International Swimming Hall of Fame Snubs Santa Clara, Stays in Florida

By Robert Haugh

In 2015, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced that it would move to Santa Clara. The effort was led by former City Councilman and now lobbyist Kevin Moore.

The plan was to locate the hall in a temporary space. Then, the City would build a new 3-acre aquatic complex in Santa Clara that would include a new Hall of Fame.

For his leadership, the ISHOF gave Moore their Service Award that year, too.  

But in August 2018, ISHOF signed a deal with Fort Lauderdale to stay there. They signed a 30-year deal with the Florida city.

But no public announcement was made in the Mission City. Moore didn’t know they signed a lease with Fort Lauderdale when we asked about it earlier this month.

City staff knew about it last summer.  According to Director of Communications Lenka Wright: “ISHOF requested to end their office use of the building on El Camino Real. As a result, the City of Santa Clara returned their deposit in fall 2018.”

This might not be a bad thing. According to Swim Swam Magazine, ISHOF was not really paying the rent that they said they were:

Financial documents included in the organization’s plan to move to Santa Clara included information that an audited financial report said the ISHOF was paying approximately $32,000 per month in rent and utilities. ISHOF CEO Brent Rutemiller says that this was “an accounting value and did not represent real cash.”

“The $380,000 is an accounting procedure based on the value of an ISHOF lease with the city of Santa Clara for ISHOF to be given office space in Santa Clara,” Rutemiller said. “The office space was to house ISHOF operations and HQ while a new aquatic facility was being built.  The office building was never fully utilized and sat inactive for most of the time.”

International Swim Center

About a year ago, the Council got a report that there’s not much support for spending big bucks in a big and new International Swim Center with or without the ISHOF.

Now, City staff is working on a plan that could work. They’re looking at a “right-sized” project and money for city-wide parks, libraries and other needs. There may be something on the ballot in 2020.


  1. Not cool. Kevin Moore should stop trying to waste your money and time on stupid expensive pipe dreams. He should reimburse the city.

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