Swim event likely to make a big splash

Phil Castle, The Business Times

More than 900 swimmers are expected to compete in a statewide meet in Grand Junction, making in the process what likely will be a big economic splash.

The Colorado Long Course State Championships scheduled for July 26 to 28 could generate an estimated $230,000 in direct spending on hotel rooms, restaurant meals and other purchases, said Mistalynn Meyeraan, manager of marketing and public relations for the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau.

“It will bring a lot of money into this community,” Meyeraan said.

Maverick Aquatics in Grand Junction, the biggest swim team in Western Colorado, will host the championships at the El Pomar Natatorium at Colorado Mesa University and Moyer Pool at Lincoln Park.

The event will follow the Western Slope Championships conducted the week before.

A total of about 900 swimmers from 50 teams are expected to compete in the long course state championships, said Christina Ulrich, a self-described “swim mom” who handles publicity for Maverick Aquatics.

The event will feature more than a dozen events ranging in length from 50 to 1,500 meters in each of four age categories. Preliminary heats are scheduled for the mornings, following by final heats in the afternoons, Ulrich said.

Grand Junction has an advantage in hosting large swimming events, Ulrich said, because its one of the few cities in Colorado to offer two, 50-meter swimming pools in such close proximity — within walking distance, in fact.

Moreover, the El Pomar Natatorium offers a state-of-the art facility designed for competitive swimming, Ulrich said. “It’s a very fast pool.”

Meyeraan said such events as Country Jam and the Colorado Mountain Winefest might be better known for bringing large crowds to the Grand Valley. But such athletic events as swimming, soccer and cycling competitions also make significant contributions to the hospitality sector over the course of the year.