Olympic champion Misty May-Treanor was among a select few honorees to receive awards from the Long Beach Aquatic Capital of America Foundation on Tuesday for their outstanding contributions to the city.
The fourth annual Aquatic Capital Awards recognized noteworthy contributors to Long Beach, Calif., businesses and tourism as well as the city’s Olympic gold medal count, clean water and conservation. The dinner reception took place at Keesal, Young & Logan, a sponsor for the event.
May-Treanor, Olympic beach volleyball champion and CSULB alumna, was one of two honorees to receive Athlete of the Year. The other award went to Olympic gold medal winner in water polo and Wilson High School graduate Lauren Wenger.
“I’m just fortunate that you gave me this honor,” May-Treanor said while accepting her award.
The gold medal winner, who along with teammate Kerri Walsh are known as the greatest beach volleyball team of all time, achieved victory at the Olympics in 2004, 2008 and 2012.
May-Treanor and husband Matt Treanor – who also attended the reception – are Long Beach residents.
“We don’t see ourselves leaving this great city,” May-Treanor said. “For as big as it is, it has a small town feel, and I hope we keep it that way.”
The Coach of the Year award went to Dave Salo, who trains the men’s and women’s swim teams at USC and was assistant coach to the Olympic women’s swim team in London last summer, which included medal winners Jessica Hardy and Rebecca Soni.
“I’m honored by the award,” Salo said. “[Coaches] don’t get honored very often and I appreciate this award.”
Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, earned the Citizen of the Year award. Schubel led a team of scientists and stakeholders in addressing issues such as how to prepare for extreme weather conditions and sea level rise.
Port of Long Beach earned Organization of the Year. The second busiest seaport in the U.S. helped dredge the Colorado Lagoon and supports more than 30,000 jobs in Long Beach, 316,000 jobs in Southern California and 1.4 million jobs nationwide.
Honorees of achievement awards were Mike Segerblom, executive director of U.S. Sailing Center in Long Beach; Ron Harvey, U.S. Paralympian in rowing; Brandon Loschiavo, two-time AAU champion in diving; and Hannah Levy, the Long Beach CLSA Junior Lifeguard of the Year.
Hardy, who previously earned the Athlete of the Year award in 2009 and 2011, received the special achievement award. With Salo’s training, Hardy won gold and bronze in the 400m medley relay and 400m free relay, respectively, at the London Olympics.
“I’m honored every time to be recognized,” Hardy said. “It’s the culture and environment here in Long Beach that made me the athlete I am today.”
Two surprise awards in athletics and community service were given to the president of the Aquatic Capital of America Foundation, Tom Shadden, and a founding board member of the foundation Lenny Arkinstall, respectively.
“This is a total shock to me. I do love this city…and we will definitely get that pool one day,” Arkinstall said, addressing the recent closure of Belmont Olympic Pool, Long Beach’s beloved beachfront facility.