About Moraga Ranch Swim Club
In the late 1950’s the developer of the Orchard Dell subdivision in Moraga purchased three lots of cultivated pear orchards from the Utah Construction Company and donated the land to local homeowners for use as a neighborhood recreation facility. In 1960, on that location, the neighbors formed the Moraga Ranch Swim Club, which traces its name back to the nineteenth century Moraga Rancho established by Joaquin Moraga and his cousin, Juan Bernal.
As families continued to settle down in the neighborhood, club members established the first Moraga Ranch swim team in 1966. The team’s first coach, David Shumacher, also served as swim team coordinator, lifeguard, and pool manager, and maintained the pool and grounds. In 1972, 16-year-old Steve Robinson (now a NASA astronaut) won the team’s boys high-point trophy.
The Moraga Ranch swim team enjoyed remarkable success at the Contra Costa County Championship Meet from 1982 through 1989 when it took first place in the community division six times—including five consecutive first place finishes from 1984 through 1988—and finished second twice. In 2005, the team recalled its earlier success by again winning its division at the County Championship Meet.
The club’s original pool was just 17 yards long. Those who wished to adjust swimmers’ times from Moraga Ranch home meets to their 25-yard equivalents multiplied the times by a conversion factor. By 1972, club members began to seriously consider the feasibility of lengthening the pool to 25 yards. But over the next several years, the idea of a pool extension failed to garner the necessary membership support and by 1980 the club’s board of governors considered the extension proposal dead. Still, behind the dedicated efforts of a core group of members, the club membership in 1981 finally approved a pool extension plan. In 1983—twenty-three years after the original pool was built—the club successfully extended the pool to a standard, 25-yard length and added a new wading pool for the youngest children. Twenty-four years later, in 2007, Moraga Ranch installed a new, six-lane pool, and made several other improvements to the club’s facilities including new decks and pump houses for the main pool and wading pool.
Long known for its congenial, low-key, family-friendly atmosphere, Moraga Ranch continues to be a special place for its members. A 1991 club newsletter description of the Ranch remains true today: it is “everyone’s yard away from home,” maintained through the conscientious, volunteer efforts of its members.