U.S. Olympic swimming legend Natalie Coughlin Hall returned to her Bay Area alma mater Thursday for a pool dedication at a new school aquatics center named for her.
Carondelet High School, an all-girls private school, celebrated the completion of the Natalie Coughlin Aquatic Center, named in October for the school's most famous alum, the 12-time Olympic medalist who also starred at Cal.
"I stepped onto the deck, and it said Natalie Coughlin Aquatic Center; it was a little overwhelming, a massive honor," Coughlin said.
Coughlin, a 2000 graduate of Carondelet, joined current students, former aquatics athletes, school leaders and Walnut Creek Mayor Justin Wedel for the brief ceremony, unveiling a new competition pool and a larger-than-life mural of Coughlin from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
"This facility has been 50 years in the making," said Bonnie Cotter, Carondelet president. "The girls have not had home field since the start of the school."
The aquatics center is part of the new, yet-to-be-completed Carondelet Athletics Complex, located at 3737 Valley Vista Road in Walnut Creek, about two-and-a-half miles from Carondelet's main campus in Concord.