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New Jersey September 11 Open Water Event Accepted on FINA World Cup Circuit -- September 1, 2004

By M. Duncan Scott

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ, September 1. THE third annual “10K for the USA” International Swimming Marathon will be held on September 11, 2004 for two important purposes.

Most importantly, of course, it will be a remembrance of the perseverance of the American spirit. The 3:00 p.m. start will follow a brief ceremony to acknowledge all those who lost their lives on that infamous date three years earlier. Beyond this, however, it is also part of an effort to promote marathon swimming as an Olympic event.

Information on the event came to SwimInfo last month from the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, which is assisting USA Swimming, FINA(the world's governing body for aquatic sports) and “10k for the USA” Marathon Swim in putting on the event. It has been sanctioned as the twelfth race of thirteen stops on the 2004 World Cup of Marathon Swims.

The 10,000-meter distance, approximately 6.2-miles, has been endorsed by FINA as the proposed Olympic swim marathon distance because it allows elite swimmers to finish the race in approximately two hours, similar to the Olympic Marathon Run and the Olympic Triathlon. USA Swimming and FINA are currently lobbying the International Olympic Committee to add the 10K race as the open water-swimming event for future Olympics. The 2004 10K for the USA International Swimming Marathon will be held twenty-two days after the closing ceremonies of the Athens Olympic Games.

There is a new twist the swim this year. The 10,000-meter race will begin in Margate and proceed along the Intracoastal Waterway (IW) through Ventnor and finish in Atlantic City.

Chris Thompson, Sydney Olympic 1500 meter bronze medalist for the USA, will make his international open water swimming debut following an outstanding pool swimming career that includes nine national titles and three American records. Chris made a courageous recovery from breaking both his arms in early summer to qualify for the 1500 final at the Olympic Trials but simply didn’t have enough time to fully heal soon enough to have a fair chance to repeat as an Olympian. Enough more time has passed now, however, that he should be a formidable competitor along the IW course.

Most of the world’s elite distance swimmers will attend, including the reigning FINA World Cup Champions Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria and Britta Kamrau of Germany. Stoychev will return to the event after competing in the Athens Olympic Games in the 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyle events. To date, more than thirty elite athletes from fifteen different nations are scheduled to compete.

Entries closed on August 23 for the World Cup division, but the 10K race will also feature an amateur division open to any registered USMS swimmer willing to take on the 6-mile course, with registration closing on September 10, 2004.

Race Director Sid Cassidy notes that the change of venue will add to the excitement of the competition. “By starting this year’s race on an incoming tide in Margate, we expect that the professionals could set a world’s best 10K record time. We will also be able to accommodate many more amateur swimmers. Fans along the back bays can cheer for world-class athletes and local endurance swimmers of every ability level.”

Cassidy said that through great support from local merchants and the city of Margate, the race will start at the newly dedicated Margate City Park located on the bay at Washington and Amherst Avenues. 2001. Finishers are expected to arrive at the ACHS Crew House near the Albany Bridge in Atlantic City between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Race organizers plan to provide $15,000 in prize money including a $4,000 first-place award to both the top male and top female in the FINA World Cup race. Sponsors are being sought to help absorb this expense. Preparations will continue through the month and the entire community is invited to participate. Potential sponsors, host families and people offering water craft support of any kind are invited to participate.

Please contact Race Director Sid Cassidy at sacassidy@comcast.net or phone 609-653-0939 for more information.