A little something for everyone

Tal O’Farrell is the proud manager overseeing operations at the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club. He is seen here on the basketball court at the Aviary Drive club location. (photo by John Gregory)

A little something for everyone

The Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club might sound a bit limited if one were to judge by name alone, but — as many Scripps Ranch residents know — it is a big part of life in this community.

Some young families might join for the pools and recreational facilities, or maybe for the gym and workout programs that come with being member. A lot of families join as they enroll their kids in the preschool program. They might start their children in the club’s swim lessons. Perhaps the parents begin to socialize with other parents at the club’s many events such as the Holiday Party, Oktoberfest, the Memorial Day celebration, family happy hours, social hours for grown-ups, tennis socials and tournaments, and family campouts. Next thing you know, the kids are attending summer camps at the club, or mini-camps during school breaks. The children might eventually be enrolled in the club’s after-school programs during elementary school and middle school.

You get the picture — a lot of local families rely on the club. While this is true, there was a time when families had less need for the Swim & Racquet Club as their children grew older and left for college. That’s why the club developed as many as 55 free classes to engage members so everyone could get more out of their membership. There is everything from yoga to tai chi to kickboxing. There are more classes for seniors.

As the name implies, there is an abundance of tennis and racquetball courts at the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club. (photo by John Gregory)

“It’s a great community gathering spot for our members,” said Tal O’Farrell, club manager. “We do the full spectrum. You can be single, you can be a family, you can bring the kids.”

Even nonmembers from the community can take advantage of some of the services such as swim lessons, preschool, after school programs, summer camp and mini-camps.

The Swim & Racquet Club has two locations: 9875 Aviary Drive and 10216 Scripps Trail. Facilities at the Aviary Drive location include six tennis courts, a pool, an adult Jacuzzi, a kids Jacuzzi, a kid’s play pool, a gym, fitness center, outdoor basketball court, preschool classrooms, two playgrounds, an outdoor fireplace and a barbecue area. The Scripps Trail location features five tennis courts, an 18-hole mini-golf course, a pro-sized sand volleyball court, horse shoe pits, a playground, two indoor air conditioned racquetball courts, a lessons pool, a main pool, two Jacuzzis, a preschool, a barbecue area, a lanai and an outdoor fireplace.

Swim lessons are taught in the pools of the Scripps Trails club location. (photo by John Gregory)

O’Farrell has been managing the Swim & Racquet Club for nearly two years, but he has been involved behind the scenes much longer. He served on the board of directors for 10 years and was president for three or four years, he said. As he puts it, he “loves” the place. In fact, it would be hard to find a person who has more enthusiasm for his job.

O’Farrell was in the process of selling two of his businesses and was coming upon a career switch when he heard the previous manager was leaving the position.

He said that one night his wife told him, “You’re the happiest you ever are when you’re at the club or when you’re coming back from the club.”

Three days later he decided to apply for the position. Besides his vast knowledge of the club’s operations, O’Farrell had plenty of experience in both management and business. He and some friends started a little skateboard company named Sector 9 back in 1993, and it became one of the biggest skateboard companies in the world. In addition, O’Farrell started the first two Wahoo’s Fish Taco franchises in San Diego. Billabong bought Sector 9 and O’Farrell eventually sold his fish taco shops.

“I cannot be happier with the decision I made,” he said. “I just really wanted to make this place a first-class family club. … The paint should be fresh, the pool should be clean.”

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