Written by Laura Burtness '14
LOS ANGELES – Seven universities from the state of California have come to agreement to form a new collegiate women's water polo conference that will begin competition in the spring of 2014. The new league, which will be called the Golden Coast Conference, will feature Azusa Pacific University, California Baptist University, Fresno Pacific University, Loyola Marymount University, San Diego State University, Santa Clara University and University of the Pacific.
The Golden Coast Conference will begin competition next season and will feature a conference schedule in which each team will play each other once. The final conference standings will then decide seedings for an annual conference championship, which will be held in late April.
"We are excited to be joining the newly formed Golden Coast Conference," said Bronco head coach Keith Wilbur. "The make up of our new conference will be both balanced and competitive, and we are looking forward to playing all of these teams next season."
In 2007, Santa Clara University received a $3 million donation from alumnus Jack Sullivan, '59, and his wife Joan and the Aquatic Center Coach Wilbur dreamed of became a reality. The Sullivan Aquatic Center is an Olympic sized 50-meter by 25-yard pool that has helped to excel the men's and women's water polo teams to a more elite level of play.
The women's water polo team placed third at the 2013 WWPA Conference Tournament, which was hosted at the Sullivan Aquatic Center. Finishing a strong 2013 season, the team looks forward to advancing their play and embracing the new competition. After graduating seven seniors, an astounding 10 new freshmen will soon be added to the Bronco family to compete in the Golden Coast Conference.
The new league will apply for an automatic bid to the National Collegiate Women's Water Polo Championships this summer. In addition, the membership is currently searching for a commissioner and drafting league bylaws.
San Diego State and the University of the Pacific are moving from the Big West Conference while LMU and Santa Clara are moving from the Western Water Polo Association. California Baptist just completed its transition to the NCAA and are eligible for championship competition this upcoming 2013-14 season, while Azusa Pacific and Fresno Pacific are making the transition to the NCAA and will be eligible the following season.