State Swim Meet makes a Big Splash

By: Joseph Dames Email
By: Joseph Dames Email

Two Olympic size pools, hundreds of athletes, family and coaches to cheer them on. Today is the start of one water-soaked event bringing thousands to the Grand Valley.

Nearly 1000 swimmers from across the state ranging from 8 to 17 years old hit the pool today, competing or the long course state championship, an event making a big splash in the valley.

"There is pretty hard competition I think", said 10-year-old Lindsee Newman, who is ready to battle it out in the 100 meter butterfly and although the competition is stiff, she's ready to win state for the first time.

Her mom says it has been something she's been paddling toward for nearly a year.

"She said last summer when she was sitting at the summer event that she really wanted to be there with the kids up there, and she did", said Aimee Morley, swimming mom.

Not only did Lindsee make it to state, she was one of 44 girls in the 10 and younger group to qualify for her event.

Organizers say this is the premier event in the state and getting here isn't easy.

"All the best swimmers come here in the hopes to make it to zones, and potentially to sectionals and nationals, so it is a qualifying meet", said Christina Ulrich, Maverick Aquatics Volunteer.

Among the hundreds of swimmers, two sisters, who say it takes more than just training to get here. You have to believe in yourself and want to win.

"I really wanted to get first place because I was seated first and I just knew that I could do it", said Katie McClelland, swimmer from Monument.

"Just excited to be here and all their hard work paid off, we have two state champions now", said her Kim McClelland, Katie’s mother.

While these swimmers tackle just 50 meters at a time in the pool, it's just a drop in the bucket for how far some had to travel to be here, meaning more heads in hotel beds and lots of meals at local restaurants.

Tourism officials say these swimmers and their supporters are making an economic splash for area businesses.

"It brings about 230 thousand dollars for this swim meet, and that is a pretty big deal for this economy over just a three day period", said Mistalynn Meyeraan of Visitor and Convention Bureau.

The state championship run through the weekend both CMU and at Lincoln park pool. Swimmers will go from this weekend's state meet to zones and then possibly on even further to sectionals and nationals.

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