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Greater Toledo Aquatic Club Disability Open

Author: Greater Toledo Aquatic Club

Published: 2010-05-08

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Greater Toledo Aquatic Club Disability Open Coming Next Week.

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Greater Toledo Aquatic Club Disability Open Coming Next Week

The Greater Toledo Aquatic Club (GTAC) Disability Open, one of the largest paralympic swim meets in North America, celebrates its 7th year of mixing Paralympic Gold Medal athletes with swimmers new to the sport.

"The idea was not only to provide a timely paralympic meet for the experienced Paralympians' training calendar, but to create a welcoming, no pressure meet for swimmers of all ages and disabilities to try the sport," remarked GTAC Head Coach and Meet Director Keith Kennedy. "It has benefited everyone involved, and we are delighted that it has helped to grow the sport."

Paralympians such as Erin Popovich (who has earned more Gold Medals than any Paralympian or Olympian, including Michael Phelps), Curtis Lovejoy, Michael DeMarco, Cheryl Angelelli, Philip Scholz and Mallory Weggemann, to name only a few, inspire and mentor newcomer swimmers, some as young as 10 years old, and provide information to their families. The new swimmers, who have a wide range of disabilities, in turn bring inspiration to the senior swimmers. US National Team member Michael DeMarco commented at the National Championships earlier this year that he couldn't wait to get back to the GTAC meet. "It's exciting to see the young swimmers get involved and know that it will change their lives. I look forward to meeting all of them!" For information about the US National Team members, visit usparalympics.org/athletes/tag/2681

As always, the GTAC meet brings in swimmers from Canada, and relies on dedicated volunteer officials from Michigan, Ohio and Ontario to run their meet each year. They join a cadre of volunteers from GTAC, UC and the local Cincinnati swimming community to make this one of the best meets on the paralympic calendar. Dave Thomas, US Paralympic Head Coach, will offer a free information seminar for coaches, families and swimmers after the Saturday morning session, and, as always, there is a complimentary social on Saturday night for all involved, compliments of the Ohio and Michigan Swimming LSC's.

"We like to say that "amazing awaits" you, if you have never been to a paralympic swim meet. These athletes are awesome, and we are proud to provide this meet each year," adds Meet Referee John Loria of Michigan, who has been with the meet since its inception. The meet is open to the public at no charge: 9am start on Saturday and Sunday mornings; 5pm start on Saturday afternoon. Heat sheets and t-shirts will be available for purchase. The Keating Natatorium at the University of Cincinnati is the site for competition.

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