Center Is Splash Hit for Nearly 20 Years
Not all the
learning at Sac State takes place in the classroom. Since 1981, thousands
of children, teens, adults and Sac State students have received a water-based
education at the CSUS Aquatic Center.
The Center is a partnership between the University, the Associated Students,
the University Union, the California Department of Boating and Waterways
and the California Department of Parks and Recreation. It sits on the
shore of Lake Natoma, about 15 miles east of campus.
As a certified state regional boating safety center, the Center offers
dozens of aquatic, boating and safety programs. Some courses are available
to Sac State students for credit, while others are group or private lessons
and clinics that are also open to the public. And this year more than
3,500 children and teens took part in summer camp, after-school and spring
break programs including special Guppies camps for the seven-year-olds.
The Center also functions as a recreation destination, with beach and
grass areas, picnic tables, barbeques and docks. Guests can rent keelboats,
sailboats, surf skis, windsurfers, canoes and kayaks.
But where it really shines is as a rowing venue. Long and narrow with
no tidal influence, Lake Natoma has been the site of choice for the Pacific
Coast Rowing Championships since 1983, drawing the best rowers in the
West. In addition, the Center regularly hosts the Western Intercollegiate
Rowing Association (WIRA) Rowing Championship, the Womens West Coast
Conference Rowing Championships and the PAC 10 Rowing Championships.
I think its one of the best facilitiesif not the bestin
the country, says University of Washington rowing coach Jan Harville,
who also sits on the NCAA Womens Rowing Committee.
UC San Diego womens crew coach Jack Vallerga, a long-time Pacific
Coast regatta participant, agrees. Ive been coaching for 28
years and Lake Natoma is the best course on the West Coast, hands down,
he says. At Lake Natoma theres no favored lane. When theres
wind, its either straight on or a tailwind.
Perhaps thats why the Aquatic Center was selected as the rowing
venue in the Bay Areas bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Several water groups also call the facility home including
Sac States water ski, rowing and sailing clubs. But the most decorated
tenant is the Sac State Womens Intercollegiate Rowing Team. In 2001,
the varsity eight won its second consecutive WIRA championship,
besting the 24 rowing institutions on the West Coast that are not members
of the Pac-10. The successful season also earned head coach Bill Zack
his second consecutive WIRA Coach of the Year award.
rowing teams home base is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar
renovation to add boat storage areas, showers and locker rooms, classroom
and meeting space, new docking facilities and improved beach access. The
University plans to raise about $200,000 for the project with the remaining
funds coming from Boating and Waterways. For information on contributing
to the project, contact Craig Perez at (916) 278-4912.