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Open Water National Championships Around the Corner -- May 19, 2005

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 19. GROWING in status, open-water swimming will get a boost in early June when the USA Swimming Open Water National Championships Festival is held in Fort Myers Beach, Fla. The competition will run from June 2-5.

This year marks the third edition of the Open Water National Championships and races will be held in three distances – 5K, 10K and 25K. This year is the second in a festival format, as the event will include a concert and non-competitive races in between the championship heats.

Younger swimmers, in an attempt to gain their interest in the sport, will have the chance to take part in a one-mile swim on June 4. A “Dash 4 Cash” will also be held for professional athletes, who will have the chance to win up to $1,000.

“We have made the Open Water National Championships fun and put a nice atmosphere to the whole idea,” said Greg Cross, the event organizer. “We scheduled it (with no races on June 4) so the athletes could sleep in on Saturday morning and race for fun and compete for money that night. It gets people to stick around for all the races if we make it fun and spectator-friendly.”

The event is expected to attract more than 400 athletes for the three championship races. Individuals interested in participating must meet a May 28 entry deadline. More information can be obtained by visiting www.usa-openwaterswim.com.