The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently announced that the Men’s Division I Swimming and Diving Championships will come to Seattle in the Olympic year of 2008.

The University of Washington (UW) will be the host institution, participating as a close partner with the event providing extensive experience with hosting NCAA events. This will be the third time UW has hosted the championship event as the Huskies also hosted in 1961 and 1947.

“We are thrilled and honored to have an opportunity to host the Men’s NCAA Championships, especially during an Olympic year,” UW swimming head coach Mickey Wender said. “It’s been a longtime goal to host this event, not just for the University of Washington, but for the Northwest swimming community as a whole. This is one of the premier swimming regions in the country and this will be a great showcase of our sport.”

The Seattle Sports Commission (SSC), a subsidiary of Seattle’s Convention & Visitors Bureau, will serve as the host agency for the event, assuming financial risk for the championship. Members of Pacific Northwest Swimming and the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way will provide a strong background in meet management.

“The Greater Seattle area is an ideal location for hosting swimming championship events,” Ralph Morton, executive director for the Seattle Sports Commission said, “with the facilities, accommodations, attractions and support necessary to host this level of competition.”

“King County is honored and very excited to have been chosen as the site of the 2008 Men's NCAA Championships,” King County Executive Ron Sims said. “It is considered the premier men's event each year and we will be seeing the country's top swimmers as they prepare for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games.”

“From the committee’s standpoint, we are excited about going to Seattle,” John Lyons, chairman of the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Division I Swimming Committee said. “The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center is first rate and world class, and we were unanimous about our decision. It has been a long time since we have been to the West Coast.”

The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center is a facility with the amenities to provide a high quality experience for athletes, coaches and spectators. Since the 1990 Goodwill Games, the venue has been the site of many of the country’s top aquatic events. King County has maintained the complex in top form including state of the art competition equipment, expanded parking, the addition of a conference center, the opening of a Subway restaurant in the lobby and other features to meet the needs of athletes and 2,500 fans.

In addition, this facility has spawned a swimming community in the region that now accounts for thousands of participants and enthusiasts of all ages.

“Hosting NCAA Championship events has been a major priority for the Seattle Sports Commission,” Morton said. “This will be an exciting event and we are enthusiastic about the impact it will have on the Federal Way community and the rest of the Puget Sound.”

"If you look at the history of hosting an NCAA Championship in a pre-Olympic year, the meets have been phenomenal,” Lyons said. “The city of Seattle and the region will see a tremendous competition.”

“Many of the athletes participating in this event will compete in the spotlight of the Olympics,” Morton added. “This will be a showcase event for Seattle and Federal Way, which we believe will put this region in position to host more events of this stature.”

For more information about this event contact the Seattle Sports Commission at 206-461-5819 or visit www.seattlesports.org.

For more information about the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center please contact Mike Dunwiddie at 206-296-4547.

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