The weekends from now until Christmas will be busy ones at the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool, with back-to-back-to-back championship meets on tap. The first one is the annual Southern Pacific Masters Swimming (SPMS) Short Course Meters Championships, set to start on Friday, Nov. 30, and run through Sunday, Dec. 2, and hosted by one of our hometown swim clubs, the Long Beach Grunions.

SPMS is a regional authority for senior swimming, which is the adult branch of the lifelong sport of competitive swimming. A short-course meters championship is a championship meet set on a pool where the legs are 25 meters in length rather than 50 meters in length. There also are short-course meets where the lengths are measured in yards. 

As a championship, this meet features all the standard strokes — backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle — in individual events up to 400 meters, with the 1,500-meter freestyle kicking off the event on Friday. There also will be individual medley events, where the swimmer does one or more laps of each stroke; medley relays, where one swimmer does each of the four strokes; and relays in each stroke. Swimmers compete based on their times but are scored by gender and age group.

The Long Beach Grunions are a self-avowed “totally cool, really fun, high energy swim team and social club for gays, lesbians and their friends” that offers “a supportive swim environment with helpful coaches” and “different levels of workouts for swimmers of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced.”

Membership is in no way limited to gay and lesbian swimmers. The team offers everything from high-level competition to swimming instruction.

Information on the meet is best found on the Long Beach Grunions website,, or by calling the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool at 570-1806.

Rowing Regatta

The Bill Lockyer Christmas Regatta returns to the historic Marine Stadium, site of the 1932 Olympic rowing events, on Sunday, Dec. 2. It is hosted by the Long Beach Rowing Association and will draw competitors from all over the western states.

If you’ve never been to a rowing regatta, this would be a great chance. While it lasts only one day, the competition kicks off early. The first heat — the men’s open lightweight sculls — goes off at 7 a.m. while the last event — a newly added race for freshmen women in eights — is set for about 3:15 p.m. that afternoon. In between, there are races scheduled every seven minutes, except for built-in breaks for meals and catch-up. The action is non-stop.

I recommend you go to great Long Beach Rowing Association website,, for information. There is a link to the meet right there, including the schedule. Or you can call the LBRA at 438-3352. 

Sailing Clinic

Alamitos Bay Yacht Club and the United States Sailing Center-Long Beach will join forces this weekend to run the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association (SCYYRA) Winter Advanced Training Clinic. Drawing young sailors from as far south as San Diego and as far north as Santa Barbara, there’ll be training in the advanced classes that kids sail around here — the singlehanded Laser and Laser Radial and the doublehanded CFJ, Club 420 and 29er.

The clinic will run both Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2. If you want information on this one, try going to the Southern California Youth Yacht Racing Association website, There is a calendar on the homepage, and by scrolling down you can find a link to the information page (they call it an “NOR”) for the event. You can also call the United States Sailing Center-Long Beach at 433-7939 for details.

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