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Aquatic center earning glowing reviews as competitive venue

May 4th, 2014 9:01 pm by Matthew Lane

Aquatic center earning glowing reviews as competitive venue

Competitors, coaches and officials prepare for action in a recent swim meet at the Kingsport Aquatic Center. (Contributed photo)

KINGSPORT — "If you build it, they will come" not only applies to ball fields, but apparently swimming pools as well.

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is coming up on its one-year anniversary later this month and in that time it has had good success in attracting regional swim meets, with hundreds of swimmers from across the region coming to the facility to compete.

In all, the aquatic center has hosted 10 swim meets since opening last year with another four scheduled for later this summer. Most of the meets involve kids ages 6 to 18 and have been organized by local swim teams, but some have been dual team or tri-team meets, district meets for high school-aged swimmers and one being a collegiate-level event.

Thus far, all of the tournaments have approached the city about using the facility for competitions, rather than the other way around.

"We've not actively sought out any. They've all come to us," said Kari Matheney, aquatic center director. "Some of them have not met before, some were new and some used to have (tournaments) at Legion Pool years ago."

Kingsport's aquatic center opened nearly a year ago and is a first-of-its-kind facility for the Tri-Cities region. The 46,000-square-foot, climate-controlled complex has a 50-meter competition/lap pool with three springboards, a zero-entry warm water pool and a kids pool. The outdoor water park includes two water slides, a lazy river and water playground.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Monday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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