ADDISON, Tex., January 21, 2002—USA Water Polo wrapped up its 2002 annual convention in Addison, Texas, this weekend, with officer elections and the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials being among the top articles of business. Before the conclusion of the meetings, USWP also expanded its number of zones from nine to 11.
Addison welcomed over 150 members, coaches, delegates, officers and staff making for one of the most successful and well-attended conventions in USWP history.
Four Officers Re-Elected
This year’s officer elections came and went without incident on Friday (Jan. 18), as the four incumbents went unchallenged on their way to a second term.
Rich Foster, who was one of the four new officers elected in January of 2001, will repeat as president of USA Water Polo. Terence Ma returns as Vice-President, while Jim Linehan, Sr. and Carey Heckman will once again round out the executive council as secretary and treasurer, respectively.
Long Beach Wins Bid for 2004 Water Polo Olympic Trials
Summer of 2004 will be a busy one for downtown Long Beach (Calif.). After having already secured the Janet Evans Invitational Swim Meet and the USA Olympic Swimming Trials at an elaborately dressed temporary venue near the Long Beach Convention Center, the city can now add the USA Water Polo Olympic Trials to its roster of events.
With USWP on board, Long Beach will now be the home of five straight weeks of elite aquatic competition between June and July.
Plans are in place to construct a temporary venue in the shadow of the Convention Center, less than 500 feet from the Pacific Ocean. The venue will be able to accommodate some of the biggest crowds for water polo in the U.S., with a seating capacity of approximately 10,000. The site will also be a short walk away from Long Beach’s Shoreline Village and Pine Square, two of the city’s hottest spots for consumers and sightseers.
The USWP Trials have traditionally attracted the best teams in the world to compete in an Olympic tune-up. In 2000, the whole of the women’s Olympic field participated in the July Holiday Cup in Los Alamitos, Calif., while five of the six teams in the men’s tournament also competed in Sydney.
“This is a great thing for USA Water Polo,” said USWP Executive Director Bruce Wigo. “The Olympic Trials will feature some of the world’s best teams, athletes and coaches and this promises to be an exciting, well-organized, well-executed event.”
Long Beach has previously hosted elite international amateur competition. For the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Long Beach was chosen to host four events including archery, volleyball, yachting and fencing.
Kurt Krumpholz, who helped negotiate the details of the bid along with Todd Trinneer of the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, says that the new venue will be nothing short of impressive, in keeping with the scope of the events. And, he says, Long Beach is eager to begin its work.
“The city is ecstatic to be hosting both pre-Olympic events for both swimming and water polo,” he said. “We’ve had outstanding support from the mayor and city manager. It’s a big deal. Five weeks of intense, elite competition where Southern California can come and witness some of the best aquatic athletes in the world competing. Not everyone can go to Athens.”
U.S. women’s national team head coach Guy Baker, a Long Beach resident, is also enthusiastic about the idea…and not just because he’ll be saving on gas.
“This will be very exciting,” he said. “I think that with proper marketing and promoting, that we could have huge crowds there. With our success in Sydney, there will already be considerable interest to begin with. So we’ll be hoping for lots of fans and some really good teams.”
USWP Budget Reaches Record High
USA Water Polo announced its highest budget ever at the meetings on Sunday (Jan. 20). The $3,137,271 figure also provides a small surplus over projected expenses for 2002.
Number of Zones Expanded to Eleven
USA Water Polo expanded its number of zones, or regions, to 11 on Monday (Jan. 21), adding Central California and Mountain to the list.
Also, the Southeast and Northeast Zones have been reconfigured so that Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and the Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties of Maryland have moved into the Northeast Zone.
Finally, Louisiana and Arkansas have been moved from the Southeast Zone into the Southwest Zone.
These changes will take effect in 2003, subject to approval by the USWP Board of Delegates at the 2003 Annual Meeting in San Jose, California