EDUCATION NEWS FOR AN EDUCATED PUBLIC
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On Saturday, April 24th, 1999, nearly 1,000 youngsters ages 6 to 16, regardless of competitive swimming experience, will compete in a free day of swim races at Asphalt Green. Now in it's fourth year, The Big Swim is a unique swim meet stages in New York City's only 50-meter Olympic standard pool. The young swimmers will hear the starting gun, dive off a block, race to the finish and be congratulated by Olympic swimmers. Every child leaves The Big Swim a winner, taking home a t-shirt, swim cap, photo with the Olympians and a finisher's medal to commemorate their participation.
The Big Swim was started in 1996 to give kids who might not otherwise have the chance an opportunity to compete in an organized swimming even. The event is open solely to children who are not already a part of an organized United States Swimming Association swim team. In addition to competing in the races, the kids get a chance to meet and talk with Olympic swimmers.
"Asphalt Green is committed to giving all children the opportunity to make sports and fitness a lifelong habit," says Carol Tweedy, Executive Director of the innovative sports and fitness center on Manhattan's Upper East Side. "It's so important to encourage our children to be healthy and active. From a very young age, children who are active show higher self-esteem and socialization skills, and they carry those habits with them through their lives. Unfortunately, those children who most need the direction and discipline which sports offer are often the same children who don't have access to expensive training programs or quality facilities. Asphalt Green is dedicated to closing the gap."
Community service is at the core of Asphalt Green's programming. One of many community-base programs at The Green is the Waterproofing program, a partnership with the New York City public schools which teaches children how to swim and be safe in the water. Through a series of ten visits to The Green's pool, students in the third or fourth grades learn proper swimming techniques and safety skills. Over 1,700 kids participate in the Waterproofing program this year alone. The Big Swim expands the reach of the program by giving "waterproofers" and other children the chance to compete in a fun, friendly, competitive swimming event.
In order to raise funds to support The Big Swim and the Waterproofing program, Asphalt Green will hold a benefit dinner dance and performance in conjunction with The Big Swim on the following Monday, April 26th. The evening's performance will be a choreographed AquaShow Featuring aquatic Olympians. The AquaShow and dinner dance are both open to the public for a donation.
To learn more about participating or volunteering The Big Swim, call 1-800-NYCSWIM. Children ages 6 to 16 who are not members of United States Swimming can participate. Entrants are accepted on a first come-first serve basis and the registration deadline for the swim meet, so make sure to sign up early. Asphalt Green is located between 90th and 92nd Streets at York Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
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