NEW YORK, March 15. ON Saturday, April 27, 2013, New York City not-for-profit Asphalt Green will hold its 18th Annual Big Swim Meet and Benefit honoring 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and Asphalt Green swimmer Lia Neal, and Anthony Ervin, a two-time Olympian who earned a gold and silver medal in 2000. Hosted by Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines, this day-long free swim meet is open to swimmers ages 6-12 years old.
The Big Swim Benefit raises funds for Asphalt Green's nationally-recognized Waterproofing program. Since 1993, Waterproofing has taught more than 30,000 New York City children how to swim and be safe in the water for free.
An anticipated 1,000 children will participate in this year's Big Swim Meet and will experience an authentic race: starting blocks, officials, a timed finish, and a medal for everyone. The Big Swim also features an exhibition featuring elite divers Kassidy Cook, Bradley Christensen, and Bryce Klein, and the Canisius College Synchronized Swim Team.
This year, The Big Swim honors Olympians Lia Neal and Anthony Ervin. Lia, a 17-year-old member of the Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics swim team and Swim for the Future Scholarship recipient, earned a bronze medal in the 400m Freestyle Relay at the London Olympics. She is the second African-American woman to make the US Olympic swim team. “Lia is an excellent role model for New York City,” said Asphalt Green Executive Director Carol Tweedy. “We are so proud to have her represent Asphalt Green. With opportunity, hard work, and dedication, Lia shows us that New York City deserves to be on the Olympic podium.”
Anthony Ervin is a two-time Olympian who became the fastest man in the world when he won a gold medal in the 50m Freestyle at the Sydney Olympics. After retiring in 2003, Anthony began teaching children to swim. Educating kids reinvigorated his passion for racing before returning to the Olympics in London. “Learning to swim is one of the most fundamental sources of child confidence. The importance of bringing this knowledge to the next generation is boundless,” says Ervin.
“The disproportionate rates of drowning among minorities are deeply troubling. African-American children are three times more likely to drown than white children. This problem is aggravated in New York City by the limited number of swimming facilities,” noted Carol Tweedy. “Our Waterproofing program gives these children access to a pool and teaches them how to swim — which is not only an important life skill but also a healthy athletic activity that they can participate in for years to come.”
As part of The Big Swim, Asphalt Green will host a family-friendly benefit luncheon to raise funds for the Waterproofing program. Guests will enjoy an exclusive opportunity to take pictures with and get autographs from the Olympians. They will also have VIP seating for the special exhibition.
To register your child to participate in The Big Swim, call 888-9SWIMNY or visit asphaltgreen.org/BigSwim. The site also has volunteer information. Deadline for volunteer applications is April 25, 2013. To buy tickets to The Big Swim? Benefit, call 646-981-2232 or visit asphaltgreen.org/BigSwim
THE BIG SWIM MEET & BENEFIT
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Asphalt Green AquaCenter, 1750 York Avenue (at 91st Street)