The International Committee of Sports for the Deaf awarded San Antonio, Texas the 2015 World Deaf Swimming Championships slated for August 17-22, 2015 at the Northside Independent School District’s Northside Swim Center.
“We thank the ICSD for approving San Antonio, but also thank Texas Governor Rick Perry, former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro, San Antonio Sports, the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, NISD and its Swim Center, South Texas Region USA Swimming, and particularly the USA Deaf Swimming Delegation for their hard work,” says USADS bid lead Ben Hobbins.
Worlds at Northside Swim Center will feature an outdoor 50m Olympic competition pool, interactive sound and video scoreboard systems, high-tech timing and state-of-the-art start systems for deaf swimmers, officials and coaches command centers, drug testing rooms, lighting, shaded seating for 2,400 spectators and locker room facilities accommodating up to 1,200 athletes.
“USA Deaf Swimming is thrilled San Antonio was approved,” says Dana Elam. “WDSC 2015 will be attended by deaf swimmers representing the world.” The event is considered the key venue for American and International deaf swimmers competing to attend the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and the other array of ICSD sanctioned competitions around the world.
2015 will be a banner swimming year for San Antonio and the NISD Swim Center. First, US Masters Swimming will hold its spring National Championships April 23-26. Then, USAS Phillips 66 National Championships is slated July 28-Aug 3, featuring the nation’s top swimmers and Olympic medalists. Next, Speedo Junior National Championships are Aug 6-10, featuring the nation’s elite up-and-coming swimmers ages 14 through 18. Then lastly, it’s the World Deaf Swimming Championships Aug 17-22.
“We look forward to having Team USA athletes compete at both USAS and USADS competitions next summer,” says USADS Head Coach Hobbins. “I expect great things again from our swimmers, including Marcus Titus and Matt Klotz.” USADS swimmers have been placing consistently in finals A, B and C in Arena Grand Prix meets this year. Titus placed 4th & 8th at the Phillips 66 Nationals in Irvine, CA in 50 & 100 Breast, just missing a spot on the Pan Pacific Team USA, but readying for the US Olympic Trials.
Special Swimming Events planned for San Antonio Worlds
USA Deaf Swimming and the USA Swimming Foundation are planning a series of unique Make-A-Splash events with Team USA Ambassadors teaching pool safety and swimming leading up to and during the Worlds. These events will embrace both the public and substantial deaf communities at large in the San Antonio and adjacent areas. San Antonio’s very own Abby McAlpin is a USA Deaf Swimming Ambassador. All Team USA swimmers are part of the USADS Ambassadors Program.
USA Deaf Swimming – USA Swimming Partnership
On August 8, a landmark USADS-USAS Partner Coalition agreement was announced by USAS bringing the organizations together for the first time. “We have important initiatives to develop with so much goodwill present in both organizations,” states Foundation Director Ben Hobbins. In fall 2013 USADS Ambassador Deuce Hobbins reached out to USAS, commenced planning and successfully organized USADS’ first MAS event at the International Championships in Rochester, NY held in January. A first, Team USA Ambassadors and a Team Great Britain swimmer taught 800 youth and adults about pool safety and swimming. In May, USADS was part of the Phillips 66 Make-A-Splash Tour at the Belmont Olympic Training Center in Long Beach with a booth, USADS staff and Ambassador Deuce Hobbins with US Olympians Rowdy Gaines, Jessica Hardy, Anthony Erwin, Janet Evans, Chloe Sutton, Rada Owens and Jason Lesak. In August, USADS Ambassador Deuce Hobbins and USADS Foundation Director Hobbins were special guests/participants at AT&T Sigma Gamma Rho Clinic with Olympian Maritza Correia during the Phillips 66 Nationals in Irvine, CA.
“In Water, We are ALL Deaf.”
“The deaf swimming community aims to increasingly identify and guide deaf youth to suitable club swim programs,” states Hobbins. “We are looking at development of joint efforts that embrace the deaf community early in the K12 school environment, focus on initiatives related to developing athletes, programs, outreach, club development, meets, relevant education modules pertaining to the deaf for coaches, parents, officials and volunteers.” Rowdy and Judy Gaines have been early supporters for USADS efforts, actively expressing support. “Izzy Gaines has been learning American Sign Language!” states Ambassador Deuce.
“We feel USAS as an organization will be committed to our objectives” states USADS’s Doug Matchett. “We have much work to accomplish but we are all in this for the right reasons.”
About San Antonio, NISD Northside Swim Center, USA Deaf Swimming
Greater San Antonio is home to the historic Alamo, Sea World, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, 2014 NBA Champions Spurs. The metro area has a population of over 2.23 million, the 25th-largest metropolitan area in the United States and third-largest in the state of Texas.
NISD’s Northside Swim Center was completed July 2013 with two Olympic 50-meter pools –one indoor and one outdoor. It has two warm-up and warm-down pools, a 25-meter pool and a 10m competition diving platform/diving as well. NISD has a substantial deaf and hard-of-hearing student community among its student population as do other districts in San Antonio. Northside remains one of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, opening three new schools for the 2013-2014 school year.
USA Deaf Swimming represents American deaf swimmers under authority of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf. USADS develops programs and outreach for the deaf community including an Ambassadors Program and Network also identifying, assembling, and organizing American deaf swimmers for national and international competition.