Oklahoma City, OK – Four-time 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Amy Van Dyken and 1996 double Gold Medalist Gary Hall, Jr., and 1992 and 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist Jenny Thompson top off a field of over 570 competing December 18-21, 1997, at the 6th Annual Kerr-McGee Corporation Elite Pro-Am swim meet at Oklahoma City Community College. The Kerr-McGee Corporation Elite Pro-Am is the nation’s only professional swim meet. Van Dyken, Thompson, and Hall will be challenged by a field of fellow Olympians, U.S. National Champions, and top college/high school athletes as they compete for over $45,000 in cash and prizes.
Josh Davis, Jon Olsen, Melanie Valerio, John Hargis, and Tripp Schwenk lead the list of fellow 1996 U.S. Olympians.
Two weeks ago in Canada, Jenny Thompson set the world record in the 50-meter Butterfly.
Penny Heyns, who set the world records while winning Gold in the 100 and 200 Breaststroke in Atlanta for the Republic of South Africa, and Gustavo Borges, Brazil’s Bronze medalist in the 100 freestyle in Atlanta, will challenge the American’s for honors.
A new feature of the meet this year will be the Jackie Cooper 50 Yard Freestyle Shootout, with $15,000 on the line Saturday night, December 20th.
The Jackie Cooper Shoot Out will be a tournament bracket-style event. Following the morning preliminary swims, the top eight women and men will faceoff in a series of head-to-head races during the evening Championship races. The single elimination races will culminate with the championship shoot out — one race, two people, head-to-head for $6,000. The $15,000 prize purse will be divided equally among the men’s and women’s events, with the winner in each division taking home $6,000. Second place finishers will receive $1,500, with third place worth $500.00
Jackie Cooper, an Oklahoma City-based group of automotive companies which includes new vehicle dealerships and tire/electronic stores, is sponsoring this first-ever event in Oklahoma City.
In addition to the $15,000 for the Jackie Cooper Shoot Out, an additional $31,000 in cash and prizes will be on the line throughout the meet. Kerr-McGee Swim Club (KMSC), the host of the Kerr-McGee Corporation Elite Pro-Am, has been breaking new ground in swimming in the United States since the inception of the meet six years ago. “The tradition continues with the addition of the Jackie Cooper Shoot Out, ” said Jim Sullins, Meet Director. “KMSC developed the Pro-Am swim meet in the United States, and this year’s Jackie Cooper Shoot Out is the first time in the history of swimming in this country that an event like this has been incorporated into a normal meet format where every athlete in the meet has a chance to qualify for the Shoot Out.”
The Kerr-McGee Corporation Elite Pro-Am and the Jackie Cooper Shoot Out will be the final tune-up for many of these athletes as the finish preparations for the World Championships to be held in mid-January in Perth, Australia. World Team Members from the U.S. competing in the meet besides Van Dyken, Thompson, Valerio, Davis, Hall, Hargis, and Olsen, are Barbara Bedford, Chad Carvin, Ron Karnaugh, and Bill Pilczuk.