News

FW hosts Olympic Trials in January

By COLE COSGROVE

Associate editor

The first two U.S. athletes selected for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens will make an early splash at the Weyerhaeuser-King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way this January.

The center was selected to host the 2003 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for synchronized swimming duet.

“The aquatic center is one of the top facilities in North America, and we’re fortunate to have a strong relationship with U.S. Synchronized Swimming,” center manager Mike Dunwiddie said. “We are pleased to be bringing this prestigious and popular event back to the Puget Sound region. Our facility remains the most active in hosting nationally awarded events in the country. We’re very excited to have won this event.”

The aquatic center has hosted more than a dozen national synchronized swimming competitions since the doors opened in 1990, including the 2002 Esynchro Age Group Championships (the world’s largest meet), the 2001 Esynchro Junior World Championships and the 1999 U.S. Synchro Olympic Team Trials, plus the upcoming 2003 United Airlines Open slated for July 13-19, 2003.

It also hosted the U.S. Olympic Diving Team Trials in the summer of 2000.

King County Parks and Recreation manager Bob Burns said a recent economic study conducted for King County measured the impact of aquatic center events in excess of $4 million annually.

“The importance of the operation of the aquatic center extends beyond the facility’s support of Olympic aquatic sports,” said Burns. “The facility is also an economic engine for south King County.”

While the aquatic center is currently closed for maintenance and repairs, it should be open by late October.

The technical duet event kicks off the trials on Jan. 17, followed by the free duet event, local team performances and Olympic duet announcement on Jan. 18. The 2003 World Championship and the Pan American Game Team Trials are Jan. 19-20.

“We are very honored to be returning to our home away from home,” said USSS president Betty Hazle. “Mike Dunwiddie and the King County Parks Department have been very supportive of our organization and development programs in the past, and we look forward to an exciting and successful Olympic Trials there in January.”

Associate editor Cole Cosgrove can be reached at 925-5565 and ccosgrove@fedwaymirror.com

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