Historic Santa Clara swimming facility shut down indefinitely before summer Olympics

The City of Santa Clara says its International Swim Center is closed indefinitely due to mechanical issues. The center is known for turning out Olympic winners and with the Summer Olympics opening in six months, some members of the swim club are concerned about preparing for trials.    

The Santa Clara Swim Club has a long history of Olympic medal winners and when club members heard the pool would be closed, they worried about training for this year’s Olympic trials.  

"We did actually have people show up for training on Friday morning to the signs and couldn’t get in and that created a little bit of a panic," said Kevin Zacher, Santa Clara Swim Club Head Coach.   

A sign is posted outside the International Swim Center in Santa Clara. It says due to facility conditions, the Center will be closed until further notice.  

"I knew that this was a lot different than it had been before, like last summer the pool was shut down. So, it was definitely sad to hear, but gladly the city is at least telling us and telling us to stay out of the area," said Tanay Gupta, a member of the Santa Clara Swim Club for the last 10 years.  

Zacher says he hasn’t been given much information about the closing but says the pool and other areas need repairs. With the Olympics starting in July, coaches say the closure could put a strain on training. Swim practices will now be moved to the Mary Gomez Swim Center, which coaches say doesn’t have the same space as the International Swim Center.  

"Since we received the news on Friday, the staff, the board, the Santa Clara Swim Club, we’ve been working on finding the water time for athletes, so they don’t have to worry about anything. It’s our job," said Dasha Cocol, a Santa Clara Swim Club Coach.  

The Santa Clara Swim Club was started in 1951 by George Haines, who is internationally considered one of the best swim coaches in history. Nine-time Olympic gold medalist Mark Spitz also trained with Haines while in high school. Coach Zacher says over 80 Olympic medals have been awarded to members of the Santa Clara Swim Club, and he hopes to keep the tradition going.  

"It’s amazing the reach this club has around the world, and it’s known because of swimming, and it’s sad that this has happened to a place known for its swimming," said Zacher.   

Because of the MLK holiday, city offices were closed on Monday, and KTVU was unable to get more details about repairs that are needed and just how long the International Swim Center will be closed.  We'll have an update when we get that information.