Gators wrestled from the water

Coach Andy Beene gives instructions to Gilroy Gators at the GHS

Gilroy
– The city’s desire for more pool time to accommodate demand for
summer swimming programs prompted a meeting Friday between
representatives from the city of Gilroy and the Gilroy Gators to
iron out scheduling conflicts.
Gilroy – The city’s desire for more pool time to accommodate demand for summer swimming programs prompted a meeting Friday between representatives from the city of Gilroy and the Gilroy Gators to iron out scheduling conflicts.

Under the tentative agreement reached Friday, the Gators will be allowed to run morning sessions 45 minutes longer, but will have to spend the first part of their usual 4:30 to 7pm practice session at South Valley Middle School and the second half at Gilroy High School. At each venue, the city will have one less hour of pool time each morning, but an extra 2 to 2 1/2 hours each evening.

According to a memorandum from the meeting, the city wants to change the existing schedule to better accommodate the changing demographics of the community and to allot more time for the highly-demanded evening youth swimming programs.

The Gators’ representative, president Brian Malick, must still present the schedule to the rest of the Gators organization for approval. But Bolin, who was also at the meeting, said she felt strongly that this would be the final agreement between the two sides.

“As far as I’m concerned, we (left) the table in good faith,” Bolin said.

Malick could not be reached for comment.

During previous summers, the city used the South Valley Middle School pool from 8am to 6pm and the Gilroy High School pool from 8am to 4:30pm. The 200-plus member Gators team, which has been around since 1970, previously held summer practices exclusively at Gilroy High from 4:30 to 7pm, with some additional morning workouts.

The schedule proposed at the meeting Friday for the summer period, which begins June 27 and ends Aug. 12, would allow the city to use the Gilroy High pool for youth swimming programs from 9am to 7pm and the South Valley pool from 9am to 4:30pm and 6 to 8:30pm. The Gators would have 6:30 to 8:45am practice time at both facilities. In the evening, the Gators would have South Valley from 4:30 to 6pm and Gilroy High from 7 to 9pm.

According to the memorandum, two-thirds of Gilroy’s workforce work outside the city and have an average commute time of 30 minutes.

“There are more people who are commuters,” said city administrator Jay Baksa. “With both mom and dad going to work, they can’t make it to their child’s 8am swim lesson, but they can make it at 6pm.”

The memorandum also said “evening classes were completely full with a waiting list while early morning classes struggled for enrollment.”

“The customers are really requesting evening classes for their children,” Bolin said.

According to the Joint Use Agreement that the City of Gilroy and the Gilroy Unified School District entered into in the 1950s, the City of Gilroy gets pool use priority over the Gilroy Gators club team.

“In the case of the Gilroy Gators, they get (what pool time) is left,” said Baksa. “That’s no different than any other group using a school or city facility.”

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