More than 1,500 participants across the country competed in 5,500 pool and open water races
U.S. Masters Swimming wrapped up the 2020 Toyota USMS Virtual Championships Powered by Swim.com on Monday, its first virtual swim meet and one of its largest virtual events ever.
More than 1,500 participants across the country competed in 5,500 pool and open water races, swimming more than 1,800 miles in this socially distanced event, which attracted swimmers ranging from those in their first competition to three-time Olympian Elizabeth Beisel.
“The Virtual Championships were the perfect way for me to reenter the world of competitive swimming,” Beisel says. “I cannot wait to compete in more Masters Swimming events and recruit more of my former teammates to jump back into the swimming world with me.”
The event also raised nearly $30,000 through net entry proceeds, donations, and an online auction for the USMS COVID-19 Relief Program, which will support clubs nationwide as they attempt to restart once safe and appropriate to do so.
“This fun event was created to help our members who can safely swim set a goal and find motivation in a trying time,” says Dawson Hughes, USMS’s chief executive officer. “For many, it not only provided an opportunity to race but also an opportunity to feel connected to a larger group for the first time since February. The stories and photos that we received from participants showed us how amazing our swimming community is.”
Until in-person competitions can safely resume, USMS plans to conduct more virtual events in the coming months in addition to the SmartyPants Vitamins USMS Fall Fitness Challenge (Nov. 15-30) and the USMS 5K/10K ePostal National Championship (ending Sept. 30).