Sports

Aquatic Center will host NCAA swimming championships

By CASEY OLSON, The Mirror

The 2008 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships are coming to Federal Way next month. The three-day event will feature the leading contenders for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, which will be held in China in August.

“There’s real buzz in the swim community,” says Skip Foster, chair of the NCAA Division I swimming and diving committee. “Outside the Olympics, this is the fastest and most exciting meet in the world.”

The meet, hosted by the Seattle Sports Commission and the University of Washington, will take place at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center from March 27-29. It will mark the third time UW has hosted the event. The Huskies held the championship in 1947 and 1961 at their on-campus pool in Seattle.

“We are thrilled and honored to have an opportunity to host the men’s NCAA Championships, especially during an Olympic year,” said UW head swimming coach Mickey Wender. “It’s been a longtime goal to host this event, not just for the University of Washington, but for the Northwest swimming community as a whole. This is one of the premier swimming regions in the country, and this will be a great showcase of our sport.”

The 2008 men’s championships will also be a precursor to the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials, which will be held in Omaha, Neb., during the summer. At last year’s event, swimmers broke nine previously held NCAA records.

Nearly one-third of the 2,500 seats at the Aquatic Center have been pre-sold. Three-day passes went on sale yesterday and individual tickets will be available at a later date.

The King County Aquatic Center is no stranger to hosting national and international swimming and diving events. The facility was built to accommodate the 1990 Goodwill Games swimming and diving events and can seat up to 2,500 spectators. Over 200 national and world records have been established in the pool.

As in other major meets, the NCAA Championship will have a positive economic impact locally and regionally as competitors and fans converge on Federal Way and the Seattle area.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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