In what has been described as a “heated” meeting on Wednesday evening at the Baldwin Park Courtyard Marriott, teams in the Southern California Swimming LSC have voted to keep the country’s largest Local Swimming Committee unified.
The meeting, originally scheduled for January 15th but postponed for procedural reasons, was to vote on whether or not the teams located in Orange County would be allowed to split off and form their own LSC.
Southern California Swimming is the largest of the USA Swimming administrative regions known as LSCs. In 2018, the latest data available, SCS had 22,680 year-round members. The next largest was the Illinois LSC with 22,271 year-round members. The smallest LSC, the West Virginia LSC, has just 622 year-round members. They’re one of 3 LSCs (along with Border and West Texas) that have fewer than 1,000 year-round athlete members.
The split would have taken 34 clubs, about 22% of clubs, and about 7,100 athletes, 29% of SCS registered athletes, to the new LSC. That would leave the Southern California LSC with around 15,000 year-round athlete members.
A simple majority of teams voting in favor of the separation was needed to approve the proposal, but that was not obtained.
We have reached out to Terry Stoddard, the general chair of the LSC, who was leading the charge to keep the LSC intact, to ask about the path forward now that the LSC will remain together. He has not responded to that request.
Dave Salo, the general manager of Irvine Novaquatics, one of the biggest teams in the LSC, was among those pushing hardest to separate the Orange County teams.
“It remains my opinion that SCS is too large of an LSC,” Salo told SwimSwam on Thursday. “We shall see if there will be much change over the next year and determine if we should bring this proposal forward again.”
Salo is also the head coach at USC and the Trojan Swim Club, which would be on the “stay with SCS” side of the border even if a split were approved. Salo announced earlier this season that this would be his last as the head coach at USC.
In addition to Salo’s Novaquatics team, the split would have also taken the Mission Viejo Nadadores into a separate LSC. The two are among the biggest and most historic clubs in the region, and also are home to two of the best hosting facilities in the region. Irvine’s facility has hosted multiple US National Championship meets, while the newly-renovated Mission Viejo pool will host a tour stop in this year’s USA Swimming Pro Swim Series.
Those in favor of the move proposed that a split would reduce the number of sites needed for age group championships, provide more opportunities for All Star competition for area athletes, and reduce travel time and expenses for Orange County teams via a more compact geographic unit.
Stoddard, presenting on behalf of the stay continent, put forth a position that the LSC’s strength is its membership, and that the region remains stronger, more influential, and better equipped as one entity.