of our competitions for swimming and water polo,” said Redmond. “The dive pool is 20 yards, five lanes.”
Redmond added that the depth of the main pool goes from 3 1/2 feet to 6 feet, while the depth of the dive pool goes from six feet to 12 feet. The fact that the main pool isn’t up to CIF regulations for water polo means the Warriors can’t host playoff games.
“For water polo, we’re too shallow at one end,” said Redmond. “It needs to be at least six feet deep, and they prefer seven. We’re 3 1/2 at the shallow end.”
The girls water polo team lost its “home pool advantage” in the postseason because of the regulations.
“This season we were actually a higher seed, so we were the host for our CIF first round playoff game, and we had to find a facility to play in because this pool was not regulation,” said Redmond. “We played the game at UCSD. Fortunately the team we had to play was University City and that’s their home pool. So that worked out great, it was a great facility.”
The Fallbrook girls defeated University City 9-6 in the playoff game.
The lack of a regulation size pool also prevents Fallbrook from hosting water polo tournaments, events that would bring business to Fallbrook, according to Redmond, who is also head coach of the Fallbrook Association Swim Team (FAST).
“Our club team hosts several meets here throughout the year and a lot of the families that come here will go into town – either here or in Bonsall – to go get food on their way in or on their way out,” said Redmond.
The pools at FHS are the community’s only pools and are open to the public in the summer for recreational swimming.
“This is for the community,” said Redmond. “We run a ‘learn to swim program’ here and we open it up for rec swim in the afternoons in the summer. We also have adult lap swim. There’s a group that comes in at 4:15 a.m. in the morning, another group that comes in at 6 a.m. And the high school program is using it in the mornings too. We have our club team here in the afternoon. It is, especially in the summer, used from basically 4:15 a.m. in the morning to 8 ‘o clock at night.”
Despite being a bit long in the tooth – more than 45 years olds – and in need of upgrading, the pools at FHS are much appreciated.
“We’re fortunate that we have a pool on campus,” said Redmond. “There are a lot of schools, even in the north county, that don’t.”