With their swimming season set to get underway in just a couple days, the San Ramon Aqua Bears were left scrambling for a home pool over the weekend after officials at their longtime facility, the San Ramon Golf Club, announced that the pool would be closed this year as a cost-cutting strategy, according to the swim team.
"We received an email 48 hours before our season started, and we were completely panicked. The Aqua Bears had relied on the golf club's promises and agreements with us," Sarah Eddings, co-chair of the Aqua Bears, said in an interview Tuesday.
The swim team managed to find a new home pool last weekend -- the aquatic center at Dougherty Valley High School -- but that didn't always appear to be the case after the last-minute notice from the golf club's property manager on Friday, with the Aqua Bears' 2016 season set to start two days later, according to Eddings.
"We feel bullied right now, even abused, but our team will continue to be happy and not let the negative energy from this situation overshadow our happiness," she said.
Representatives from the San Ramon Golf Club did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
The pool on Fircrest Lane had been home to Aqua Bears practices and swim meets for nearly 30 years, and they had written team and individual agreements from the golf club stating the pool would be accessible to the team this year, Eddings said.
Club officials reached out at the beginning of the year to seek the Aqua Bears' membership application along with a $485 check as part of the pool privilege/membership fee, she added.
"The Aqua Bears would have been in much better shape if we were informed in January to find a new location to swim, not two days before our season started," Eddings said.
Even as recently as last week, club officials informed the team that the pool would be heated for Sunday's season kickoff and alerting team representatives that swimmers could not bring black containers, Eddings said.
Then on Friday, representatives of the golf club told the swim team it would not have access to the pool this year, according to Eddings. "We were told that the reason why the pool is closed is because it is not financially viable, which doesn't make sense to use because our membership numbers are up and the golf club is not getting less income," she added.
Eddings said a golf club official told her pool membership payments would soon be refunded.
The Aqua Bears have 205 swimmers registered this year, ranging in age from 4 to 18 years old. They will now hold their practices and home swim meets at Dougherty Valley High this season.