Swim Coach and Volunteer
Gary McDowell was an active volunteer and swim coach at our institution for 30 years. Not only did he coach the Pierce Master's program, the South West Aquatic Masters (SWAM), he was an integral part of one of the first extension programs, a youth competitive swim team called the Stingrays.
Working with Steve Schofield, McDowell inspired many young swimmers and promoted athletics by providing transportation for his swimmers to their events and volunteering his time to create programs that would benefit them long term.
McDowell's contributions were not only made in coaching, they can be found all around our aquatic center. He supported the facility by fixing storage carts, building clock stands and swim benches for lessons, which has saved the pool thousands of dollars. In addition, he constantly volunteered to run our timing system at every high school, college, and masters meet without payment.
In the early 1990s, a failing economy and trickling funding threatened to close down the pool. McDowell was one of the co-founders of Friends of Pierce Pool, a loyal group of swimming enthusiasts who united as volunteers to ensure that the pool would remain open. Through fundraising, donations from community members (including a new heater from Teledyne Laars) and volunteer labor, Friends of Pierce Pool raised enough money and resources to run year round and refurbish the pool.
Gary McDowell died on July 4, 2014. His spirit and willingness to provide the college with countless resources is the reason he will be honored with a plaque in the Steven E. Schofield Aquatic Center at the pool deck near the scoreboard.
The resolution to honor McDowell by a plaque awaits approval by the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees (2016).
The plaque reads: In Memory of Coach Gary McDowell, A Friend of Pierce Pool Since 1990.