Photos of Belmont Today and As it Stood and As it Stands

The Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, California looks its age, and is set to be replaced. Demolition is planned for October, after the completion of the temporary 50 meter pool.

For now it sits, lonely and empty, but the pool that hosted the 1968 and 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials will be remembered what it was like when full-to-capacity, roaring, and home to some of the most memorable swims in US history, including the infamous Mary T. Meagher 1500 meter fly in 1983, racing against boys, and broke 18 minutes to win a free dinner from Mark Schubert (or so it is rumored). Or memories of  John Naber breaking his first two World Records, in the 100 and 200 backstrokes, at the 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Belmont is swimming’s Wrigley Field, its Rose Bowl, its Fenway Park, its Michigan Stadium. As newer and brighter stadiums have gone up with more bells and plenty of whistles, there remains a certain beauty of these relics of sports both for what they were and what their spirits have never wanted to be.

Kevin Chaney stopped by the Belmont pool this week, as it prepares for demolition, to snap some photos. We’ve picked some out below to show the glory days of the Belmont Pool hung upon its walls like old childhood photos our parents keep, contrasted with how it sits today.

It is a building that has seen so much, it must have memories, but it is the memories of the building kept by us that will hallmark the spirit of Belmont. Progress can’t be stopped, but history musn’t be forgotten.

R.I.P., Belmont. She had served us well.

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Belmont Pool old 2

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

Photo: Kevin Chaney

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Ruben Gutierrez
6 years ago

I remember my father would.take me there to swim…40yrs later I now live in Belmont…great memories….

Mrblhd
9 years ago

With a few memories of Belmont, but none more than my return to SoCal swimming and the 1973 CIF Championships. After a few years of living in the UK, NOT really training and now completing my HS Junior season, I entered the 200 Free prelims seeded between Jack Babashoff and Tim Shaw. Besides getting spanked i recall those slippery tile wall marks and having to restart from a complete slip out at the 125. Maybe I would be remiss as to the natatorium demise if the designer’s had not installed slip-n-slide walls.
So, I guess this leaves us with ELAC indoors?

Kevin Chaney
Reply to  Mrblhd
9 years ago

I worked as a lifeguard with Babashoff at Huntington Beach.

Katrina Shaw Valencia
9 years ago

What fond memories this place holds for my family! We practically lived there, either swimming, water poloing, synchronized swimming, or sitting in the life guard chair. My father, Burt, and my mother, Becky, dedicated their lives to ensure our well being. Their sticktoitiveness encouraged us to achieve our own personal goals. Our family hasn’t been in long beach since our father was murdered there in 1998 but that doesn’t mean the plaza will ever be forgotten. Christie, Steve, Tim, and I will always hold those walls dear to our hearts.

Kevin Chaney
Reply to  Katrina Shaw Valencia
9 years ago

Katrina, will you please tell your brother Tim hello for me. My name is Kevin Chaney and I played polo with him at CSULB from 1977-1979. A funny moment I remember was during the swim part of one of our workouts I out touched him at the wall. Now in all fairness he had no idea that a race was going on, he was just doing the workout. When the other guys razed him a little about it he just turned to me at the start of the next 50 and said “you ready?”. He then proceeded to smoke me and when I touched he was waiting with a friendly smile.

Sophie
9 years ago

Awww, I’m going to miss Belmont so much, I was just there in december for December Invites(WAG) and Sectionals. I’m really going to miss it!

mindy dougherty
9 years ago

wow..in 1968 Olympic trials were separated by gender..the men swam in Belmont..we swam in the collosium..I remember Nationals there like yesterday..we swam yards in 3.5 ft!! The pool was still so fast! From my swimming to coaching days..only the best memories..Cif..Q meet..so bittersweet

9 years ago

Wow. What a end of an era. A list for me: age group swimming with AA meets, Q meets, High school CIF meets and Milliken relays, College meets and season champs wile in school at UCI, and even one end of season banquet in the loft area above the starting end, not to mention Masters swimming meets. My entire swimming career had significant chunks in this building. The spectator “din” of noise was always something amazing, as was the silence when you were the first to walk onto the deck. It was always fast, and there was something about the air inside- you walked in, took a breath, shook off everything outside and gained a calm focus as to what… Read more »

PAC12BACKER
9 years ago

2011 – Last PAC 10 Championship meet and final CIF-SS Championship meet at Belmont.

Great memories but by that time the competition pool was as a dark as a tomb, the seating already clunkily configured with majority offset from the competitiion venue was in bad disrepair, ceiling tiles crumbling into the warm-up pool, bathrooms trashed, prevalent metallic surface corrosion, and pool mechanical systems in tenuous working order.

Belmont needed a redo regardless of the seismic issue that was the final straw.

liquidassets
9 years ago

My previous USMS master’s team Long Beach Grunions worked out there and hosted/ran many meets there for SPMA, and I watched Q meets, high school conference, college conference (Pac 10) there as well. Saw many American, and a couple world, (scm) records set there over the years. When I first moved to L.A. area, I was living nearby in Seal Beach. I went to watch some type of Grand Prix meet at Belmont and since I didn’t know any of the local swimmers yet, I picked out a young unknown girl to root for, because she was the only local swimmer from Seal Beach Swim Club. I think she was only 13 years old and younger than the other swimmers… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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