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Economic impact of U.S. Olympic diving trials, King County Aquatic Center

Federal Way hosted the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials — Diving from June 17-24 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center. - Mirror file photo
Federal Way hosted the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials — Diving from June 17-24 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.
— image credit: Mirror file photo

Mirror staff reports:

Federal Way hosted the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials — Diving from June 17-24 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center.

What was the event's economic impact on the region?

According to statistics provided by King County, the trials attracted nearly 4,000 non-local visitors who spent a total of $2,285,621. The county provided the following breakdown of that spending total:

• $973,000 on lodging

• $687,204 on car rentals

• $435,000 on food and beverages

• $106,000 on tickets

• $36,269 on parking

• $45,336 on fuel and auto repair

• $36,000 on entertainment

• $40,037 on concessions

• $4,205 on merchandise

• $36,269 on retail/shopping

The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center houses more than just a world-class swimming pool. It acts as an economic engine and tourism magnet for the region.

The 2,500-seat facility on SW Campus Drive opened in 1990 to host the Seattle Goodwill Games. In the past 20-plus years, the aquatic center has attracted more than 10.3 million visitors, according to King County. In that time, the aquatic center has hosted 1,383 events and has taught more than 671,490 swimming lessons. The county reports the facility has an estimated annual financial impact of more than $7.5 million.

On Aug. 1 at the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer paid tribute to those who helped make the aquatic center a reality.

Von Reichbauer thanked the Weyerhaeuser Corporation and George Weyerhaeuser for donating the land for the aquatic center, and recognized David Sabey, who was the project's developer.

“If it weren’t for George and David’s vision and their dedication to seeing this building constructed on budget and ahead of schedule, we would not have a thriving aquatic center right here in Federal Way,” von Reichbauer said.

The councilman noted that the facility has made an impact on thousands of local swimmers as a source for training. Along with businesses such as Wild Waves Theme Park and Emerald Downs, he said, the aquatic center is a cornerstone of South King County's economy.

The aquatic center has served as a training facility for U.S. Olympic synchronized swim teams, along with national swimming and diving teams from Australia, Japan and Great Britain. Other major events hosted by the Federal Way facility:

• NCAA swimming and diving championships

• WIAA state high school swimming and diving championships

• Speedo Champions Series

• Special Olympics regional swimming championships

• YMCA state swimming championships

• Washington state high school girls water polo championships

• Husky, Pacific Coast and West Coast swimming invitationals

• Washington Water Polo Open

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