Concord, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2017) –Carondelet High School proudly announces the naming of its state-of-the-art aquatics center for three-time swimming Olympic gold medalist, Natalie Coughlin Hall, who graduated from the school in 2000. The Natalie Coughlin Aquatics Center is a featured part of the school's brand new, six-acre, Walnut Creek-based Carondelet Athletics Complex, expected to open in early 2018.
"Natalie is an inspiration to countless young women around the globe and a role model to our students past and present," said Carondelet President Bonnie Cotter. "Natalie is more than a world-class swimmer and athlete – she personifies values that go beyond sports. We are so proud to be able to honor her and recognize her accomplishments as an athlete and a humanitarian."
Coughlin, who has earned 12 Olympic medals in her career, will be featured prominently at the new athletics complex, with a larger-than-life image of her diving into the pool at the 2008 Beijing Olympics depicted on the wall adjacent to the entrance of the aquatics center. Her image and athletic accomplishments will also be displayed in Carondelet's Hall of Fame, to be unveiled in spring 2018.
"In her professional career and her personal endeavors, through her passion and determination, Natalie has demonstrated what it means to be a woman of heart, faith, courage and excellence – values that are central to everything we hold dear at Carondelet," Cotter said.
While a student at Carondelet between 1996 and 2000, Coughlin became the first swimmer to qualify for the Summer National Meet in all 14 events. She also broke two individual national high school records in the 200-yard individual medley (1:58.45) and the 100-yard backstroke (52.86). She continued to set records while attending the University of California, Berkeley, where in 2002 she became the first woman ever to swim the 100-meter backstroke (long course) in less than one minute.
"Carondelet's new aquatics center and athletics complex will provide a place for Carondelet families to come together to celebrate their student athletes like never before," said Coughlin, who became the first U.S. female athlete in modern Olympic history to win six medals in one Olympiad. "I applaud my alma mater for its commitment to creating greater equity for female athletes by investing in a second campus that will be home to seven teams and all 800 students."
Since its founding in 1965, Carondelet's small campus has had no room for outdoor athletic fields or competition aquatic facilities. As the number of girls playing sports has increased over the years, students have had to travel up to 35 minutes each way for daily practices and "home" games at fields in other cities. The new athletics complex will finally provide a home field advantage for the Carondelet Cougars.
"I'm excited to have our very own pool. It's a big step toward building our team and our reputation," said student-athlete and competitive swimmer Christy Neufeld, a member of the class of 2019. "Natalie Coughlin has always been an inspiration to me. I love her approach to swimming and to life."
Located just two-and-a-half miles from Carondelet's main campus in Concord, the new athletics complex will feature a 10-lane competition pool and diving well, synthetic turf fields for soccer, lacrosse and softball, and six tennis courts. The new campus' 6,000-square-foot student center includes state-of-the-art facilities for strength training and sports medicine, as well as dedicated space for all Carondelet students to study and socialize.
To fund this project, Carondelet launched This is Our Time, a capital campaign to raise a total of $38 million, including $14.5 million for the Carondelet Athletics Complex. Other featured objectives of the campaign are the development of a new STEM Innovation Center to be completed in 2019, as well as a $7.5 million scholarship endowment. Thanks to generous contributions from donors, including a $15 million pledge from the Hofmann Family Foundation, Carondelet has so far raised 78% of its $38 million goal.
Carondelet High School is a four-year Catholic college-preparatory school serving young women of the East Bay. Founded in 1965, Carondelet's mission is to inspire excellence by preparing young women to live with heart, faith and courage in the Catholic tradition and the spirit of the Sisters of St. Joseph. The Concord, Calif.-based school has a diverse student population of approximately 800. Carondelet's innovative curriculum, personalized counseling and competitive athletics, as well as its commitment to service and leadership, prepare students for college, career and life.
About Natalie Coughlin
In addition to being one of the most accomplished Olympic athletes of all time, Natalie is engaged with a number of organizations that support communities in need. As a Zero Hunger Ambassador for World Food Program USA, Natalie is on a mission to fight global hunger. She also actively supports the nonprofit organizations Right to Play, Edible Schoolyard and DAM-Cancer Foundation.
One of Natalie's other passions in life is cooking. She just completed the manuscript for her yet-to-be-titled cookbook, which is filled with recipes that she prepared while training for the Olympics and recipes inspired by her travels, as well as many of her family's signature Filipino recipes. Natalie is also a newly minted vintner. She co-founded Gaderian Wines with her friend and winemaker Shaina Harding. The small boutique label out of Saint Helena, Calif. will produce Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc.