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8th Annual National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet Returns To the Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary

Published:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 25, 2010

8th Annual National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet returns to Triangle Aquatic Center in Cary

World Record Holder and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones Joins 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist Maritza Correia At The 8th Annual National Black Heritage Meet At The TAC In Cary

CARY, N.C. – (May 25, 2010) – World Record Holder and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones will join 2004 Olympian Maritza Correia at the 8th Annual National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet hosted by the North Carolina Aquablazers Swim Team, the Triangle Aquatic Center and the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau. More than 730 swimmers from across the country are expected to attend, creating an estimated economic impact of $500,000 in direct visitor spending for the area.

The swim meet will be held at the Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC), on Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday May 29th – Sunday, May 30th, 2010, with over 40 teams and more than 730 participants. Jones will be signing autographs on Sunday and swimming two 50-Free Exhibition Swims with 14 meet participants whose names will be placed in a lottery by their coaches and selected at the coaches meeting on the Friday night before the meet. 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist Maritza Correia will be signing autographs and hosting 3 mini-swim clinics for meet participants on Saturday afternoon at the end of the Second Session.

Maritza will also serve as the keynote speaker at the Second Annual Community Breakfast Honoring Minority Swimming Pioneers on Friday, May 28, 2010, from 9-11 am. The breakfast is open to the general public and sponsorship and ticket information can be found on the Meet Information page of the meet website at http://blackheritageswimming.org. Maritza will also host a Swim Clinic at TAC on Friday evening, May 28, 2010, from 7:30-8:30 pm and sign autographs from 8:30-9 pm. Registration forms for the Friday night Swim Clinic with Maritza Correia are available on the swim meet Registration page on the meet website.

The National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet is one of the stops on the Cullen Jones National Diversity Tour. The Cullen Jones Diversity Tour was established in 2008 out of a need for the larger swim community to have a vehicle to support a diverse population of young kids. The Cullen Jones Diversity Tour hopes to better serve participants on issues such as learning to swim, drowning prevention, swim team access, swimming as an alternate choice for athletic activities and excellence, health benefits of swimming, social environments that will foster friendships for a lifetime in swimming, increase self esteem and many other topics that are of the utmost importance to the Tour's founder, Cullen Jones.

The National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet is one of the premier minority swim meets in the United States. It’s not your typical North Carolina swim meet since most of the teams will be traveling from 12 states and Washington, DC, mostly from the eastern U.S. and some from as far away California. It’s more of a family reunion, than just a swim meet, where mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, and other relatives attend with their 900 swimmers and coaches.

This marks the second year that the meet is being held at the Triangle Aquatics Center. It complements TAC’s partnership with USA Swimming’s “Make a Splash Program” and their efforts to improve minority swim statistics and reducing drowning deaths nationwide. The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB), which coordinated the local bid effort that secured the meet, will serve as a host partner. In that capacity, GRCVB will work closely with both the Aquablazers and TAC while focusing on visitor services, hospitality, accommodations and marketing.

The Black Heritage Meet will provide a boost to the local economy on Memorial Day Weekend, a time when most Triangle Area residents head to the beach. It’s a weekend filled with fast swimming, great food and fun for all. This meet is a marquee event on the area’s sports calendar. The economic impact is estimated at $500,000 in direct visitor spending.

The Black Heritage Meet also serves a purpose. Minorities are nearly three times as likely to drown as their Caucasian counterparts. TAC is working to combat this sad statistic and has partnered with USA Swimming’s “Make A Splash” learn to swim initiative. Through “Make A Splash”, TAC is able to offer free or reduced swim lessons to many eligible children in our community. Thanks in part to a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield and the Cary Community Foundation, classes have been formed and TAC is accepting registrations for group learn to swim classes for minority school-aged children, ages 5-18. Doracy Harrison, TAC Program Manager, will be working with area schools, churches, youth groups and the North Carolina Aquablazers Swim Team to register eligible children and ensure that these children are given every opportunity to learn to be safe in, on and around the water. By participating in the National Black Heritage Championship Swim Meet, these new swimmers will also get the opportunity to experience the competitive side of swimming as well.

The Triangle Aquatic Center (TAC) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to build and operate public aquatic facilities throughout the Triangle. TAC’s first aquatic facility, at 275 Convention Drive, includes a 50 meter competition pool, a 25-yd training pool and a warm water instructional pool. The TAC facility is 72,000 sq. feet and has comfortable spectator seating capacity for 1000 people. The TAC facility has a full-service café and an All-American Swim Shop on site. The TAC facility is conveniently located off Interstate 40 at Exit 291 and is adjacent to Cary’s largest shopping mall, Cary Towne Center.

The North Carolina Aquablazers Swim Team, is a small group of diverse swimmers from North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, California, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, who, along with their parents, want to inspire more minorities to learn to swim and join the competitive swimming ranks. They formed the National Black Heritage Swimming Foundation in December 2009 to further their goals. One of their initial efforts has been to support the Garner Road YMCA and Brittany Copeland’s Jump In® program to provide free swim lessons to minority children during the winter of 2010.

For more details contact the Meet Director, Kathy Cooper at (919) 522-9275 or kcfromnc@mindspring.com, and visit all of our websites – http://blackheritageswimming.org, www.triangleaquatics.org and www.visitraleigh.com.


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