Far Western Championships To Be Streamed Live to Worldwide Audience; March 29

Visit Swimming World's Event Landing Page for complete coverage of the meet. Click Here

PHOENIX, Arizona, March 28. SWIMMINGWORLD.TV and Ustream.TV are partnering to stream the Far Western Short Course Swimming Championships to a worldwide audience LIVE each night. This is a finals only stream.

In its tenth decade of competition, the Pacific Swimming Far Western Championship is alive and well. Many Olympians have competed in this meet as age group swimmers on their way to elite status.

This year, 1600 athletes from across the United States, Mexico and Canada travel to the San Francisco bay area to compete in the prestigious spring short course championship.

The meet will be held at the Morgan Hill Aquatic Center in Morgan Hill, California on March 29 – April 1, 2012.

Swimming World has been streaming this event since 2010. Jeff Commings will be there to bring you every finals race — LIVE – each evening on SwimmingWorld.TV.

The cost to watch all sessions will be $15.95. You can pre-order your ticket to watch all the Finals by Clicking Here.

Get your ticket today. We hope to see you there!

Here is a closer look at the great meet written by Mark Scannell — 2009 — 2012 Meet Director for the Far Western Short Course Championship.

Since 1925 t h e Far Western Swimming Championship has provided one of the fastest and most prestigious venues for USA Swimming.

The inaugural Far Western Championship was held at one of the most unique swim venues in the world. San Francisco's Fleishhacker Municipal Swimming Pool rightfully claimed its status as the world's largest heated salt-water pool. The pool measured 1000 feet in length by 160 feet across at the middle section and 100 feet across at each end. It held 6,500,000 gallons of filtered seawater pumped in from the Pacific Ocean. The pool maintained the constant 72 degrees required for A.A.U. (Amateur Athletic Union) Swim Meets.

The Fleishhacker Municipal Swimming Pool opened on April 22, 1925, as host to this national Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Swim Meet with five thousand attending the event to watch Johnny Weissmuller, the world champion freestyle swimmer, swimming for the Illinois Athletic Club. Weissmuller was one of the world's best swimmers in the 1920s, winning five Olympic Gold Medals and one Bronze Medal. He won fifty-two US National Championships and set sixty-seven World Records. He is perhaps more famous as an actor, starring as Tarzan of the Apes in 12 films (1932 — 48).

During the decade of Hollywood's Golden Age and the Great Depression (1930's), Far Western Championships saw swimming greats like Helen Madison from the Washington Athletic Club. Madison competed in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle races. By this time, Madison was already the world record holder of all the freestyle events.

By the mid 1940's the meet had attracted a celebrity fan base that included former world's heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, swimming legend and Tarzan movie great Johnny Weissmuller, and Barney Ross, former world's welter weight champion and decorated World War II veteran know for his heroism against the Japanese at Guadalcanal. During the war, admission to the meet was gained by War Bond purchase only and the meet drew close to 15,000 fans.

The Far Western Championship continued into the 1950's and 1960's, where it saw the addition of the butterfly and individual medley events as well as the formation of AAU age groups.

Gerald Macedo, 1960 U.S. Olympic Trials Bronze medalist and retired coach of the 2012 host Almaden Swim & Racquet Club, recalls participating in the Far Western Championship during this era. Macedo said, “it was important to have a sleeping bag to cozy up in between races because it was so cold in and out of the water.” Coach Macedo also recalled how difficult it was to get out of the pool at Fleishhacker. Swimmers would have to make their way to the ladder to exit the pool because the start end of the pool had an elevated ledge which made it very difficult to exit the water. Back in those days swimmers were allowed 3 false starts before being disqualified.

After years of underfunding and poor maintenance, the pool was closed in 1971. The swimming pool itself was filled with rocks and gravel, with the space now serving as a parking lot for the San Francisco Zoo.

Since moving from Fleishhacker, the Far Western Championship has been hosted at numerous Pacific Swimming venues. Olympic and World Champions, including Michael Phelps, Janet Evans, Pablo Morales, Summer Sanders, Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin, all competed in this fast taper meet as age groupers.

Only four of their Far Western records still stand which shows the depth of talent at this championship: Coughlin [13-14 girls 200y back (1:59.43), in 1997] and [13-14 girls 1650y free (16:38.44), in 1997], Evans [10/un girls – 200m free (2:19.78), in 1982] and Phelps [10/un boys – 100m fly (1:10.48), in 1995].