- A Place for Champions
A Place for Champions
The majestic landscape of UCSB campus is hard to describe. Visitors marvel at the location on the Pacific’s edge. Students flow from point to point on pathways accompanied by sunshine and mountain views. At the heart of this active area of campus is the site marked for new athletics aquatics center. Storied by a pool that served a country and a campus for almost 70 years, a new place for future Olympians, All-Americans, youth and the community is needed. A 65-meter haven for water polo, swimming and now diving will be a place where new memories are created for the next generation of Gauchos and the active Santa Barbara community who will play there. A place befitting champions.
Walk Where Champions Walk
At UCSB, students, faculty, staff and the community enjoy an abundance of sunshine and areas to play. The bikeway and walkway that flow through and connect these academic, athletics, recreation and club sport areas is conceptually called The Walk of Champions. Anchored by the new Athletics Aquatics Center, enhancements to these areas will ensure student-athlete, campus, and community comfort, safety and enjoyment.
Masterplanning and aquatic facility design by Blackbird Architects and Behnisch Architects.
- A Letter From The Chancellor
A Letter From The Chancellor
Dear Alumni, Parents, and Friends:
Our campus is embarking on an exciting initiative to construct a new intercollegiate aquatics center for our nationally recognized swimming & diving and water polo programs.
UC Santa Barbara has achieved excellence in many areas. We are proud of our esteemed faculty, including five Nobel Laureates, who have garnered national and international honors. We are proud of our students, who have helped our campus achieve it’s highest ratings ever academically. Achieving excellence in athletics is a critical part of our university’s mission, and this project is essential to realizing that objective.
Our aquatics programs have long represented UC Santa Barbara with pride amongst the top programs in the country. In fact, of our campus’s four national championships, three have been won in the water (men’s swimming ’67, men’s water polo ’79, and women’s water polo ’89). Along with over 50 collective Big West Conference titles our men’s swimming & diving program is also part of the prestigious Pac-12 Conference.
To achieve our ultimate goals, we must replace an aging Campus Pool with a state-of-the-art intercollegiate aquatics center. As you read about the details of this project and the wonderful programs that it will enhance, I hope that you will recognize the tremendous opportunity this project presents to transform UC Santa Barbara as a place of distinction in athletics, students, faculty, and research programs.
On behalf of our student-athletes, our dedicated head coaches, our administrative colleagues, and an entire campus committed to being “champions” in every arena, I thank you for your support.
Henry T. Yang
- Gregg Wilson
Simply put: Big West Swimming is Gregg Wilson.
In his 33 years at UCSB, Gregg has been named Big West Coach of the Year a remarkable 27 times while running the men’s and women’s programs at UCSB. During that time, Wilson has posted a dual meet record of 327-228-1 (189-122 with the men and 138-106-1 with the women). Even more impressive, his squads have collected 39 Big West Conference Championships, 26 men’s titles and 13 women’s team titles The Gaucho men won 23 consecutive titles from 1979-2001, with Wilson leading the way.
- Wolf Wigo
Wolf Wigo is a three-time Olympian, All-American (Stanford), Captain of the USA Water Polo Men’s National Team, NBC Olympic TV Analyst, and is well-versed in the Olympic motto of Citus, Altus, Fortus: Faster, Higher, Stronger. Now entering his sixth year as the head coach of UCSB’s men’s water polo program and third as head coach of the women’s program, Wigo will continue to instill these same principles in the Gauchos: faster in the pool, higher in the national rankings and stronger overall as UCSB takes on the best teams in the country. Wigo coached the Gauchos men’s water polo team to a 21-14 record in 2006, marking the first 20-win season since 1990.
- 1979 Water Polo Team
1979 Water Polo Team
The 1979 men’s National Champion water polo squad holds school records for highest winning percentage (.993), lowest goals against average (5.0), most wins (28), and most goals scored (366). Joining them are women’s water polo, who as a club team, won the national championship paving the way for the sport to be elevated to Division I across the nation.
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- Jason Lezak
Quite simply: an American Olympic Hero, and a Gaucho.
He pulled off the most exciting comeback win in swimming history by chasing down Frenchman Alain Bernard at the wall, preserving Michael Phelp’s quest of claiming 8 Gold Medals at the Beijing Olympics. Phelps swam the first leg for the American team, going 47.51 and narrowly missing Bernard’s world record time of 47.50. Australian Eamon Sullivan, however, was in front at 47.24, breaking Bernard’s world record. Weber-Gale swam the second leg and pushed the U.S. into first place. France surged ahead of Jones in the third leg, setting the stage for Lezak’s heroics. At 350 meters, Bernard was .18 of a second ahead. “I’m not going to lie,” Lezak said after the race. “When I flipped at the 50, I still saw how far ahead he was, and he was the world-record holder ’til about two minutes before that, when Sullivan led off with the world record, I thought, it really crossed my mind for a split second, there’s no way.” “Then I changed. I said, you know what, that’s ridiculous. This is the Olympics. I’m here for these guys. I’m here for the United States of America.” Lezak’s split was 46.06, the fastest split of all-time.