The four-zone concept was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1978 at
the AAU convention when United States Swimming separated from the
AAU. The first Western Zone Representatives elected at the
convention were Dean Dillingham, Pacific and Anne Supple, New
1st Western Zone Championship was held in Concord, CA (Pacific) in
1979. It was the first zone meet ever in USS. Two hundred
eighty four swimmers participated in that meet. The meet was named
“The Best In The West”. The other zones did not
hold a meet until 1980-81.
2nd annual meet was held in Albuquerque, NM (New Mexico) in 1980
and more LSC’s participated. Many athletes, coaches and
managers who went to see “Sandia” took the tram to the
top of the mountain and watched gliders launch from the peak.
3rd annual Championship took place at Clovis, CA (Central
California) in 1981. Zone Directors watched many new all-star
team records being established and general time improvements.
4th annual Championship was held in Richland, WA (Inland Empire)
in 1982. Adam missed that meet, anyone having information about it
please let him know.
5th annual Championship was held in Irvine, CA (Southern
California) in 1983. For the first time the number of
splashes exceeded 4000. On the first day of competition the
meet started late because lightning hit the scoreboard on the
previous night and other problems made our swimmers swim till late
in the evening. That night the newly organized meet committee
decided that we would swim from both ends of the pool. At the
convention in Cincinnati the Western Zone Directors established a
committee to create a Western Zone Manual that would be distributed
to all member LSC’s in the Western Zone.
6th Championship meet was held at Santa Clara, CA (Pacific) in
1984. Several Olympians were in Santa Clara at that
time. To the delight of the swimmers many divers were diving
off the tower and syncro swimmers were doing their practice in the
adjacent pool. The Olympians signed hundreds of autographs. The
manual was adopted by members of the Western Zone at the Convention
in Indianapolis, and it was printed for the first time in 1984 by
then Zone Director Adam Szmidt.
7th Championship meet was held at Beehive State at Cottonwood,
UT (Utah) in 1985. Everyone’s conversation was about
the weather or to be more specific the heat during the month of
August. The light breezes were welcome and the meet was a success.
8th Western Zone Championship was held in Colorado Springs, CO
(Colorado) in 1986. Many people questioned the wisdom of the
LSC’s voting to have a championship meet at seven thousand
feet elevation. Everyone must agree that having the meet in
Colorado Springs wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Just
being able to see the Air Force Academy and swim in that huge
complex gave swimmers a feeling of accomplishment. A visit to
the U.S. Olympic Training Center provided a good experience for all
swimmers who attended this meet.
9th Championship meet was held at Mt. Hood, OR (Oregon) just a
short distance east from Portland in 1987. The beautiful setting on
the campus and the indoor 25 yard pool was a very popular place
especially during the rain. Oregon Swimming did an outstanding job
of feeding all of us watermelons. There were watermelons available
at any time.
10th Championship meet was held at the Olympic facility in Los
Angeles at the University of Southern California (Southern
California) in 1988. The pool was complete but everything else was
a total mess. The bleachers were blocked off due to
construction that was supposed to have been completed two months
prior to the meet and pool side space was at a premium.
However, that did not stop swimmers from establishing new records
and swimming their best. The competition was so intense that the
last race of the last event decided the Champion team and the
difference was just three points between Southern California and
11th Championship meet was held in sunny and hot Tempe, AZ
(Arizona) in 1989. For the first time, over one thousand
swimmers competed in the Western Zone Championships. Arizona
Swimming installed misters all around the pool to keep us cool and
had a large supply of water and ice around the pool to make sure
that everyone drank enough fluids. Since many stores use
misters or air conditioners in front of the stores our swimmers
made sure that on the way back to the hotels after the evening
competition they used the walkways that had the most cooling
12th Championship meet was held in Clovis, CA (Central
California) in 1990. Clovis can be almost as hot as Arizona but
that year the weather cooperated with us and the temperature in
Clovis was very pleasant in the high seventies.
At the convention in Pittsburgh the delegates established that
each zone will elect a coach director one year and a non-coach
director the next year.
13th Championship meet was held at De Anza, Cupertino, CA
(Pacific) in 1991. A ten lane pool was used which helped
shorten the duration of the meet and enabled the swimmers to have a
good rest. The newly established zone bylaws committee had
its first meeting and reorganized the Western Zone Manual. At the
convention in Louisville the new format for the manual was adopted
and the Spirit Award was renamed the Adam Szmidt Spirit Award.
14th Championship meet was held at the Weyerhauser, King County
Aquatics Center in Federal Way, WA (Pacific Northwest) in 1992.
Many records were broken in this beautiful indoor facility
built for the Goodwill Games, including the heat record outdoors.
15th Championship meet was held at the International Swim Center
in Santa Clara, CA (Pacific) in 1993. The weather was cooperative
and the barbecue was excellent. The Western Zone was happy to
welcome Wyoming Swimming to membership in the zone.
16th Annual Championship was held in Hawaii on the beautiful
island of Maui (Hawaii) in 1994. It was a long time in coming but
the wait was worth it!!! This meet will go into history as
the most spectacular meet. Hawaii Swimming met mainlanders
with leis, flowers and gifts and everyone experienced real Hawaiian
hospitality. The teams spirits were so high that when the
rain came on the last day of the meet during the finals the
athletes danced and sang to the tune of “YMCA”.
The closing ceremony included a luau with a Hawaiian dancing group
performing the hula, Polynesian dances and a fire dance. All we can
say to you, Hawaii!!! Mahalo and Aloha.
17th Western Zone Championship was held in Federal Way, WA
(Pacific Northwest) in 1995. There was no record breaking heat and
even the little bit of rain didn’t bother anybody since the
facility is indoors. The pool is known to have fast water so it was
no surprise to anyone that Western Zone records were falling during
each session and new Junior National times were achieved. The
Saturday “gala” was so successful that our swimmers
could have danced all night. At the convention in Houston, Texas
the meet format was adjusted so that events scheduled for Friday
will end at approximately at the same time as the other days of
18th Western Zone Championship was held in Gillette, WY
(Wyoming) in 1996. This meet and this small city in the middle of
prairies and miles away from anything were unforgettable as every
swimmer, official, and coach, was greeted with red carpet treatment
by city, county and school officials. Each athlete and staff member
received a cowboy hat and was treated royally with real western
hospitality. The meet was a little smaller than usual but the
spirit of all the teams was at the highest level ever.
19th Western Zone Championship meet took place in the new
facility in Roseville, CA (Sierra Nevada) in 1997. The Aquatic
Center was named after local Olympian Summer Sanders. There were
many great swims and many records were established. Over nine
hundred individual swimmers competed, and six hundred relay
swims took place. The Western Zone offered open water competition
for the first time and those swimmers who swam this event went to a
nearby lake on Sunday to compete. Lets hope the open water
competition will become a regular part of the Western Zone
20th Western Zone Championship was held in Federal Way, WA
(Pacific Northwest) in 1998. There were over nine hundred swimmers
who came to compete, but the difference this year was how the
swimmers were placing. For the first time it was readily noticeable
that swimmers from many LSC’s were placing in finals, scoring
was very close, and no team was dominating the competition. New
records and Junior times were established in many events by
swimmers across many LSC”s. It was a good meet.
At the Zone meeting that Thursday, it was recognized that there
were three original members present,
Lyle Campbell from Pacific Northwest, Mike Saltzstein from San
Diego Imperial and Adam Szmidt from Pacific. Lyle modeled the
T-shirt he received at the first meet held in Concord. It was very
obvious that he received it twenty years ago.
21st Western Zone Championship was held at the new Aquatics
Center in Grand Junction, CO (Colorado) in 1999.. Almost eight
hundred swimmers came to compete in the last Championship of the
century. Alaska swimmers had a sign on the back of their t-shirts
stating “last championship of millennium”. Mike
Saltzstein the out-going Zone Director thanked every one for help
he received during the four years of being the Western Zone
Director. Colorado Swimming together with the local Dolphins Swim
Team did an outstanding job in running the meet.
The Western Zone Championship concept has been designed to offer
age group swimmers a stepping stone to the National Championships
by offering an LSC ALL-STAR team travel meet with a National
Championship-like experience. Every event in every recognized age
group as well as relays make up the format. The Zone maintains
records in all events. The competition has grown from 284 swimmers
and 1307 splashes in 1979 to between 900 and 1000 swimmers with
4000 to 5000 individual swims. In the last several years we have
come a long way. With the continued involvement and concern of
dedicated zone volunteers who believe in the concept of zone
championships, we will have many successful meets in the future.
Adam Szmidt 11/24/99.
22nd Western Zone Championship was held at the new Aquatics
Center in Fresno, CA (Central California) in 2000. The meet
was another great success with over 750 swimmers and 3800 splashes.
The weather was cooperative and the hospitality was
wonderful. Unbeknownst to the zone this was to be Adam
Szmidt’s final meet. He passed away on November 29,
2000. His spirit, dedication and love for swimming and age group
programs will always be felt within the Western Zone.
23rd Western Zone Championship was held at the Kihei Aquatic
Center opened in January 2000 on the island of Maui. Mahalo, Hawaii
swimming for hosting another great championship meet. There
were 824 swimmers with all 17 LSCs represented. We had 4,233
individual splashes from the 472 ladies and 352 gentlemen and 606
relays. There were 60 individual event records set during the week
8 for the 12 and under age groups and 52 for the 13 and over.
We also had 19 relay records fall. The weather was beautiful--in
the mid to high 80s--all week with tropical breezes challenging the
finalists during the evening swims. Of note, were the
officials wearing Hawaiian shirts as their new formal final’s
attire on Saturday night. Mike Saltzstein presented a warm
memoriam in honor of Adam Szmidt during the awarding of the Adam
Szmidt Sportsmanship Award to Inland Empire.
24th Western Zone Championship was held at the McDonald’s
Swim Stadium on the campus of Univ. of So. California. This
pool is extremely fast and 20 world records have been set in this
pool. The meet was hosted by: Arizona Swimming, Montana
Swimming, and San Diego Imperial Swimming. These LSC’S
gave kudos to So.Cal. Swimming for providing a great venue,
wonderful accommodations, and excellent food service. Coaches and
team managers as well as the swimmers appreciated the convenience
of all the amenities within walking distance on the enclosed
campus. The swimmers responded with 27 new individual records, and
6 new relay records. The Meet consisted of 2240 Girls
splashes and 1942 boys splashes, totaling 4182. There were
786 participants, 422 girls and 364 boys. The afterglow
barbeque and dance were very well done. Everyone had a great time
at the party. The host LSC’s presented shirts to all
officials working the meet. That is a much appreciated
tradition to say thank you to officials from 17 LSC’s of the
25th Western Zone Championship was held at Tempe Arizona
in the pool at ASU. This meet was the second year of the
three LSC, two year bid. The Silver anniversary of the Zone
meet was accented with bombs bursting in air throughout the final
session as a pro football game was being played at the stadium next
door. It was as extremely hot 112 degrees through most of the
meet, but the water was very inviting as 19 individual records were
broken and 7 relay records were bettered. There were 474
female athletes entered and 354 men for a total 828
participants. There were 4722 individual entries, 609 relay
entries numbering 5331 total entries. Actual individual
splashes after scratches totaled 4421 and 537 relays.
All seventeen LSC’s attended the meet. An ice skating
party was a cool end to a hot meet.
26th Under the smoky skies of Redding California,
the Western Zone Championship Continued its rich tradition of
fast swimming. Ten (10) new relay Western Zone records were
achieved all of those swims bettered the existing NAG
records. Seven (7) individual Western Zone
records were recorded One of which shattered the NAG record
for 10 and under Boys. At times we wondered if the smoky
skies came from the 12,000 acre forest fire to the north of us or
from the sizzling swims that caught the water on fire. We
will all look forward to the seasons final
standings. There were 745 total athletes
entered in 4437 total splashes. The entire city of Redding
welcomed the Western Zone Swimmers and the meet received very good
press. At the WZ business meeting many new concepts were
discussed that will be brought to convention. We all
applauded the tremendous leadership provided by our Coach Director
Ken Ebuna. He has been a calm and thoughtful representative for the
Zone on the USA Swimming BOD. His eligibility is over and we
will miss him. The facilities hosting the Western zone
business meeting and the great park for the final party were very
impressive and will be long remembered.
27th Utah Swimming upheld the tradition of the “
Best of the West “ The meet ran smoothly and
everyone had a good time. The weather was just right and the
venue was well set up. Eight hundred thirty eight (838)
swimmers from all 17 LSC;s participated. There were
4411 splashes of which 585 were relays. Four relay
records were bettered, and one individual record was tied.
Numerous National Reportable times were achieved. At
the business meeting, legislation pending and being voted on at
convention was discussed. Ways to improve the meet were
also discussed and people at the meet wanted to vote on how to
better the meet. Those at the meet don’t usually go to
convention. This is to be discussed at convention. The
LSC reps gave a rousing thank you to John Kinney who has
served to the limit of his eligibility as Western Zone
28th Central California Swimming and the Fresno
Dolphins were the hosts of the 2006 Western Zone
Championships. There were 825 athletes, 4463 entries, and 570
relays total. There were 5 new individual Western Zone
records set, and 5 new relay records set as well. A note to
mention, 4 15-16 girls beat the old 15-16 girls 1500 meter
freestyle record of 18:03.55 (set in 2004). Wyoming was the
team winner for this years’ Adam Szmidt Spirit Award.
All in all a great meet, a great post meet pool party for the zone
participants and Fresno did a great job of keeping the Western Zone
Swimming Championships “The Best in the West”.
29th Farmington (New Mexico), NM, was the site of the 2007
Western Zones Championship meet. The people from Four Corners
Aquatic Team pulled out all the stops in providing a number of
really great events away from the pool venue starting with the
Native American Night that included a dinner and show the night
before the meet even started. 680 athletes attended the meet with
3,733 individual splashes and 502 relays. There were 5 Western Zone
records broken. The portable warm-up pools first used in Lahaina in
1994 and again in Gillette was used for warm-up outside the Indoor
30th The Meet in 2008 was held in Gresham (Oregon), OR,
where the Mt. Hood Swim Team hosted the Western Zones Championship
meet. One highlight was the large score board which could be used
to show both graphics and video. It was a fairly fast meet with
eight individual and ten relay records set. During one break in
Finals all the swimmers lined up around the edge of the pool
dancing and singing to ‘YMCA’ and the scoreboard showed
the scene from a video camera up in the announcer’s box.
Outgoing Western Zone Director, Vicki Marsh who is an official as
well as a coach joined non-coach Director Larry Johnson as an
Official during the last night’s Finals.
31st Waipahu, Oahu (Hawaii), the meet in 2009 was the the
third visit of Western Zones to the Hawaiian Islands. The meet was
smaller than in past years only 16 LSC’s attending the meet,
with 498 swimmers competing in 2,745 individual splashes and 367
relays. We had three individual records and three relay records
broken. As the meet progressed, everyone was keeping an eye out for
the weather forecasts as Category 4 Hurricane Felicia was east of
the big island of Hawaii and heading right for the islands.
Fortunately it slowed down and weakened and the meet ended before
the remains of the now tropical depression reached the pool.