Azevedo, wright
Aquatic Wilson

Aquatic Capital Banquet Will Honor Hall Of Famers Tomorrow

Tony Azevedo (left) will MC the banquet while Adam Wright (center) is one of the headlining inductees. Photo courtesy Thomas Cordova.

The Aquatic Capital of America will once again induct some of the finest water sport athletes in Long Beach history to its new but already-impressive Hall of Fame. The ACOA will hold its third-annual Hall of Fame Ceremony on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. at the Pete Archer Rowing Center in Marine Stadium.

The dress is listed as “cool casual,” AKA Hawaiian shirts, shorts and flip flops. Long Beach native and Olympic star Tony Azevedo will be the evening’s emcee, and he will present

14 athletes for induction, including his good friend Adam Wright, arguably the evening’s headliner.

Wright, like Azevedo, is a Wilson alum who went on to NCAA and Olympic success. Wright won two NCAA titles with UCLA as a player then went on to the Olympic team, where he played in two Olympics, winning a silver medal in 2008. He then began an incredibly successful coaching career at UCLA, serving as an assistant on the women’s 2009 NCAA championship team before taking over the men’s team, which he has guided to three NCAA titles.

Another Wilson stud and water polo star is Chi Kredell, who was an All-American as a Bruin and then at Long Beach State before moving on to a successful stint on the national team. Kredell is now likely best-known around town as the head of Shore Aquatics, the powerhouse Long Beach club that just netted another national title a few weeks ago.

Long Beach Sports fans will certainly recognize the name Jon Urbanchek; the legendary Long Beach State swim coach who went on to a 22-year career at the University of Michigan is also being inducted. Other honorees are: Boris Beljak (rowing), Bill Barnett (water polo), Chuck Bittick (swimming, water polo), Bruce Brown (surfing), Jose Fiolo (swimming), Jay Glaser (sailing), Lisa Hansen (rowing), Gary Ilman (swimming), Skip Kenney (swimming), and Jeff Kiesel (paddling).

Those interested in attending the ceremony should reserve tickets ASAP at the event has sold out each of its first two years.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.