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THE GOLD STANDARD

Aquatic Capital of America established its Hall Of Fame in 2016 to preserve Long Beach's rich water-based history, and to recognize the men and women who distinguished themselves in accomplishing extraordinary levels of success in their aquatic endeavors

Inductees

Going Upstream

Aquatic Capital of America Hall Of Fame also serves to inspire future generations of aquatic athletes, coaches, and officials

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Eligibility requirements for induction into the Aquatic Capital of America Hall requires the athlete, coach, administrator or contributor to have:

5TH ANNUAL
HALL OF FAME

Our 5th Annual Hall of Fame Dinner & Ceremony inducted 8 new members into the Hall on September 7, 2023. In alphabetical order, they are: Ricardo Azevedo (Water Polo), Tony Azevedo (Water Polo), Karen McCloskey Keehn, (Rowing), Takako "TK" Kimura (Dragon Boats) Micki King (Diving), Jim Montrella (Swimming), Jessica Hardy Meichtry (Swimming), and Todd Smith (Diving). Aquatic Capital has not had a Hall of Fame event since 2019 and we were ecstatic seeing new and familiar faces this year! 

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2023 Inductees
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Ricardo Azevedo

Born in Brazil, Azevedo played on the Brazilian National Water Polo Team from 1974 to 1980. He was twice voted Brazil's "Player of the Year". In 1976, his team won the gold medal in the South American Games. Ricardo played for Long Beach City College in 1975 and 1977 and was named the Most Valuable Player for his team, the conference, and Southern California. A JC All-American, he transferred to Long Beach State where he was a two-time All-American for the 49ers. Ricardo went on to coaching success at Long Beach Wilson High School and is considered one of the best high school
coaches in U.S. history. He also served as head coach of Long Beach State's men's and women's water polo teams. Azevedo served as the U.S. National Team Coach and National Team Assistant Coach. From 1988-92, he was the head USA Water Polo National Junior Team coach and led the US team to the highest finish ever in the Junior World Championships (4th in 1989 and 5th in 1991). In 2010 Ricardo was named the Head Coach for the Chinese Men’s National Team, leading the team to its best result at the Olympic Qualification Tournament, missing the Olympics by a single-goal loss to Montenegro. After the 2012 Olympics, China decided to prioritize its Women’s Water Polo team and asked Ricardo to lead that team through the 2016 Olympic Games.

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Todd Smith

Todd was a three-time NCAA All- American and a 1972 NCAA National Champion on the 1- meter springboard. During his senior year, he was co-captain of the Ohio State Swimming and Diving Team. From 1973-1976 Todd came to Long Beach to dive with Hall of Fame coach, Glenn McCormick. According to Todd, “Glenn took me in, analyzed by list of dives, and inspired me to learn new tricks. He was a wonderful person who not only enhanced my skills, but he became a great mentor and friend.”
After his diving career, Todd became Executive Director of USA Diving, a position he would hold for 27 years. In that position, Todd was instrumental for much of USA Diving’s growth. He developed a budget more than ten times its original size and initiated the U.S. Diving Foundation to help sustain funds for diving. With the development of a Trust Fund, he helped bring U.S. Diving from amateur status to more open funding for its athletes so that they could compete longer and extend their careers. He solicited and negotiated sponsor relationships with Speedo America, United Airlines, General Motors, Bank of America, Texaco, Colorado Time Systems, Phillips Petroleum, McDonald's, Olin Corporation, Alamo Rent A Car, and Pan American Airlines.

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Tony Azevedo

Tony is a 2008 Olympic Silver medalist and ve-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016) Tony ranks fourth on the all-time scoring list in Olympic history and is considered to be one of the best American water polo players in recent memory. Tony won four CIF State Championships (Wilson High School) and two NCAA titles (while at Stanford University). He was the first player to win the prestigious Pete Cutino Award (the Heisman Trophy of Water Polo) four years in a row and was named the “Athlete of the Century” by the PAC 12 Conference. After graduating from Stanford with a degree in International
Relations, Tony signed a series of professional water polo contracts in Europe and abroad, leading each team to numerous championship titles. Tony is the co-founder of 6-8 Sports (together with 3x gold
medalist and current Women's Water polo Team Captain Maggie Ste¦ens), a company focused on accelerating growth and exposure in water polo and other developing Olympic sports. Tony was also voted as the first American Pan Am athlete representative. Through 6-8 and his non-profit, the Azevedo Aquatics Foundation, Tony is focused on increasing opportunity in water polo. His initiatives bring together the smartest minds in the business in an inclusive effort to effectively develop the sport across all age groups, skill levels, specialties, and nationalities- making sure that the highest quality resources are available to everyone, regardless of circumstance.

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Jessica Hardy Meichtry

While at Wilson High School, Jessica broke the National High School record in the 100-yard breaststroke. Swimming World Magazine selected Jessica as the 2004 and 2005 Female High School Swimmer of the year. She matriculated to Cal Berkeley, where she was a four-time NCAA Division 1 Champion. As a junior in high school, Jessica qualified for the 2004 Olympic Swim Trials in Long Beach. Jessica thrilled the local
crowd by earning a spot in the 100-meter breaststroke final, where she finished fifth. Jessica returned to the Trials in 2008 and she magically qualified for the Olympics in the 50-meter freestyle, 4x100 freestyle relay the 100-meter breaststroke (American Record), and possibly the 4x100 medley relay if she was the top U.S. swimmer in the 100-meter breaststroke at the Olympics. The magic turned into tragedy as Jessica tested positive for a banned substance and had to forego the Beijing Olympics. Jessica maintained her innocence and it was determined that her supplement sponsor gave her tainted supplements, which she innocently took. But Olympic rules do not care if the athlete is innocent if an athlete tests positive, he or she faces a ban from competition. Still, it was a very difficult time for Jessica, but she was resilient. She told her story in a moving book entitled, “Swimming Toward The Gold Lining
How Jessica Hardy turned her wounds into wisdom.” She told Swimming World Magazine, “I hope my story inspires others to believe in themselves and to know that they can succeed when all hope seems lost . . . No matter what anyone is going through, I want to inspire people that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It may be difficult to see in the dark, but keep believing in yourself, trust who you are, and never allow anyone to take your dignity away.” Swimming’s governing body recognized Jessica’s innocence and recommended a one-year ban instead of the normal multi-year ban, and the International Olympic Committee accepted the reduced ban. After the one-year ban, Jessica returned to international swimming and qualified for the 2012 Olympics, winning a bronze medal in the 4x 100 meter
freestyle relay and a gold medal in the 4x 100 medley relay. But what a fantastic career. She won a gold and bronze medal in the Olympics, broke 12 World Records, 4 time NCAA champion, and 11 years on the US National Team. Voted three times to be the Captain of the USA National Swim Team.

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Tom Hermstad

While an accomplished water polo player at Wilson High School, Long Beach State, and for the Long Beach Inland Nu-Pike club team, Tom’s primary claim to fame was becoming one of the finest international water polo referees in USA Water Polo history. He was selected to be a referee in four Olympic Games: 1972 in Munich, 1976 in Montreal, 1984 in Seoul, and 1988 in Los Angeles. He was also selected to referee at four World Championships, two Pan American Games, and numerous other high-level international competitions. Swimming World Magazine ranked Tom as one of the top ten referees in the World. Tom was also the head water polo coach at Golden West College from 1966 through 1985, winning a stunning eight State Championships. Tom became the Athletic Director at Golden West. As a player, Tom helped Long Beach State to a national championship in 1960. Tom has been inducted into the Long Beach State and USA Water Polo Halls of Fame

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Kyle Kopp

When injuries derailed a promising basketball career at UC Riverside, Kyle transferred to Long Beach State where he turned in a dynamite career. Kopp was a three-time All-American and was also named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team in 1988 and 1989. In 1988 and 1990 Kopp was named the Big West's Most Valuable Player while at the same time jumpstarting a run on the USA Men's Senior National Team that would last over a decade. A member of four World Championship teams, Kopp represented the United States at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. A member of the 1997 FINA Cup Gold Medal winning squad, he retired in the early 2000s after a five-year run of professional water polo in Greece. From there Kopp segued into coaching, helping the USA Women's Senior National Team to Gold at the 2003 & 2007 World Championships, Bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games, and Silver at the 2008 Olympic Games. Currently, Kopp serves as Head Coach of the USA Women's Youth National Team and the Golden West College Women's Swimming & Water Polo squads. Kyle has been inducted into the Long Beach State and USA Water Polo Halls of Fame.

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Takako "TK" Kimura

TK began her paddling journey to build her upper body strength after breast cancer treatment on the
recommendation of her doctor. He told her about the results of cancer survivors in Canada. She contacted them and found they were paddling dragonboats. She along with another person decided to start a Breast Cancer Survivor dragon boat team, the first in California. This started her passion for
padding. Over the course of two decades, her dedication and unwavering spirit led her to achieve something truly remarkable. She traveled the globe paddling in both national and international championships. Paddling on every continent except Antarctica. Her mission was to both support the sport of dragon boating and spread hope and positivity to others battling breast cancer. She became a member of the International Pink Sisters to promote breast cancer teams worldwide. Her role was to
represent the Western U.S. TK’s role was to inspire and uplift countless individuals through her journey. Late in 2018 she was diagnosed with ALS and told she only had a couple of years to live, yet she continued to paddle and coach until she could no longer speak. Her inspiration and love for people is
known worldwide to the paddling community.

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Karen McCloskey

Karen attended Long Beach State in the late ’60s and was introduced to rowing at the Long Beach Rowing Association by Carol Simpson and Melinda Collis. She was one of the first women to row for LB Aquatic Capital Hall of Famer Tom McKibbon. The LBRA women quickly became competitive. In 1971, Karen and Joan Lind won LBRA’s first women’s championship medal when they won silver in the double sculls at the National Women’s Rowing Championships in Old Lyme, Connecticut. In 1972 Karen and Joan won the Nationals in the double sculls. That same year Karen was a member of a quad team that became the first American women’s boat to win an international race. Karen made history as one of the first women to compete in Olympic rowing. Karen’s quad team qualified and made it to the Petite Final at the 1976 Olympic Games.

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Jim Montrella

A graduate of Long Beach City College and Long Beach State, Jim was one of the most respected swim
coaches in the United States. In 1974 he merged his Tarpon Swim Club with Jerry LaBonte’s Long Beach
YMCA team to start the Lakewood Swim Club. The Club became a serious national-level club as Jim
coached Olympians An Simmons, Susie Atwood, Steve Genter, Kimla Brecht, Dana Schrader, and Lelei
Funoimoana. One of Jim’s swimmers, Susan Gotlieb was the Pan American Games champion in the 200
butterfly. An and Susie have both been inducted into the Long Beach Aquatic Capital Hall of Fame. Jim’s success led to Ohio State University hiring him as the head women’s swim coach. At Ohio State, Jim produced 48 All-Americans and 51 AAU National Champions. He led the team to 5 Big Ten Conference
Champions and 10 conference Swimmers of the year. In his career, Jim was named Assistant Swim Coach for three countries-Columbia (1972), the Philippines (1976), and the United States (1976). He had to give up the Philippines job when the United States tagged him as the U.S. Assistant. Jim has been inducted into the American Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame.

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Micki King

Micki began diving at age 16 at a local YMCA. She began serious training at the University of Michigan with renowned diving coach Dick Kimball. At the time the NCAA had no women’s diving programs, but Kimball agreed to allow Micki to dive with the men. King enlisted in the U.S. Air Force the same year she graduated from college. Micki made her Olympic debut in 1968 and was in first place after 8 dives. On her 9th and second to last dive Micki jumped too high and fractured her left arm hitting the board, ruining her chances of a medal and resulting in her retirement from the sport. After the 1968 Games, the Air Force stationed Micki in Los Angeles. She drove to Long Beach to watch a dive meet at the new Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Glenn McCormick, Long Beach’s renowned dive coach, convinced Micki to un-retire and train with him at Belmont Plaza. Micki credits McCormick for putting her on the path to compete in the 1972 Olympics, stating that “Glenn inspired me when I thought my diving career was over”. Micki would go on to earn her Olympic gold medal in the three-meter event at the Munich 1972 Games. Micki was a career officer in the United States Air force and retired as an Air Force Colonel. She was also the president of US Diving from 1990 to 1994. King has been inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame, the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame, the International Swimming Hall of Fame, and the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

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2019 Inductees
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Mark Martinson

Mark was born and raised in Long Beach and attended Wilson High School. He began surfing at age 10 and soon began to win surf contests. He was the runner-up at the 1962 West Coast Surfing Championships. In 1964, he won the United States Invitational.  Mark’s signature moment came in 1965 when he won the U.S. Championships. After this, he traveled the world with the MacGillivray/Freeman team filming and starring in Free and Easy (1967) and Waves of Change (1970). Martinson is also recognized for being among the first California surfers to convert to the new, shorter boards in the late- ‘60s. Coming full circle by the 1990s, he shaped a line of longboards for Robert August Surfboards in Huntington Beach. Mark has been inducted into the Surfing Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach.

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Steve Pezman

A fixture of the Southern California surfing scene, Steve Pezman began surfing in 1957 while attending Wilson High in Long Beach, frequenting Seal Beach and Huntington Surf. He began shaping surfboards in the mid-60s and partnered with Stu Herz as the surfing industry’s first private label board builders and ended up co-owning Huntington Beach surf shop and Creative Design. He joined Petersen’s International Surfing magazine as Associate Editor in 69 and moved to Surfer Magazine in the same capacity in ’70. Steve then became the Publisher of Surfer Magazine from 1971-1991. With wife Debbee, Steve started The Surfer’s Journal in ’92. The classy magazine is still in publication today. Over the last several decades, Steve has authored many articles on surfing for surf and general audience publications, published the Book of Waves, the Masters of Surf Photography, and the Pioneer series of surf photo books. Along with Debbee, Steve was the Executive Producer of The Surfer’s Journal T.V. series, which ran from 1968 to 2001.

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Sherri Kline

A 1996 graduate of Long Beach State, Sherri became a member of the Long Beach Rowing Association in 1994, where she quickly became a national and international level rower. She won gold medals at the US Rowing Nationals in 1995 (Singles and Eights), 1997 (Eights, Quads, and Doubles); 1998 (Eights and Quads), and 1999 (Quads and Doubles). Sherri was equally successful internationally. In 1996 she won the doubles at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. In 1999, Sherri won the Gold in the quads at the World Championships at Saint Catharine’s in Canada. In 2000 she retired from elite-level racing but came out of retirement in 2010 and won the doubles at the 2010 Royal Canadian Henley Regatta in the Senior Division, and in 2017, won the Gold Medal in the Masters’ Quads at the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames River in London.

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Guy Baker

Guy was the head coach for the United States Women’s water polo team in 2004 and 2008. In 2004, the team won the silver medal and in 2008, they won the bronze medal. Baker elevated the Women’s National to international status. His groundwork started a dynasty, with the 2012 and 2016 teams winning gold medals. Baker also served as the assistant men’s national team coach. Baker also coached the UCLA Bruins men’s and women’s teams to multiple NCAA Championships. The men’s team won in 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2000. The women’s team won in 1996, 1997 and 1998. A 1987 graduate of Long Beach State, Baker earned All-American honors as a member of the 1983 Long Beach State water polo team.  Guy has been inducted into the UCLA and USA Water Polo Halls of Fame.

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Tom Hermstad

While an accomplished water polo player at Wilson High School, Long Beach State, and for the Long Beach Inland Nu-Pike club team, Tom’s primary claim to fame was becoming one of the finest international water polo referees in USA Water Polo history. He was selected to be a referee in four Olympic Games: 1972 in Munich, 1976 in Montreal, 1984 in Seoul, and 1988 in Los Angeles. He was also selected to referee at four World Championships, two Pan American Games, and numerous other high-level international competitions. Swimming World Magazine ranked Tom as one of the top ten referees in the World. Tom was also the head water polo coach at Golden West College from 1966 through 1985, winning a stunning eight State Championships. Tom became the Athletic Director at Golden West. As a player, Tom helped Long Beach State to a national championship in 1960. Tom has been inducted into the Long Beach State and USA Water Polo Halls of Fame

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Kyle Kopp

When injuries derailed a promising basketball career at UC Riverside, Kyle transferred to Long Beach State where he turned in a dynamite career. Kopp was a three-time All-American and was also named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team in 1988 and 1989. In 1988 and 1990 Kopp was named the Big West's Most Valuable Player while at the same time jumpstarting a run on the USA Men's Senior National Team that would last over a decade. A member of four World Championship teams, Kopp represented the United States at the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games. A member of the 1997 FINA Cup Gold Medal winning squad, he retired in the early 2000s after a five-year run of professional water polo in Greece. From there Kopp segued into coaching, helping the USA Women's Senior National Team to Gold at the 2003 & 2007 World Championships, Bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games, and Silver at the 2008 Olympic Games. Currently, Kopp serves as Head Coach of the USA Women's Youth National Team and the Golden West College Women's Swimming & Water Polo squads. Kyle has been inducted into the Long Beach State and USA Water Polo Halls of Fame.

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Dick Jochums

Dick earned a scholarship to the University of Washington where he became an All-American sprinter. Jochums took a teaching job at Long Beach State, where Don Gambril had selected him to be his successor at the school and with the Long Beach Swim Club. It was here, in the era of American male swimming dominance, that Dr. Dick Jochums would become the USA’s middle-distance guru at Long Beach, later at the University of Arizona, and finally at the Santa Clara Swim Club. Dick placed swimmers on every major USA International Team from 1968 to 2006, with the exception of 1996. Dick was the assistant or head coach or head coach of eight major USA National Teams. He coached 25 world record swimmers and two Olympic gold, five Olympic silver, and five Olympic bronze medal winners. His most famous swimmer was Long Beach’s Tim Shaw who held simultaneous world records in the 200-meter, 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle events. Dick has been inducted into the International Swimming, American Swim Coaches Association, and International Swim Coaches Halls of Fame.

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Dick Miller

Dick played water polo and swam at Wilson High School before matriculating to San Jose State, where he was a member of the swim and water polo teams. From 1950 to 1974, Dick was a seasonal lifeguard for the City of Long Beach. Dick was a highly successful swim and water polo coach at Millikan and Poly High Schools. In 1974, he was appointed Chief of the Long Beach Lifeguards a position he held for years. Dick was responsible, with Pat Flynn for developing the Junior Lifeguard program, which started with 20 Junior Guards and had developed into a program with over 500 participants.  During his career as Chief, Dick was responsible for many innovations, including introducing the EMT program from St. Mary Hospital, starting the Dive Team, developing the Lifeguard Code of Ethics, and initiating a program where Rescue Boat Operators could write citations. Dick was the President of the California Surf Lifesaving Association and the United States Lifesaving Association. Dick was heavily involved in international lifesaving competitions, taking U.S. teams to compete in South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Australia. He has been the mentor for the STEM program teaching kids how to be safe in and around our waters.  Chief has also been a part of numerous foundations and groups supporting our community and youth.

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Steve Furniss

Steve was a member of the Long Beach Swim Club, where he swam for fellow nominee Dick Jochums. Steve competed in the 1972 Munch Olympic Games earning a bronze medal in the 200 Individual Medley. As team captain Steve triumphantly led the U.S. Olympic Swim Team in the 1976 Montreal Games, to 12 out of 13 gold medals, a team regarded by most sports historians as the most dominating Olympic sports team ever assembled, winning 12 of 13 (92%) possible gold medals and 27 of 35 (77%) possible total medals. Steve captured a silver medal in the 1975 World Championships of Cali, Columbia. He competed in Pan American Games in Cali in 1972 and Mexico City in 1975 earning four gold medals. During his collegiate career, Steve won four individual NCAA titles and was part of three National Championship teams captaining the 1975 Trojan National Championship team. Steve was also a two-time All- American water polo player for USC (1973-74). Steve and his brother Bruce made swimming history. Steve was the world record holder for the 200 IM during 1975-1976, then just one year later; Bruce broke his own brother’s world record, a historical occurrence that has never been repeated in any Olympic sport. In 1975, Steve set a second World Record as part of Long Beach Swim Club’s 800-meter freestyle relay, the last time a club team set a world record.

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Bruce Furniss

Bruce swam for fellow nominee Dick Jochums at the Long Beach Swim Club. Bruce was a member of the 1976 Olympic Swim Team and won gold medals in the 200-meter freestyle and 4 x 200-meter free relay, setting world records in each event. Bruce also won two gold and two silver medals at the 1975 World Aquatics championships. During his career, Bruce broke the 200-meter freestyle world record four different times (including twice in one day at the 1975 World Swimming Championships team trials) and kept the 200-meter world record from 1975 to 1979. While swimming for the Long Beach Swim Club, Bruce, his brother Steve, Tim Shaw, and Rex Favaro broke the world record in the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay, the last club team in history to break a world record. Bruce was named the World Swimmer of the year by Swimming World Magazine in 1975 and 1976. He has been inducted into the International Swimming and the USC Hall of Fame. In 2000, Bruce was selected to the “USA Swimming” Swim team of the 20th Century.

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Pete Melvin

Pete, a member of the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, won three World Championships as a helmsman (Youth Doublehanded-1977; A Class Catamaran in 1997 and 2005). He also won over thirty U. S. National, North American, and Continental sailing championships. Pete was the helmsman at the 1988 Olympic Games in the Tornado Catamaran Class. He has achieved multiple world records in offshore sailing, including Transatlantic and Transpacific records. Peter was a major contributor to America’s Cup sailing. He was head of the independent team that developed the design and rules for the 2013 and 2017 America’s Cups. He was also the designer for the Oracle/BMW boat for the 2010 America’s Cup and for the Emirates Team New Zealand boat for the 2013 America’s Cup. His design, the Narca 17 Catamaran, was selected as equipment for the 2016, 2020, and 2024 Olympics

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2018 Inductees
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Lisa Hansen

Lisa competed at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, finishing eighth in the women’s quadruple sculls. She competed in three World Championships for the United States, winning the Bronze medal at the 1977 and 1978 championships in women’s double sculls. In 1978 Lisa won the single sculls, double sculls, quadruple sculls, and single dash at the National Women’s Rowing Championships. Lisa was a member of the US National Rowing Team from 1974-79. Lisa competed for the Long Beach Rowing Association and was inducted into the Long Beach State Athletic Hall of Fame. She was the varsity crew coach at Harvard from 1980-86 and went on to be the crew coach at Windsor School in Boston, MA. She coached her daughter, Gevvie Stone, who won the Silver Medal in the Singles in Rio.

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Boris Beljak

Boris participated for Yugoslavia in the 1952 Olympics and adopted Long Beach late in life, competing for the Long Beach Rowing Association at the master’s level for twenty years. Boris saw that the LBRA was lacking a first-class boat house and Olympic-caliber racing boats and oars and had the vision to upgrade the amenities at Marine Stadium. Boris made a large contribution to the Boathouse Expansion Project that enabled the club to double the size of the facility and enabling the club to house 250 racing shells. He then went to Empacher, the world’s premier manufacturer of Olympic racing shells, and ordered a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of shells. He also ordered new carbon racing oars for all the new boats. In all, Boris donated over $400,000 to the club. He gave his energy and money to the Long Beach Rowing Association and made it possible for 400 people a day to row in Long Beach.

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Jon Urbanchek

From 1979 to 1982, Jon was the swimming coach at Long Beach State, and in 1981 he earned Coach of the Year honors for the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. All four of his 49er teams finished in the top 30 in the country at the NCAA championships. After CSULB, Jon became the men's swim coach at the University of Michigan and stayed for 22 years. In his 22 years at Michigan, Jon helped guide the Wolverines to a total of 13 Big Ten Conference Championships, 10 of them in consecutive years (1986-95). His teams have lost just four Big Ten Conference dual meets, compared to his 100 victories, including a span of 42 straight league duals from 1988-89 to the end of the 1998-99 season. He also led Michigan to four straight NCAA top-three finishes from 1993-96, the only team to accomplish such a feat in that time span. In 1995 Michigan won the NCAA National Championship, and Jo was named the 1995 NCAA Coach of the Year. He also received the 1995 Swimming Coach of the Year award from the American
Swimming Coaches Association. Internationally, Jon was head coach of the 1994 and '98 U.S. World Championships teams and served as an assistant coach on the 2004, '00, '96, '92, and '88 Olympic teams. Jon has been inducted into the Long Beach State, Michigan, and International Swimming Halls of Fame

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Gary Ilman

Gary won two gold medals in relay events in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Both relay teams set world records. He also won gold medals in the Pan American Games (1963). At the 1965 World University Games in Budapest, Hungary, Gary won a pair of gold medals as a member of the winning U.S. relay teams in the 4×100-meter and 4×200-meter freestyle relay events, and a bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle. While at Long Beach State, Gary was a two-time All-American. His coaching career took him to the national team, Montreal Athletic Club, Alabama (assistant), Colorado State (head coach), and Midland, Texas (age group) before entering the electronics industry in 1981. Gary has been inducted into the Long Beach State Hall of Fame.

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Jose Fiolo

Jose participated in three consecutive Summer Olympics: 1968 Mexico City, 1972 Munich, and 1976 Montreal. In 1968 he placed just out of the medal with a 4th place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke; also participated in the 200-meter breaststroke and 4×100-meter medley, not going to the finals. In 1972, he was 6th in the 100-meter breaststroke, and along the Brazilian relay, ranked 5th in the 4×100-meter medley. Also attended the 200-meter breaststroke, not going to the finals. In 1976, participated in the 100-meter breaststroke, not going to the finals. Jose also holds seven Pan American Games. At the 1967 Pan American Games, he won two gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter breaststroke events, and a bronze medal in the 4×100-meter medley. At the 1971 Pan American Games, Jose won two bronze medals in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 4 x 100-meter medley relay. At the 1975 Pan American Games, Jose won two bronze medals in the 100-meter breaststroke and 4×100-meter medley events. He also finished 6th in the 200-meter breaststroke.  At Long Beach State, Jose was the conference champion in the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke events and was an All-American.

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Skip Kenney

The Fresno native graduated from Long Beach State in 1972. He was an assistant coach under Don Gambril at Long Beach State and coached the Phillips 66 Swim Club at Belmont Plaza from 1968-71. He was the head Men’s swim coach at Stanford University for 33 years. where his team won seven NCAA titles and 31 Conference titles. Skip is a 20-time conference coach of the year. At Stanford, he coached 134 All-Americans, 72 NCAA Champions, and 23 Olympians. Skip was the head coach of the U.S. Men’s team at the 1996 Olympics and was the assistant coach for both the men's and the women’s teams in 1984 and 1988. Importantly, during Skip’s tenure at Stanford, his athletes had a 100% graduation rate.

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Chuck Bittick

Chuck attended Wilson High School and matriculated to USC, where he was a three-time All American in swimming. He won four NCAA individual titles. He set thirty American Records in the backstroke and individual medley events. He was the world record holder in the 200-meter backstroke. In water polo, Chuck was a three-time AAU All-American. He was selected to the 1960 U.S. Men’s Olympic Water Polo team and was one of the team’s high scorers. He also led the United States team to a second-place finish at the Pan-American Games. Chuck has been inducted into the Long Beach City College Hall of Champions and the USC and International Water Polo Hall of Fame.

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Bruce Brown

Bruce Brown, a Wilson High Grad, was the most iconic surf filmmaker of all time. Early surfboard magnate Dale Velzy purchased Brown his first 16-millimeter movie camera, which he used to shoot the full-length film “Slippery When Wet.” The film was well received on the burgeoning surf film premiere circuit in large part because of the fun, lighthearted narration that would become a touchstone of all of Brown’s work. Brown would go on to make four more surf films, including “Surfing Hollow Days,” which documented Phil Edwards surfing the first Pipeline wave ever ridden on film, before he set out to make his most ambitious movie yet. “The Endless Summer” was filmed on a $50,000 budget in 1963 and starred Mike Hynson and Robert August on a journey around the world searching for “the perfect wave.” Brown’s charming narration and the story of seeking and discovering perfection and adventure around every turn spoke to core surf and mainstream audiences alike. The film was a massive commercial success upon its wide release in 1966 and is seen as the most iconic surf film of all time, inspiring countless surfers to hit the road in search of their own perfect wave. Brown won a Waterman Achievement Award from the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association in 1994, a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1997 SURFER Awards, was inducted into the Surfing Hall of Fame in Huntington Beach in 2009, and received dozens of other accolades over the years.

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Chi Kredell

Chi is Wilson High School and Long Beach State graduate. Chi left Long Beach sixth on the 49er career scoring chart with 143 goals. As a senior in 1993, Chi scored 55 goals, the eighth-highest single-season mark in 49er history. Chi was a first-team All-MPSF selection in 1993, second team in 1991, and Honorable Mention in 1990. As a senior, he was named third-team All-American. Chi was a member of the United States National Team for eight years. In 1996, he was the last person cut from the Olympic Team. Despite that crushing blow, Chi remained strong and made the 2000 Olympic Team in Sydney. His coach, John Vargas, called Chi the best defensive player in the world. In Sydney, Chi led the U.S. team to a sixth-place finish. It was a hard-knock tournament for the Americans, losing to Hungary and Russia (the Gold and Silver Medal winners) each by a single goal. Chi has also directed the highly successful Shore Aquatics program in Long Beach.

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Adam Wright

Adam was a three-time All-American at Wilson High.  He led Bruins to a CIF Championship in 1995 and was named CIF Player of the Year.  Adam was a four-year starter at UCLA, leading the Bruins to two National Championships. While at UCLA, gained All-Conference and All-American honors. After his career at UCLA, Adam joined the U.S. National Water Polo team. Adam was a three-time Olympian. He was a member of the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic teams. In 2008, the U.S. team won the Silver Medal.  Adam has been the head water polo coach at UCLA, recently leading the Bruins to two consecutive NCAA Championships.

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Bill Barnett

Graduate of Long Beach State.  Coached water polo at Newport Harbor high school team for 49 years.  Bill’s teams won ten CIF Boys Division 1 titles and 5 CIF Division Girls titles.  US Olympic Coach in 1988 (Silver Medal) and 1992 (4th Place).  Only one of three coaches in history to lead the USA Men’s team to a Silver medal.  Coached USA Men’s Team to FINA Cup Championship in 1991—The only major international championship in USA history. Already in CIF, Fullerton College, Long Beach State, and USA Water Polo Halls of Fame.

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Jay Glaser

Jay Glaser grew up sailing in Southern California. He first raced in Long Beach crewing on his uncle’s home-built Enterprise dinghy. He remembers his uncle telling him when it was cold and wet in mid-summer in Long Beach, “Don’t worry, the breeze will die down soon”! After graduating from UCI, Jay began sailing Tornado catamarans. He and his partner Randy Smyth won two World championships and a Silver medal in the 1984 Olympic Games. It was a special experience to race in the Olympics in his home waters of Long Beach. After sitting out the 1988 quad, Jay sailed with his wife Pease for two Olympic efforts. They won three North American titles but did not win an Olympic berth together. Jay began coaching elite sailors and coached at the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympic Games. He was named USOC Coach of the Year for Sailing in 2000. He has continued to race small multihulls, winning an A-Class North American Championship, Prindle Nationals, and Corsair Nationals.

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Pease Glaser

Pease campaigned for the new Women's 470 events in the 1988 Seoul Olympics with her college
crew, Cindy Goff. After competing in two regattas in Long Beach, they chose to move here specifically for excellent sailing and training opportunities. They finished 2nd in the Worlds and Silver at the Goodwill Games and were among the favorites to win the Olympic Trials but were not successful. Pease then made a shift to catamarans. She and her husband, Jay, campaigned for a Tornado for the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. They won the Tornado Nationals and three North Americans as well as the Prindle 19 Nationals but did not win an Olympic berth. In 1998 she shifted roles and went for the 2000 Olympics again on the 470, but this time as a crew for JJ Isler. The fourth time was the charm, and they won the Olympic Trials and the Silver medal in Sydney. She and JJ were recognized as the 2000 Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year. Pease has also won the A-Class North Americans, Corsair Nationals, U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship, and Melges 24 U.S. Nationals.

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Jeff Kiesel

Jeff joined Marina Del Rey Outrigger Canoe Club and has been involved in outrigger as a competitor and administrator ever since. Over the years, have worked “behind the scenes” in several capacities, including two terms as Kalifornia Outrigger Association (KOA) President, and overseeing its transformation into the Southern California Outrigger Racing Association, or SCORA). He was introduced to Dragon Boat racing. Competed on the U.S. national team at the International Dragon Boat Federation World Championships in Sydney, Australia in 2007, medaling at all four distances in the 50+ division. Since then has competed in three more world championships (Hong Kong 2012, Ravenna, Italy 2014, Adelaide, Australia 2016). Jeff has lived in Long Beach for the past 22 years.

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Ed Knox

Ed Knox attended Poly High School in the 1930s. He was named to the 1936 Olympic team along with fellow Jackrabbit Dixon Fiske. Unfortunately, Knox was unable to complete it as a result of an injury during practice. Amazingly, both Know and Fiske was also selected to the 1948 Olympic team, 12 years after their initial selection. (There were no Olympic Games in 1940 or 1944 due to World War II). Making the 1948 team after such a long span of years put Fiske and Knox in a select and unique group in U.S. Olympic water polo history. Only Wally O’Connor, Terry Schroeder, Ryan Bailey, Jesse Smith, and Tony Azevedo have matched this.

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Dixon Fiske

Dixon Fiske attended Poly High School in the 1930s. He was named to the 1936 Olympic team along with fellow Jackrabbit Ed Knox. What was amazing about these two is that they were also selected to the 1948 Olympic team, 12 years after their initial selection. (There were no Olympic Games in 1940 or 1944 due to World War II). Making the 1948 team after such a long span of years put Fiske and Knox in a select and unique group in U.S. Olympic water polo history. Only Wally O’Connor, Terry Schroeder, Ryan Bailey, Jesse Smith, and Tony Azevedo have matched this.

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Gunnar Larsson

Gunnar Larsson swam for Long Beach State Hall of Famer, Don Gambril. He was already a gold medal winner when he enrolled at the University, having won a gold medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. While a 49er, Larsson set a world record in the 400-meter freestyle. At the 1972 Olympics, he won gold medals in the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medleys. In 1988, Larsson was a coach for the Swedish Olympic Team, where he is considered Sweden’s greatest swimmer of all time. In 1979, he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

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Roy "Dutch" Miller

Roy Miller began his lifeguarding career in 1918 as a young guard hired by the Long Beach Bathhouse known as “the Plunge”. Little did he know that he would become one of the most influential and respected lifeguards in history. He introduced many innovations to lifesaving, including the concepts of lifeguard towers, rescue boats, and two-way radio systems. Miller improved lifeguard equipment with innovations to the “torpedo can buoy”, made at Willy’s tin shop in Long Beach. His friend Duke Kahanomoku introduced the rescue board to him, and Miller made it the staple of west coast lifeguarding. Miller retired in 1966 after 48 years of service to the City of Long Beach. He always told his lifeguards, “These families at the beach, at the end of the day, expect to go home altogether. Your job as a lifeguard is to see that they do!” He was a true pioneer and icon of lifesaving.

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Charles Kober

Charles Kober was a member of the U.S. Olympic yachting teams in 1960, 1964, and 1972. He managed and coached the U.S. Olympic team at the 1968 and 1980 Olympics. Charles introduced and coached many young people in sailing. He was the founder, president, and director of the Pacific Coast Sailing Foundation, which administers the United States Sailing Center in Long Beach. Charles helped organize the sailing competition for the 1984 Olympic Games. He was the commodore of the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club and was President of the U.S. Yacht Racing Union (now U.S. Sailing) from 1983-85.

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Coach John Van Blom

John attended Wilson High School, Long Beach City College, and Long Beach State. John won a scholastic National Title in 1963 while attending Wilson High School. John participated in three Olympics as an athlete (1968, 1972, and 1976) and qualified for a fourth in 1980 but didn’t compete due to the U.S. boycott. John also participated in the 1984 Olympics as the Head Women’s Olympic Coach.

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John Shadden

John Shadden graduated from Wilson High School and was a team member of the U.S. junior national sailing team, winning 5 U.S. Youth National Championships and the World Youth title in 1981. Shadden was the Youth National Champion twice and the 470 Class National Champion. He went on to train for the 1984 Olympics and was named to the team as an alternate. After the 1984 games, Shadden and his teammate continued training for the 1988 Olympics while competing with the University of Southern California Sailing team. He was named Collegiate All-American three times and at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, he won a bronze medal.

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Lynne Cox

Lynne Cox swam for Don Gambril in the late 1960s at the Phillips 66 Swim Club in Long Beach. Gambril urged her to enter a series of rough water swims near Long Beach. She immediately excelled in open-water swimming and simply became the best cold-water, long-distance swimmer in the world. At the age of 14, she swam the Catalina Channel and then set the record for crossing that channel. For the next two decades, Cox competed against the elements in swims that took her to all of the major bodies of water in the world. She never wore a wetsuit in some of the most frigid waters. In Alaska’s Glacier Bay Cox swam in 38-degree water, with a lead boat breaking a path in the quarter-inch ice. She set the women’s and men’s records crossing the English Channel. Her remarkable career included swimming the Straits of Magellan, three bodies of water in the Aleutian Islands, around the Cape of Good Hope, Lake Baikal in the Soviet Union, and Lake Titicaca in the Andes Mountains, the world’s highest lake.

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Glenn McCormick

Glenn McCormick one of the most respected diving coaches in the world, who coached at USC, was the 1956 U.S. Olympic coach, and the U.S. coach at the 1973 World Championships. He was a 1984 and 1986 Olympic Games diving judge. He coached McCormick Divers in Long Beach from 1968 to 1995. Glenn coached Pat McCormick to 4 Olympic Gold Medals in 1952 and 1956, as well as Gary Tobian to Gold in the 1956 Olympics.  He coached numerous National and International Champions, including his daughter Kelly, a two-time Olympian and Pan Am Games Champion. Glenn was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1995, and into the Diving Rings of Honor at the 2016 Olympic Diving Trials.

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Kelly McCormick

Kelly McCormick is a graduate of Wilson High School, and is the daughter of two Hall of Famers (Glenn McCormick and Pat McCormick). She combined her winning genes with great talent and drive making her one of the best divers of her time. In 1982, she won the first of her 9 national championships, and in 1983, she won the Pan American gold medal. Despite a back injury in 1984, she won the U. S. Olympic Trials and went on to win the silver medal on the 3-meter springboard. At the 1987 Pan American Games, McCormick took the gold becoming the first woman to win two consecutive Pam Am springboard gold medals. She won the 1988 Olympic trials with a torn calf muscle and went on to win the Olympic bronze medal in Seoul, Korea.

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John Nunn

John Nunn left Cornell University as a member of the National Collegiate Varsity Eight championship squad. At the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, he won a Silver Medal in the Single Scull event. The following year, he won a Bronze Medal at the Olympic Games in Mexico City in the Double Sculls. At the 1971 Pan American Games in Cali, Columbia, Nunn won a Bronze Medal in the Double Sculls. He was named the U.S. Men’s Sculling Coach for the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. His career included various high-level positions in the sport, including coaching consultant for the Long Beach State Men’s Rowing Team and a stint as the President of the Southern California Rowing Association. Over the years, Nunn has been intimately involved with the Long Beach Rowing Association, serving as the Organization’s
President from 1999-2003 and as the Executive Director of the Pete Archer Rowing Center Expansion Program from 1996-2007.

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Bob Horn

Bob Horn was the United States’ goalie in the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. In addition, Horn was selected Athlete of the Year for all sports for the Long Beach State 49ers, where he led the team to a State Championship (there were no NCAA championships back then). After a short coaching stint at Cerritos College, Bob took the helm at UCLA, where he coached the Bruin water polo team for 28 years. Before water polo became an NCAA sport, Bob’s UCLA squad had four consecutive undefeated seasons and his teams later won three NCAA National Championships. Horn was an Assistant Coach for the 1968 and 1972 Olympic water polo teams.

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An Simmons

An Simmons graduated from Millikan High School where she led the Rams to the first-ever CIF Girls’ Swimming Championship. An all-American in her one year at Long Beach City College, she transferred to UCLA where she was named All-American three times. Simmons was a four-time AAU champion and a Pan-American Champion. She set the American record in the 400-meter freestyle and was the first woman in the world to break 9 minutes in the 800-meter freestyle. She finished fourth in the 800-meter freestyle at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, missing the bronze medal by a fraction of a second. Her career included serving as head women’s coach at UC Irvine and a coach at the USA National Team in 1986.

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Bruce Bradley

Bruce Bradley graduated from Millikan High School. A two-time All-American at UCLA, he led them to four undefeated seasons (one on the freshman team and three on the varsity team). As a member of the 1968 U.S. Olympic team, he finished 5 th in Mexico City. He led the U.S.
team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich to a bronze medal and was the top scorer, the first U.S.
medal since 1932, a period of 40 years.

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Lee Harold Kirk

Lee grew up in Belmont Shore attending local schools and ultimately graduated from Long Beach State. He was an exceptional water skier, including his specialty “barefoot waterskiing”. For over a decade in the late 70s and early 80’s he was the face of the sport. He held the world record for speed three different times and pushed the sport to national recognition. His world record of 110.02 m.p.h. still stands under the rules of the National Drag Boat Association and doubt will never be broken. He was truly a star and a standout in the sport of waterskiing. Lee Kirk passed at the age of 53 and is sorely missed by his friends and fans.

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Ryan Bailey

Ryan Bailey is a Millikan High School graduate and four-time All-American at UC Irvine, where he scored 104 goals in his senior year and was voted the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year. Bailey was a member of the U.S. Olympic team in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012. In 2008, he helped lead the team to a Silver Medal, the first for the United States since 1988. At the 2012 Olympic Games, Bailey was the high scorer for the U.S. team and was considered one of the premier 2-meter players in the world.

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Jericho Poppler

Jericho Poppler was born and raised in Long Beach and graduated from Wilson High School and Long Beach City College. She was a fixture in the Women’s Division of the United States Surfing Championships in the 60’s and 70’s, finishing 5th in 1966, 6th in 1967, fifth in 1969, 1st in 1970, 3rd in 1972, and 4th in 1973. She won the Western Surfing Association’s elite AAAA Division in 1971. Poppler then became one of the original full-time female professional surfers, where she won several events. In 1975, she founded the Women’s International Surfing Association, and was the inaugural world champion in 1976. After retiring from competitive surfing, she turned her attention to environmental causes and helped establish the Surfrider Foundation.

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2016 Inductees
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Coach Monte Nitzkowski

Monte was a long-time head coach at Long Beach City College, where his teams won many State Championships. He was also a long-time U.S. National Team head coach and was the Olympic Coach in 1972 (Bronze Medal), 1980 (boycott year), and 1984 (Silver Medal). Monte is considered to be the most successful water polo coach in U.S. History. He has been inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame and the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame.

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Jody Campbell

Jody grew up in Long Beach and attended Wilson High School. He attended Stanford University, leading the Cardinal to four consecutive NCAA Championships. He was named to three Olympic teams: 1980 (boycott), 1984 (Silver Medal), and 1988 (Silver Medal). Considered to be one of the best players in U.S. history.

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Ron Crawford

Ron attended Long Beach City College and Long Beach State College. Ron was an AAU All-American nine times. He played on the U.S. Olympic team in 1960, 1964, and 1968. He has been inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame and the International Water Polo Hall of Fame. Recently deceased.

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Pat McCormick

Pat attended Wilson High School, Long Beach City College, and Long Beach State. She is the only female diver in the history of the Olympics to win the “double-double”, winning gold medals in the platform and springboard events in two consecutive 2 Olympic Games. Her first two gold medals were won in 1952 and the second pair in 1956. In 1956, she won the Sullivan Award for the best amateur athlete in the country. Pat was the first woman inducted into the U.S. Swimming Hall of Fame.

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Joan Van Blom

Joan attended Wilson High School and Long Beach State. She was a three-time Olympian. She won a silver medal in 1976, becoming the first American woman to earn an Olympic rowing medal. Joan also won a silver medal in 1984, after missing the 1980 Olympics due to the boycott. Recently deceased

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Coach John Van Blom

John attended Wilson High School, Long Beach City College, and Long Beach State. John won a scholastic National Title in 1963 while attending Wilson High School. John participated in three Olympics as an athlete (1968, 1972, and 1976) and qualified for a fourth in 1980 but didn’t compete due to the U.S. boycott. John also participated in the 1984 Olympics as the Head Women’s Olympic Coach.

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Coach Tom McKibbon

Tom attended Long Beach City College and Long Beach State. As an athlete, Tom participated in the 1968, 1972, and 1976 Olympics and was the head or assistant U.S. Olympic Coach from 1976 to 1988.

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Pete Archer

Pete was a pioneer in the sport of rowing. He was the original coach for the Long Beach Rowing Club in the 1930s. He coached many national champions. The City’s rowing center is named after him. But Pete was also involved in coaching diving, swimming, and water polo. In 1985 he was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame as a contributor. The ”Grand Old Man of Rowing” passed away in 2001.

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Tim Shaw

Tim attended Wilson High School and Long Beach State and was a member of the Long Beach Swim Club. A rare two-sport Olympian, Tim earned a silver medal in water polo and a silver medal in swimming. In 1975, Tim won world titles in the 200, 400, and 31,500 freestyle events and was selected as the Sullivan Award winner. In 1974 and 1975, Tim was selected World Swimmer of the Year by Swimming World Magazine.

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Coach Klaus Barth

Klaus attended Long Beach State, where he swam for legendary coach, Don Gambril. He was a member of the German Olympic Swim Team in 1968 and held the German record for the 200 breaststroke. Klaus was also a world-class triathlete, finishing fourth in the Hawaii Ironman competition at the age of 37. But Klaus’ real mark on aquatics was as a coach. He led Wilson High School to 25 consecutive Moore League Championships and led his Shore Aquatic water polo teams to several national championships. What separated Klaus from other coaches, was his belief that the slowest and weakest swimmers and water polo players deserved as much of his attention as the fast and strong. He had a strong contribution to thousands of athletes over his career. Klaus passed away in 2006.

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Hans Fassnacht

Hans attended Long Beach State, where he won two NCAA titles in swimming. While a 49er, he broke a world record in the 400-meter freestyle. He also set a world record in the 200 butterfly and won a silver medal at the 1972 Olympic Games. During his career, Hans set five American records. In 1992, Hans was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

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Maureen O'Toole

Maureen was a pioneer in Women’s water polo. When she attended
Wilson High School, there was no girl’s water polo, so she played on the boy’s team. At Long
Beach City College, she played on the Men’s team. After graduation from college, Maureen
quickly became the best female water polo player in the world. She was selected as the World
Water Polo Player of the year six times. When Women’s water polo was added to the Olympic
program in 2000, she came out of retirement and helped the U.S. squad to win the silver medal.

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Susie Atwood

Susie attended Millikan High School and Long Beach City College. Susie is a two-time Olympian (1968 and 1972). At the Olympic Games in Munich, Susie won a bronze medal in the 100 backstroke and a silver medal in the 200 backstroke. She held world records in those two events from 1969 to 1972. During her career, Susie won 23 national titles. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1992

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Coach Don Gambril

Don coached swimming at Long Beach State from 1967 to 1971, where he led the 49ers to an NCAA College Division Championship and two fifth-place finishes at the NCAA Championships in 1970 and 1971. Don was an internationally famous coach, having been the Assistant Olympic Swim Coach in 1968, 1972, 1976, and 1980. He was the head Olympic Swim Coach in 1984. Don also coached the highly regarded Phillips 66 Swim team in 4 Long Beach, leading that squad to two National AAU Championships. Don was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1983.

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Lee Harold Kirk

Lee grew up in Belmont Shore attending local schools and ultimately graduated from Long Beach State. He was an exceptional water skier, including his specialty “barefoot waterskiing”. For over a decade in the late 70s and early 80’s he was the face of the sport. He held the world record for speed three different times and pushed the sport to national recognition. His world record of 110.02 m.p.h. still stands under the rules of the National Drag Boat Association and doubt will never be broken. He was truly a star and a standout in the sport of waterskiing. Lee Kirk passed at the age of 53 and is sorely missed by his friends and fans.

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