Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Taplin Relay: 1959 - 1962

Late last month we heard from L.A. City Beach Lifeguard (Ret.), Jack Daniels, who swam on multiple L.A. City Taplin teams in the 50's and 60's.  We asked and he provided us with a photo of his team's Second Place Trophy for the year 1959 (see below).  They don't make trophies like they used to.  According to Jack's wife, Susan, that is the Trophy on their bar at home that gets the most questions too!  It's a beauty, that's for sure.  Thanks to Jack and his wife, Susan, for providing us with this great photo!

As far as First Place goes in 1959, the L.A. County team that won the Taplin relay included:

D. Martin
F. Tissue
C. McIlroy
C. Post
R. Bream
J. Pieper
M. Bright
C. Long
R. Keelor
W. Bryson
B. Copeland
R. Stoner
J. James
J. Stalder
O. Smart
W. Baker

Wanting to find out more about this era, we also asked our go to guy, Chief Bob Burnside (Ret.), for some of his recollections about these same years, many of which he participated in as a swimmer.  Well, here read it yourselves, in Bob's own words:

"Zuma was first allowed to compete independent of So. Bay in 1960... It took us only a year to finally break thru and prove our point... that a small section could in fact win the Taplin.  Prior to that, the desire to dominate the Taplin was by combining all county lifeguards into a Co 1 and Co 2 team. I swam on the 1952 53 54 55 56 57 teams.

Howard Lee and I started rowing after Chief Stevenson granted Zuma it's request to get one of the older heavy dory's.  I believe about 1957, Howie and I made our argument that a run off by time trial should be established for the dory segment. Prior to that, the dorys teams for the Taplin were voted on by some of the older crew that had proven their skill in the dorys (check the bell it shows that the same people always rowed). Frank Rodecker and Ted Davis agreed with our point of view... and thus trials for the dory started taking place.

ADDITIONALLY, ALL THE TRIALS FOR THE CO. TAPLIN swim paddle and dory TRIALS WERE IN THE South Bay.  This became a hardship on Zuma lifeguards wishing to try out for the Co 1 and Co 2 teams.  The Taplin was losing participation from other services... the fact being they got their asses beat yearly as they couldn't compete with the over all strength of the county.

Finally, Chief Stevenson supported my arguments... that just winning was not the most important... but having as many other agencies participate would build the status of "THE TAPLIN".  The 1960 Zuma team gave a great show... almost pulling a huge upset... but settled for 2nd.  With that performance from a very small group of lifeguards... the word got out along the coast and 1961 saw Huntington Beach, California State and Newport come into the event.  I started training oarsmen... and training as a dory team together weekly.  During that time, we developed a totally new dory exchange (Which is used still today).  The old method was the dory would come in and both oars men would row the dory around facing seaward... THEN, the stern man would jump out and run up the beach to touch for the next team.  It soon became apparent to me... that if the next team's bow man would be in the water, catch the incoming bow as the incoming bow member jumped out and raced up to touch the next teams stern man, swing the dorys bow seaward as the stern man jumped out and stabilized the dory for him to get in, get set and wait for the new stern man to arrive and jump in, as well as the "return" of the earlier bow man to assist in a two man push out... That we could really make some time up on the exchange.

We hung in on the swimming segment and closed the gap on our paddlers...but when our dory teams started rowing and utilized "this new exchange" we took the lead after the second boat.  The rest is history and everyone then started copying our exchange.  Call Howard... he can give you some input on that..

I recall Frank Rodecker telling me after our win... "Bob, Zumas dory crews were Amazing!" As the years went on... The Taplin saw Carpenteria, another small lifeguard team, win the Taplin.

Not having access to the bell, I am not sure as to who won over the years.  But Zuma had proven it's point. Todd Rutherford can give you another slant on the problems earlier making the dory team etc.

Without appearing too "ZUMAISH!".... I am proud to have been part of the early mystic around Zuma..You may not be aware that the saying "PREVENT FIRST" was born and started at Zuma. Randy, Howard, and Dick can give you the background on this. Briefly, the LACO policy was more stay in your tower and when someone got into trouble then hit the water.  Zuma was much different... radical lateral drifts and large fast rips developing... One Monday at South Bay Hqts during our weekly officers meeting, South bay had recorded over 250 rescues, with Zuma only around 35.  I was always assigned by Capt. Temple to represent Zuma at these meetings.  That particular weekend a large south swell had hit Southern California and the question was asked of me "Why did you guys only have 35 rescues?"  My reponsne was... "We prevent them from occurring... we get out of the tours and control the danger.  We tell our lifeguards that "If you have to make a rescue, you likely have not "guarded your zone correctly"...

The southern division Captain jumped my ass... "You sacrificed good press for us by that policy!' Come up and see for yourself I responded... Bud Stevenson stepped in and calmed the waters and stated... that each Division had different needs and policies..etc etc etc.

Our approach was... Keep them from getting in trouble. If you had to hit the water be close to the point.  In that case... the "SHIFT" procedure would be applied... that being every tower lifeguard being alert would shift to cover the vacated spot... being alert to his right or left tower lifeguard moving in the shift. It worked and the whole Zuma crew was guarding like one unit, a polished shift and coverage.  They became really experts on covering their areas and being aware what was happening left and right of them...  Ahh yes, Zuma has a great heritage...  Luckily, we had some new permanents that looked at lifeguarding in a different way.  Our motto:  "The best damn lifeguards in the world" come through this beach!"           Bob

We also recorded the names from the Taplin Trophy from years 1961 and 1962, which were won by the L.A. Co. - Zuma team, as follows:

L.A. County Zuma - 1961
T. Landis
R. Snyder
N. Merritt
J. Phillips
K. Aaberg
G. Steiner
D. Rochlen
A. Nordholm
H. Lee
R. Burnside
R. Hughes
T. Davis
K. Borgstrom
R. Claman
J. Hiatt
J. Campbell

L.A. County Zuma - 1962
T. Landis
R. Snyder
J. Sheeley
T. Viren
K. Aaberg
G. Steiner
M. Doyle
D. Rochlen
R. Hughes
R. Claman
J. Hiatt
R. Burnside
H. Lee
J. Campbell
T. Davis
J. Graham


*** Many Thanks to Bob for sharing his remarks with all of us about these earlier years of the Taplin and the rise of Zuma as a Taplin force to be reckoned with.



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