Freedom Center Hosts National Swim Competition

Posted: April 1, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Patty Snellings

The USA Swimming Eastern Zone Championships get under way today at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center at the Prince William Campus. The Freedom Center was selected as a host site for this prestigious event based on a proposal submitted to the national organization by a local affiliate. The Eastern Zone serves swimmers from Virginia to Maine who aspire to be future world champions or Olympians.

Many of the finest swimmers on the East Coast will be competing at this meet to qualify for national events, says Ronald Carmichael, Freedom Center general manager. “We saw one age group national record fall during a qualifying meet held here recently, and we are anticipating fantastic competition over the next few days.”

The competition continues through Saturday, April 3, and will attract more than 1,000 swimmers, along with approximately 500 parents, 330 coaches, and 125 officials. Two meets run simultaneously each day, from 7 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., for participants in the 10-and-under age group and for those over 11 years old.

The event also adds to the business coffers of the Prince William region. According to statistics provided by USA Swimming, an event of this magnitude generates nearly $1 million in lodging, food, transportation, and related expenditures within the locale.

“Many participants and other attendees will be exposed to the vast tourism opportunities available in this area for the first time,” Carmichael says, “which may lead to additional visits in the future.”

The Freedom Center is home to several youth and high school swim teams. Renting pool space to these teams promotes efficient use of the center’s facilities, offers an activity for youth fitness, and provides an additional revenue source to support center programs and activities.

“We are both privileged and proud to have been selected as the venue for this meet,” says Carmichael. “Our arena is home to some of the best swimming talent America has to offer, and it’s only fitting that these athletes have an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities right here in their own backyard.”

USA Swimming comprises 59 local swimming committees around the country that oversee 2,800 swim clubs, providing competition for the 280,000 members who are dedicated to the sport of swimming.

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