Sports

Synchronized swimming nationals set for July

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

The top synchronized swimmers in the world are coming to Federal Way.

The U.S. National Team and the U.S. Junior National Team will compete in the 2003 United Airlines Open Synchronized Swimming Championships to be held July 15-19 at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatics Center.

This elite-caliber competition will attract more than 350 of the nation’s top synchronized swimmers as well as top international contenders. Each will vie for titles in solo, duet, trio and team events in the 14- to 15-year-old division, the 16- to 18-year-old division and the open division.

Also, new to the sport last year, was the addition of the fan-favorite combination routine, which incorporates five different routines into one seven-minute program.

“We are looking forward to having the combo routine competition,” said Nancy Campi, local co-meet manager. “This will be the first viewing of this competition in this area.”

The event lasts five days and carries with it an estimated economic impact of more than $750,000, according to organizers. The event is hosted by the Pacific Northwest Association with Campi and Peggy McKasy serving as co-meet managers. Past event hosts include Detriot last year, Hilo, Hawaii in 2001 and New Haven, Conn. in 2000.

“Federal Way and the Pacific Northwest have a strong tradition in synchronized swimming,” Campi said. “Having hosted national events in the past, we have a great group of volunteers who have knowledge of running events and will put forth great efforts to make this event run smoothly. We are excited to be hosting an event that will bring with it some of the top athletes in the nation.”

The Seattle area is a synchronized swimming stronghold, having hosted the 1999 United States Olympic Team Trials and the 2001 Esynchro Junior World Championships. The Pacific Northwest Association alone has hosted many national events including the 1996 and 2002 age group championships. The Seattle area is also home to synchro’s first two Olympians — Tracie Ruiz-Conforto and Candy Costie — who won Olympic gold in 1984.

Competition begins at 8 a.m. most days.

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