Local resident Bill Thomson was presented with the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center Champion Award in front of nearly 100 attendees at the Rose Bowl’s Terry Donahue Pavilion recently. The award is given annually to a person who has “shown outstanding dedication and leadership in support of the RBAC and its programs to serve all ages, all abilities and all members of our diverse communities,” according to a spokesperson.
Thomson, a long-time RBAC volunteer and leader, was presented the award by John Naber, a 1976 Olympic gold medalist swimmer who is also a member of the RBAC Founding Board of Directors.
Thomson was Pasadena’s mayor during the years when the RBAC founding board gathered to conceptualize a state-of-the-art community aquatic facility in the area of the old Brookside Plunge that had fallen into alarming disrepair. He worked with other community leaders to help raise the $6.5 million needed and secure the approvals to build two side-by-side Olympic pools, a clubhouse with locker rooms and a fitness center. Since its opening in 1990, Thomson has remained active on the RBAC’s governing bodies, currently serving on the board of directors.
“I am very proud of the work that takes place every day at the RBAC,” he said.
Also a member of the Pasadena Educational Foundation Board of Directors, Thomson said he is especially proud “of the innovative Water Safety/Learn-to-Swim Program that has grown to include all third graders in all of the Pasadena Unified School District elementary schools. While we may never know how many lives we have saved, we do know that the program has already helped over 20,000 children and families learn skills for a lifetime of healthy recreation.”
Naber noted that from serving on the boards of the RBAC and the Rose Bowl Operating Company to contributing to the effectiveness of the Huntington Medical Research Institute and Pasadena Community College, Thomson continues to contribute in making Pasadena a better community.