Walnut Creek, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2018) – Carondelet High School today dedicated its state-of-the-art aquatics facility, named for alumna and three-time swimming Olympic gold medalist Natalie Coughlin Hall, who graduated from the school in 2000. The Natalie Coughlin Aquatic Center is a featured part of the school's brand new, six-acre, Walnut Creek-based Carondelet Athletics Complex.
"It is with both pride and gratitude that we dedicate this new facility," said Carondelet President Bonnie Cotter. "Today, we usher in a new era at Carondelet that will open new doors of opportunity for all of our young women – now and for generations to come."
At a ceremony with students, alumnae, school leaders and city officials, Board Trustee Sister Rosheen Glennon, CSJ, led the participants in a blessing of the pool, and Walnut Creek Mayor Justin Wedel extended a warm welcome to Carondelet High School, whose main campus is located in Concord.
Coughlin thanked Carondelet for the recognition. "I am so grateful for the support that I have received from my Carondelet family," Coughlin said. "I am delighted to see Carondelet place a high value on athletic excellence and I am so happy to see that this new facility will result in greater equity for female athletes, and truly, for all current and future students."
The Natalie Coughlin Aquatic Center pool is designed to boost performance. The combination of the water depth, cantilever gutter design, wider lanes, and warmer-than-average water temperature makes for faster racing. The new diving blocks with track start accessories provide top-of-the-line equipment to ensure Carondelet's athletes have the gold standard in competitive racing.
"This new pool helps us to be more competitive, to train longer and harder," said Carondelet varsity water-polo player and swimmer Madison Ohrman '18. "This is our home now and something we can take pride in."
Coughlin, who has earned 12 Olympic medals in her career, is 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 April.
Since its founding in 1965, Carondelet's main campus in Concord has had no space for outdoor athletic fields or competition aquatic facilities. The Carondelet Athletics Complex, located just two-and-a-half miles from the main campus, features a 10-lane competition pool and diving well, synthetic turf fields for soccer, lacrosse and softball, and six tennis courts. The 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, an historic capital campaign, which has raised $30 million to date. 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.
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 young women for college, career and life.
About Natalie Coughlin
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.
In addition to being one of the most accomplished Olympic athletes of all time, Natalie is engaged in supporting 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.Natalie just completed the manuscript for her yet-to-be-titled cookbook, which includes recipes she prepared while training for the Olympics as well as many of her family's signature Filipino recipes. Natalie is also a newly minted vintner, co-founding 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.