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New pool almost reality

Costa Mesa High eagerly awaits Olympic-size pool, which is set to open Nov. 1, or maybe before then.

August 14, 2010|By Matt Szabo, matthew.szabo@latimes.com
(Kent Treptow / Daily…)

In 1993, "Jurassic Park" was a hit on the movie screens, President Bill Clinton was still in his first year in the White House and Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was in heavy rotation.

Justin Taylor has another memory from that time period.

Taylor, then a freshman at Costa Mesa High, was just starting his water polo career in the quirky "L" shaped, 25-yard home pool. Taylor heard then the promises of a new pool on campus.

"I was told by the time I was a senior, I'd be swimming in a brand new pool," Taylor said.

Taylor didn't think that meant by the time he was a senior citizen, yet four years came and went and no dice. But Taylor, now the Mustangs boys' water polo coach, finally has what he wanted back then.

Costa Mesa High's new 50-meter Olympic size pool is just about ready. It's scheduled to open by Nov. 1, said Newport-Mesa Unified School District spokeswoman Laura Boss.

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After decades of wishing, that new pool is now almost a reality.

"The pool, in and of itself, has been a long time coming," Taylor said. "Essentially, it's a turning point for our program. I think having everything new and state of the art will draw in kids at a younger age, which will in turn help the high school program. We're excited."

Indeed, Taylor said he and the Mustangs' other aquatics coaches, girls' water polo coach Tim Postiff and swimming coach Patty Smith, plan to start the Costa Mesa Aquatics Club at the facility almost immediately. Costa Mesa High Aquatics Booster Club president Alisa Wilson said the club, featuring both youth swimming and water polo, is set to begin Nov. 8.

Construction began on the new pool, which features a state-of-the-art scoreboard, new water polo goals and touch pads for swimming, in June 2009. It was one of 10 NMUSD projects originally scheduled to be funded by Measure F, a $282 million bond measure voters approved in 2006.

A slumping housing market inhibited the district's ability to sell the bonds. But, Boss said, the district lobbied for extra funds from the state from the Newport Harbor High Robins/Loats renovation project, so the Costa Mesa High pool project could move forward.

Costa Mesa Councilwoman Katrina Foley, who drummed up plenty of support with other officials from the nonprofit community group Costa Mesa United, agreed that the pool is a long time coming. You could look at it as a package deal for Costa Mesa city high school athletics, after Jim Scott Stadium opened on the Estancia High campus in 2008.

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