Long Beach Passes on Championships

Times Staff Writer

Long Beach, site of last summer’s U.S. Olympic swim trials, will not vie to replace Montreal as host of this summer’s World Aquatics Championships, the head of the city’s sports council said Wednesday.

FINA, the international governing body for swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open-water swimming, canceled its agreement with Montreal to stage the games after Montreal organizers couldn’t meet FINA’s financial requirements. The event, scheduled July 17-31, was reopened for bidding after a meeting of FINA’s 22-member bureau at Frankfurt, Germany.

Long Beach had been mentioned as a replacement. However, Rich Foster, president of the Long Beach Sports Council, said time was too short and hotel rooms too scarce to accommodate an expected influx of 2,000 athletes, coaches, officials, spectators and reporters.


Long Beach also would have had to design and build pools because the temporary pools used for the trials were sold and moved.

“Logistically, economically and in almost every other way, this is too tough a nut to crack,” Foster said “It would have been a great event to have in Southern California, but you need two to three years to plan.”

Montreal organizers had difficulty attracting sponsors, which left a gaping hole in their budget. FINA had given them until Tuesday to provide assurances they could come up with the money, but the extra time didn’t help.

FINA set a deadline of Feb. 15 for new bids.

A spokeswoman for USA Swimming said any other U.S. city interested in pursuing the event could directly contact FINA but added she was not aware of cities capable of hosting it on short notice.

The Greek swim federation, at the urging of FINA, said it would step in but needed approval of the Greek government. It would use facilities from last year’s Athens Olympics. Foster said Dubai, which has facilities and funding, might be another option, and Germany’s swim federation said it would consider submitting bids from Munich or Berlin.