U.S. Masters Swimming, the national governing body for adult fitness, wellness and competition through aquatics, is pleased to announce it has selected Sarasota, Fla., in which to establish its national headquarters. After an extensive search process that included the review of numerous proposals from various cities across the country, the U.S. Masters Swimming Board of Directors approved the selection of Sarasota.
U.S. Masters Swimming hosted its first adult competitive swimming event in 1970. In the 39 years since its first event, a passionate and committed base of volunteers has built and operated the membership organization with the support of two full-time employees and a couple of independent contractors. Today, U.S. Masters Swimming provides participant insurance coverage to nearly 50,000-adult swimmers that comprise the membership, sanctions and promotes two nationally recognized pool national championships, six open water national championships and a series of fitness challenges. In addition, it sanctions more than 500 local adult swimming competitions, tracks individual results, including adult age-group American records, promotes coaches education, distributes a bimonthly member magazine and monthly member e-newsletters, and has 21 national corporate sponsors. The organization partners with 52 Local Masters Swimming Committees that in turn deliver regional and local support to more than 1,000 adult swimming programs that serve the members.
"This is a significant milestone in the history of U.S. Masters Swimming," commented Rob Copeland, U.S. Masters Swimming president. "For nearly 40 years, we have existed as a virtual, volunteer-run organization. Our membership has continued and is continuing to grow. We are now at nearly 50,000 members, and with the hiring of an executive director and additional staff, establishing a national headquarters is a natural evolution."
"Sarasota, through the entire process, exhibited a tremendous volunteer spirit that marries well with our culture," continued Copeland. "They are committed to health and fitness, and aquatics are an important part of their community, as evidenced by the nationally recognized Sarasota Sharks age-group and Masters swimming programs. They also are a community steeped in giving, with numerous foundations, which also fits well with our own foundation program. The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County developed a diverse committee that included local Masters swimmers, the Sarasota YMCA, Ringling College, University of South Florida Sarasota -Manatee, the city, the county and private business leaders, all coming together to make us feel very welcome. We see important short-term and long-term opportunities in Sarasota that we believe can best serve our initiatives. We in turn look forward to being a terrific and valued partner to Sarasota."
In addition to becoming the national headquarters, Sarasota will also be recognized with a U.S. Masters Swimming Community Partner designation. The Community Partner designation is awarded to localities that commit to increasing public awareness of U.S. Masters Swimming and supporting U.S. Masters Swimming's mission of promoting health and fitness in adults through Masters swimming. Community Partners promote Masters swimming locally by collaborating with U.S. Masters Swimming to increase programming, awareness, events and membership.
U.S. Masters Swimming and Sarasota have established a transition team. The transition team will assist in the site selection of the office space and relocation of employees to Sarasota. The transition is expected to take place throughout the spring and summer of 2009.
STATEMENTS ON U.S. MASTERS SWIMMING'S MOVE TO SARASOTA
"The Economic Development Corporation is pleased U.S. Masters Swimming chose Sarasota County for its headquarters. It is a fantastic organization that embodies the type of active lifestyle and lifelong fitness philosophy shared by so many people in our area. We enjoyed working with the organization as they made their relocation decision and will continue to provide assistance as they transition to Sarasota County. The organization's planned relocation to Sarasota County is a testament to the role of community collaboration in strengthening the local economy. We led a committee of diverse community stakeholders that made it clear to U.S. Masters Swimming that their organization was welcome in Sarasota County and by doing so, our community gained a new business." Joan McGill, VP of Business Development, Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County
"We are thrilled U.S. Masters Swimming is coming to Sarasota. Our outstanding climate, aquatic facilities and history of producing championship swimmers make Sarasota a perfect fit for their headquarters. I am certain USMS will add to our area's quality of life and help promote the active lifestyle so many of us enjoy." City of Sarasota Mayor Lou Ann Palmer
"On behalf of the tourism industry, the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau welcomes U.S. Masters Swimming to Sarasota. With the many things our community has to offer, we feel they have found a swimmer's paradise. We look forward to our future partnership and ensuring a first-class experience for all visiting their new headquarters in sunny Sarasota." Virginia J. Haley, President, Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau
"The Sarasota Family YMCA is very pleased to learn U.S. Masters Swimming will establish their headquarters here in our community. Our YMCA has been committed to aquatics at all levels, including competitive aquatics for all ages, for a half century. We are all looking forward to a strong and lasting relationship that will add even more to our beautiful community." Ira Klein, Head Coach, Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swim Team
"Sarasota Masters swimmers are proud to be welcoming the sport we love to the community we love. We believe Sarasota, with her beaches and her passionate swimming community, will prove to be a great match and a very comfortable home base for USMS operations. USMS is a nonprofit organization that will bring great aquatics services and yet another layer of social capital to this vibrant community. The Southwest Florida community embraces its nonprofits with generous philanthropy and enthusiastic volunteerism every day. As a member of that nonprofit community, and a Masters swimmer, I'm particularly happy to be welcoming USMS to town." Jay Lockaby, President, The Wellness Community, Executive Director & President, Sharks Masters
"The decision by the U.S. Master's Swimming organization to select Sarasota as their new home is a testament to the wonderful teamwork put forth by the community leadership. The Sarasota-Manatee county area has long been regarded as one of the premier locations in the entire country for those who are interested in an active healthy lifestyle, and the decision of USMS to relocate to Sarasota only helps to further strengthen the area's wonderful reputation. I truly believe that there is no better place to live, work, and raise a family than Sarasota and we are excited to welcome the USMS leadership team and their members to the paradise we call home." Tim Morris, CEO, Corvus International Managing Principal, Springbok Sports Club & Academy