SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -Sarasota County has been selected to be one of the hosts of the U.S. Open Swimming Championships next month.
The event will take place at the Selby Aquatic Center, which is operated by The Sarasota Sharks, November 12th-14th.
“From a USA Swimming standpoint this is probably the biggest event that Sarasota County has hosted. And man what a great opportunity it is,” said Brent Arckey, who is the Head Coach and CEO of The Sarasota Sharks.
The event is one of the bigger competitions for athletes across the country before the Olympic trials in June. Because of the pandemic, USA swimming has decided to make this year’s competition different. Instead of holding the event at one location, it will be split up at nine separate locations throughout the country. Sarasota county will have anywhere from 150 to 200 swimmers compete over the three day period.
“The intention of the split of these nine events was to try to keep it as local, so people could drive instead of flying all over the place. I think we’ll have a few that will come from other places but generally speaking Southeast and Florida,” Arckey said.
Safety precautions including face masks requirements and social distancing will also be put in place.
“It will be everything from heavily reducing the number of spectators that are allowed at the facility at any one time. There will be very designated entrance and exit points and directional signage,” said Visit Sarasota County’s Sports DIrector, Shelby Connett.
Connett hopes the event will put Sarasota County on the map for future events.
“It will be a great opportunity for Sarasota County and Selby Aquatics Center to showcase our destination to USA Swimming and the sport of swimming in general. And to potentially set us up to host future high caliber meets,” Connett said.
She goes on to say sporting events like this one will help start the county’s economic recovery from the pandemic, with many athletes traveling from out of town.