NEW YORK CITY, New York, December 5. ANTHONY Ervin's visit to New York City is including more than mingling with music stars and acting as DJ. He's appearing at a special one-day age-group swim meet to highlight the need for more diversity in swimming.
The Imagine Invite Swim Meet on Saturday will feature about swimmers in various races at the Flushing Meadows Aquatic Center in Queens. Now in its fourth year, the meet has been a natural showcase for diversity in the sport, as the teams from the New York City area boast a wide range of cultural backgrounds.
"It's just a snapshot of swimming in New York City," said Elliot Ptasnik, director of competitive development at Imagine Swimming. "We don't plan for (a multicultural meet), but that's just always how it turns out."
Ervin was a part of Imagine Swimming when he lived in New York City prior to making his comeback to competition, and continues to conduct diversity clinics in New York City. He also acts as the company's ambassador nearly every time he steps on a pool deck. It's likely you've seen him wearing an "Imagine Swimming" T-shirt on deck at a recent swim meet. In addition to inspiring the young athletes at the meet, Ervin will participate in a special 50 freestyle showdown with NCAA champion and Olympian Brett Fraser and Olympian Doug Lennox.
"You got Tony, as well as an Olympian from the Cayman Island (Fraser) and an Olympian from Puerto Rico (Lennox), so that should be real special," Ptasnik said.
Proceeds from the meet will go to Hurricane Sandy relief through Waves4Water, an organization whose primary goal is to bring clean water to needy communities around the world.
Since its founding in 2002, Imagine Swimming has been the largest learn-to-swim organization in the New York City area. Ptasnik said its USA Swimming team, Manhattan Makos, only features swimmers who began with Imagine Swimming.