By MIA CALIVA
Amongst the chaos and politics of the Oct. 25 Redlands Unified School Board meeting, a local swim team named the Inland Empire Aquatics took to the podium to request pool access at Citrus Valley High School. The Inland Empire Aquatics Club has been adamant in requesting this pool access, with several student-athletes and parents speaking during public participation with the School Board, sharing their stories and reasons for request.
Citrus Valley High School parent Karen Hitter says, “[IEAQ] started at a community pool in Highland, and then to Pacific high school, and finally we were at Indian Springs High School before we were pushed out by another San Bernardino High School.”
According to community members that spoke at the board meeting, IEAQ is currently practicing at Indian Springs High School and does not have access to pools in Redlands schools.
Several parents and students referenced a swimming pool access contract that they feel should be terminated.
According to Redlands resident Maria Figueroa’s comments, “Roughly 80% of Citrus Valley aquatics athletes come from clubs other than Redlands Swim Team.”
Despite the fact that many Citrus Valley aquatic athletes are members at IEAQ, they feel that limited pool access for IEAQ prevents Citrus Valley athletes from pursuing their extracurriculars.
Figueroa went on to express her disappointment with the School Board. She said, “This creates inequality with access to Citrus Valley and RST’s ability to serve Citrus Valley athletes.”
Hitter says, “We just want a fair opportunity to use or share the facility.”
The IEAQ team carries more than 100 competitive swimming members per year but has had fewer members since COVID. Still, the club is still largely community-oriented.
Citrus Valley student Jonah Martinez says, “I’ve been a member of this family for 6 years. We’ve all grown close together through COVID. Nothing had broken us apart and now thanks to the relevant and old contracts, exclusive clubs, and decisions made by the district and school board we are ultimately torn apart.”
According to supporters, because of restricted pool access, IEAQ is being broken up and prevented from possibly giving rise to many great swimming athletes. They state that requests have been denied multiple times and many are upset at what they feel is mistreatment.
In a heartfelt conclusion, Martinez says, “This issue is beyond contracts, rights, and laws. I just want to be with my teammates and under the advice and direction of my coaches.”
Feature photo: An empty Citrus Valley High School swimming pool prior to the water polo match on Dec. 15, 2022. (DESTINY RAMOS/ Ethic News photo)
Correction: A statement in the original publishing of this article about a pool access contract was removed due to not being fully verified.
One thought on “Local swim team requests access to Citrus Valley High School pool from School Board”
This is a one sided article! Before you write your article, you need to check your facts and do your own research and since I am on the RST board, I know for a fact that you didn’t reach out and hear RST’s side. This is slander!! Is this how we teach our kids now?