Swim pros to come to aquatic center

Forty-four professional swimmers will share the pool with hundreds of amateurs Dec. 15 through 18 in the 20th annual Chesapeake Elite Pro-Am swim meet being held on the OCCC campus.

The Aquatic Center will host the event in which professionals and amateurs alike compete for money and prizes.

Among the professionals will be British record holder Simon Burnett, Kenyan Olympic finalist Jason Dunford, and Anthony Ervin, the first African American athlete on the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team.

“This is a tournament where people can come and watch a high level of competition they may not find anywhere else,” said Pro Athlete liaison Krista Kezbers.

The tournament will have a full meet schedule in which amateurs from college and high school can compete against practiced professionals with Olympic résumés.

Kezbers said she has been part of this tournament since she was an amateur.

Now that she races on the professional side, she can give good insight into what it is like to race for both.

“The biggest thing for the amateurs is competing against Olympic veterans and getting the experience of a big meet,” Kezbers said.

“For the professionals it is all about showcasing your skills and winning some money while doing it.

“Professionals can win $1200 for winning their event, and up to $2200 if they can break any meet records,” Kezbers said.

Unable to be paid in cash due to their classification as “amateurs,” non-professional swimmers will race for prizes such as swim equipment and other items.

Roxy Butler, OCCC director of Recreation and Fitness, said that the college’s facility suits the competition well.

“The Aquatic Center has been an excellent place to have this tournament over the past 20 years, as it was initially built for Olympic competition,” Butler said.

“The Aquatic Center was actually built for the 1989 Olympic festival.”

Kezbers said she loves competing in the Aquatic Center.

“It’s the nicest swim facility in the state,” she said.

“I can see how much work the school puts in to make this center a clean, nice place to swim every day.”

Admission is free to all who want to watch the Pro-Am and see professionals and amateurs compete first hand.

The meet starts at 6 p.m. on Dec. 15 and ends at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 18.

A full list of professional athletes as well as a list of events and start times can be found on the Chesapeake Swim Club website at www.chesapeakeswimclub.org.

To contact Matt Wisson, email onlineeditor@occc.edu.

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