Aquatic Capital of America

From Openwaterpedia
Marine Stadium, Long Beach, California
Marine Stadium, site of the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships
Marine Stadium, Long Beach, California
Naples Island, Long Beach

The Aquatic Capital of America Foundation strives to communicate and promote Long Beach, California as an aquatic destination for business, education, and sports on a local, national, and international basis.


The Foundation’s strategic initiatives are to support aquatic events, clean water and water conservation efforts; and lead fundraising efforts to support local youth aquatics and “water proofing” Long Beach youth, refurbish and improve local facilities, improve access to pool and water related activities, and provide aquatic scholarships.


The Aquatic Capital Foundation’s membership includes boaters, rowers and kayakers, swimmers, divers and water poloists, marine enthusiasts, and business professionals who commit thousands of hours annually organizing and promoting aquatic sports and events in Long Beach. Its president and founder is Tom Shadden.


The mission of the Long Beach Aquatic Capital of America Foundation is to communicate and promote Long Beach as an aquatic destination for business, education and sports on a local, national and international basis.


The Aquatic Capital of America Foundation gives the following awards:

  • Athlete of the Year
  • Citizen of the Year
  • Coach of the Year
  • Organization of the Year

The Athlete of the Year winners included Olympian Jessica Hardy, swimming (2011, 2009) and Lauren Lolo Silver, water polo (2010). The Citizen of the Year winner was Long Beach City Manager Pat West (2011).

Class of 2016 Hall of Famers

  • Pete Archer (multi-watersports coach)
  • Ron Crawford (3-time Olympic water polo player)
  • Monte Nitzkowski (3-time Olympic water polo coach)
  • Tim Shaw (Olympic medalist + world record holder)
  • Hans Fassnacht (world record holder in two strokes + Olympic medalist)
  • Klaus Barth (Olympian, coach and top Ironman triathlete)
  • Joan Van Blom (2-time Olympic rowing medalist)
  • John Van Blom (4-time Olympic rowing)
  • Susie Atwood (2-time Olympic medalist and world record holder)
  • Jody Campbell (2-time Olympic water polo medalist)
  • Don Gambril (5-time Olympic swimming coach)
  • H. Lee Kirk (barefoot water skiing world record holder)
  • Maureen O'Toole Purcell (6-time World Water Polo Player of the Year)
  • Tom McKibbon (6-time Olympic rower and coach)
  • Pat McCormick (4-time Olympic diving champion).

Long Beach

Long Beach is a Southern California seaside community that holds numerous open water swims, fishing, boating, rowing, sailing, water polo and sea festivals events throughout the sun-splashed city with nearly year-round mild temperatures including the Swim Across America charity fundraiser. Long Beach has also been the site of numerous major national and international aquatic competitions over the decades including the 2011 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships that was held in Marine Stadium.

The Naples Island Swim & SUP is an annual opportunity for the City of Long Beach, known as the Aquatic Capital of America, to showcase its leading position in America as a destination for aquatic competition.


America has nearly 95,000 miles of coastline where over 50% of the total American population lives near the coast. Along the East and West coasts - not counting the tens of thousands of cities and towns dotting hundreds of thousands of lakes across America - one city stands out in the aquatic world.

Long Beach, California is deservedly the Aquatic Capital of America. Besides the large number of Olympic and world-class swimmers, water polo players, divers, rowers and sailors who train in Long Beach, the number of divers, kite sailers, kite surfers, power boaters, surfers, surf life savers, water skiers, wake boarders, stand-up paddlers and windsurfers - both amateur and competitive - is mind-boggling.

The history, scope and world-class level of aquatic activities in Long Beach is unparalleled. From Penny Dean training for her world record-shattering English Channel swim to the location of numerous major international competitions, Long Beach has also been the site of Olympic yachting and rowing competitions in 1932 and 1984.

Situated in the heart of Southern California, Long Beach has its fair share of celebrities, skateboarders and rollerbladers in a typical California mix of multi-culturalism with opportunity and sunshine.

Reasons for Designation

Several reasons help make Long Beach as the world's finest location for aquatics:

1. Mild weather - both in summer and in winter - without humidity and without snow enables athletes to train year-round without interruption.

2. Water temperature range - both in summer and winter - is well-suited for athletes to train year-round without interruption. For ocean enthusiasts, the relatively narrow band of water temperatures ranges from a low of 55°F (12.7°C) in mid-winter to a high of 72°F (22°C) in the mid-summer with most months between 58°F (14.4°C) and 68°F (20°C).

3. An abundance of pools and competitive swim teams for a large population base. For example, there are over 20,000 very active (i.e., more than 5 workouts per week) competitive swimmers working out daily at hundreds of outdoor pools under the leadership of professional coaches throughout Southern California area where Long Beach is centrally located. There are regular training programs under dedicated coaches (both USA Swimming and U.S. Masters Swimming-registered coaches) throughout the area.

4. In the open water swimming world, there are focused open water swimming coaches who have been developing and sharing information and experiences since at least the 1970's. The area also has numerous very experienced paddlers, kayakers and observers who have assisted marathon swimmers and race organizers with an unparalleled body of knowledge.

5. History breeds success. Aquatic athletes expect to be successful while training in Long Beach. Within the area sprinkled with hundreds of former and current Olympic medalists, world record holders and coaches, the level of expectation to rise to the occasion every day of the week and culminate in success is ingrained in the mindset of athletes.

6. A large number of competitions for athletes of every age, ability and background on every weekend of the year. Athletes, coaches, referees, administrators and volunteers can join with other like-minded individuals, enjoying their chosen sport for all its challenges, obstacles and benefits.

7. An overwhelming number of athletes and coaches 'talk shop' anywhere and everywhere in coffee shops, parks, beaches, organic food stores, over the telephone and online. They share their knowledge, network and learn about everything - continually keeping aquatics on the mindset and lips of its residents and visitors.

Videos of Major Open Water Swims in Long Beach

External links