Just opened last November, La Mirada Regional Aquatic Center, or Splash! for short, is the latest addition to Southern California’s roster of grade-A aquatics centers and waterparks.
Splash! saves residents of La Mirada — a Los Angeles suburb near the Orange County border — a drive to pricier commercial waterparks in the area. But it’s more than a diversion for residents and their guests: It’s an 18-acre, state-of-the-art facility that also provides fitness and community building.
The facility’s $24 million price tag was paid for with bonds, city funds and $1.2 million from the Industry Hills Aquatics Club, which had recently lost the use of a local hotel pool and was looking for a new swimming venue. The park was first suggested in 2002, and the turnaround from conception to fruition was amazingly smooth.
Tom Robinson, La Mirada’s community services director, told Aquatics International, “The city manager called together her executive staff and said, ‘We’re working on this as a team and getting it done.’ Our initial plan was to finish it in 14 months, and we got it done in 14 months.”
Splash! features pirate-themed Buccaneer Bay, which includes a lazy river, three water slides, a children’s interactive play structure, zero-depth beach entry, spa and two spraypad areas.
The center’s other element focuses more on instructional and competitive programs, with a 50-meter competition pool, 25-yard recreational teaching pool, full-sized water polo rink, four springboards, movable bulkhead, 16-lane LED springboard, and elevated seating for 300. Both pools are open year ’round and offer myriad aquatics classes.
The competition pool, augmented with a high-tech lighting system and TV capability, was a selling point when Los Angeles made its bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Though Chicago was ultimately chosen as the American finalist for the Games, don’t discount Splash! as a major part of a future L.A. Olympics. In the meantime, it will continue playing host to competitive athletes, swimmers-in-training, fitness junkies and throngs of exuberant kids. — Neal Broverman