Thirteen swimmers, divers, coaches, and other contributors to aquatic sports will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in June. The group will make up the 51st class honored with the distinction but will be the first to receive that honor in Santa Barbara, Calif., instead of Fort Lauderdale.
The Hall of Fame quarreled with the city over the proposed $40 million redesign of its current facilities. Claiming to be left out of the process, the Hall decided to move out.
Bruce Wigo, the Hall’s executive director, says the California city is a logical choice for this year’s celebration and for the future headquarters of the organization.
“Santa Clara certainly has historical significance,” says Wigo. “They have more inductees in the Swimming Hall of Fame than any other city in the planet.”
He adds, “swimming in South Florida is not what it once was.”
He contributes part of that slack to the city’s lack of enthusiasm as well as deteriorating facilities.
The plan is to pack their boxes by the end of March at which point construction is set to begin on the new facility. That design is still in flux. Some of the historic artifacts that adorn the walls and fill the display boxes of the Hall of Fame’s museum will go into storage while others will join traveling exhibits.
Though the Hall of Fame does have an agreement with Santa Clara to build its new headquarters in the city, there is still a lot of fundraising and permitting issues that need to be resolved before that can move forward.