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.