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Supervisor Don Knabe, Long Beach Sailors Head List of 2014 Aquatic Capital Foundation Awards Honorees

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The members of the Long Beach Yacht Club sailing team that captured the San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Cup, match racing’s second oldest trophy, have been selected as Aquatic Athletes of the Year by the Long Beach Aquatic Capital of America Foundation.

The organization today announced the winners of its sixth annual Aquatic Capital Foundation Awards, which recognize individuals and organizations that made the biggest impact to the Long Beach aquatics community during the previous year. This year’s honorees are:

  • Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor – 2014 Citizen of the Year
  • San Francisco Perpetual Challenge Cup winners: Long Beach Yacht Club, Dustin Durant, skipper – 2014 Athletes of the Year
  • Alfredo Montenegro, Long Beach Junior Rowers – 2014 Coach of the Year
  • Long Beach Parks, Recreation & Marine Beach Maintenance Crew – 2014 Organization of the Year
  • Angela Madsen, rowing – 2014 Outstanding Achievement Award

In addition, the Long Beach Lifeguard Association will be honored with a Community Service Award, and Ironman, kayaker, and stand-up paddleboarder Tom Gallagher will receive the first Dick Miller Waterman of the Year award. Captain Charles Moore, the environmentalist who has brought worldwide attention to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is a special honoree. The organization also will award a grant to the Long Beach Junior Lifeguard program to help benefit community members of their choosing.

The Aquatic Capital Award winners will be honored at a reception and dinner on January 21, 2014, at Keesal, Young & Logan.

The Aquatic Capital Foundation selected Supervisor Knabe its Citizen of the Year for his efforts to improve water quality that will reduce pollution and divert storm water from the ocean. The Beach Maintenance Crew is being honored for its around-the-clock work during last’s fall storm surge that caused record high tides on local beaches.

The Aquatic Athletes of the Year from Long Beach Yacht Club defeated a race team from San Francisco Yacht Club to win a regatta that has been raced among U.S. Pacific Coast clubs since 1895. This the first time a Long Beach team has brought home the cup. The winning crew members are driver-skipper Dustin Durant, John Busch, Randy Smith, Chris Macy, Ben Wheatley and Shane Young.

Montenegro led Long Beach Junior Crew to medals at U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships in 2014, including the first-ever gold for the men’s varsity 8+ since the inception of Long Beach Rowing in 1932, and bronze for the women’s lightweight 8+ and lightweight 4+ crews. Montenegro moved to the area after competing for Peru in the 1984 Olympics and has coached LBJC since 2007.

Madsen, a Paralympic athlete, completed a Guinness World Record ocean row in 2014, rowing from the Pete Archer Rowing Center in Long Beach to Waikiki Yacht Club in 60 days, 1 hour. Madsen and New Zealand’s Tara Remington rowed their 19-foot ocean rowing boat non-stop to raise money for Madsen’s charity, California Adaptive Rowing Programs, which provides training to physically and intellectually challenged individuals. 

 “This year’s honorees reflect the wide variety of sports and activities that make Long Beach the Aquatic Capital of America,” said Tom Shadden, founder, Aquatic Capital of America Foundation. “The economic impact of match race sailing that regattas bring to our city is substantial, and the Long Beach Yacht Club’s capturing and forthcoming defense of the San Francisco Challenge Cup is a major win for Long Beach. We also look forward to recognizing Supervisor Don Knabe for his many years of commitment to Long Beach, and thanking our city’s tireless Beach Maintenance Crew for its work to preserve the shore area during last fall’s tidal surges. We congratulate all of this year’s winners for their achievements and thank them for representing Long Beach.”

The Aquatic Capital of America Foundation was established to communicate and promote Long Beach as an aquatic destination for business, education and sports. Its strategic initiatives are to support aquatic events, clean water and water conservation efforts; and lead fundraising efforts to support local youth aquatics, refurbish and improve local facilities, improve access to pool and water-related activities, and provide aquatic-related grants and scholarships.

Previous winners of the Aquatic Athlete of the Year include Olympic swimmer and double-medalist Jessica Hardy (2009, 2011, 2013), beach volleyball legend and three-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor (2012), and USA Water Polo Women's National Team members two-time Olympic medalist Lauren Wenger (2012) and Lauren (Lolo) Silver (2010).

For additional information, please visit the Aquatic Capital Foundation website at http://aquaticcapital.org.