Our Story

Our History

Growing up in Coos Bay, Oregon, Jim Theiring & Joe Shank's lives had been closely interwoven for more than 60 years. Both went their separate ways, but when Jim & Linda Theiring put their life savings down on a San Jose walnut grove, they called on Joe to help complete the dream of a swim school.

Joe, who was working for a consumer products company in New Jersey, routed a sales trip through California to talk with Jim. Three days after returning to the East Coast, Joe called Jim, "we're coming to help." Joe was also filled with ideas. A tennis buff, he wondered if they could buy the vineyard next to the property & build tennis courts too. This was in 1974, two years before the doors opened in June 1976.

In the 70s, men & women didn't workout together. "Finding a facility where one could play racquetball, tennis, work out as well as swim, that kind of facility just didn't exist," says Joe. "The idea was to incorporate many fitness activities, so families could be together."

In the 80s, AVAC® held the Boys & Girls 16s National Junior Championships, followed by the Girls' 18-and-under National Championships -- a tradition that continued every year until 2007. Many of the world's future tennis champions have played here. Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Lindsey Davenport, Jim Courier, Michael Chang.

AVAC Swim School®, the largest indoor, all-year swim school facility in the United States, was completed in fall of 2000. More than 3000 children are taught to swim each week; 15,000 each year. We have an extensive Senior Wellness program as well. Pilates is an important aspect of AVAC®, too. In 2002, more than 100 personal trainers from all over Northern California came through our STOTT PILATES® certification program. Equipment may change, fitness fads may come & go, but Jim & Joe's dream of a special place where families can experience the joy of health & fitness together, remains as constant as ever. "Thanks to our incredible members – a wonderful group of loyal, flexible, & hearty people who have come through our doors. We wouldn't be AVAC® without them," says Joe.

Almaden Valley Athletic Club
5400 Camden Ave [at Kooser Road] | San Jose, CA 95124
 408.445.4900   [email protected]