SANTA CLARA – In an article reported by Swimming World back in the Fall of 2013, International Swimming Hall of Fame CEO Bruce Wigo revealed that ISHOF was indeed heavily interested in calling Santa Clara its home after its contract was up in Fort Lauderdale in 2015.
That dream has come a step closer with the City of Santa Clara City Council unanimously voting on Tuesday to approve a deal.
According to reports from the Mike Rosenberg of the Mercury News and the Times-Herald, the city hopes to build a new 3-acre International Swim Center on the other side of Central Park from its current aquatics facility that would eventually house the 7,500-square-foot Hall of Fame. But that effort could take five years, and until then, officials are looking for a temporary location for the exhibits and a small headquarters for the Hall.
A modern ISHOF educational museum would energize the institution, especially with access to the minds available in the Silicon Valley.
The budget specifics and cost to build the Hall, along with the location for the temporary facility, will be hammered out throughout the next year.
According to Wigo, the overarching factors that would make a successful marriage between Santa Clara and ISHOF are definitely in place. Additionally, conversations include architectural renderings of a new Mecca of Swimming to be created in Santa Clara.
Wigo calls the plans an Aquatic Theatre, where fans would be on top of the action in the pool. Think more of courtside seats at a basketball game, less of the current standard pool setup of the fans being pushed well away from the pool.
There are litany of reasons why Santa Clara would make an ideal location for a new ISHOF facility. The history and tradition of the area is in the top echelon of all locations in the sport, as Santa Clara has produced more athletes that are currently in the Hall of Fame than any other city in the world. Santa Clara has also out-produced a host of nations as well when it comes to Hall of Fame inductees.
The Bay Area features some of the top star power in the sport, with some of the top names in swimming having local connections including Donna de Varona, Pablo Morales, Mark Spitz, Dara Torres, Missy Franklin and Nathan Adrian.
Additionally, Santa Clara has a huge swimming community that would be able to embrace everything that ISHOF stands for as well as help an aquatics entertainment facility be financially sustainable.