Cumming Aquatic Center Wraps Up Successful State-Wide Swim Meet
Summer event draws more than 1,000 swimmers and their families for the second year!
The Cumming Aquatic Center again played host to the Georgia Recreation and Park Association (GRPA) Class A Swim Championships on July 24 and 25. The facility first hosted the statewide competition in July of 2014.
Greg Little, director of Cumming’s Recreation & Parks Department, said this year’s competition drew more than 1,100 swimmers from all over Georgia, along with about 3,000 of their supporters. The event netted more than $15,000 for the Cumming Aquatic Center.
Besides the direct economic impact for the center itself, the event also brought many tourism dollars to the community.
“This competition brings an economic impact of several hundred thousand dollars to the Cumming and Forsyth County area,” noted Mayor H. Ford Gravitt. “It brings business to hotels, restaurants and other businesses in our community.”
Anna Barlow, Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce’s Director of Tourism, noted that the swim meet, along with a 109-team softball tournament that occurred at the same time, “filled hotel rooms” throughout the city and county, and together the two events brought in at least $750,000 to businesses in the community.
Little credits the existence of Cumming’s world-class aquatic center and its outstanding staff as the driver for GRPA’s decision to bring the meet back to Cumming for the second year in a row. The $15 million facility, which was funded by local sales tax dollars, was constructed in 2010 and 2011.
“We’re thrilled that the GRPA again selected our facility for this event,” Little said. “We were successful thanks to the performance of our host team last year, and also because of the foresight of our city leaders who, during the construction process, allowed amenities and features necessary for such large events to be included while it was being built. At that time, we knew those investments would pay off for us – and now they have.”
Some of those features include a larger than average amount of deck space around the Olympic-size competition pool and seating for more than 1,000 observers.
“Attracting a statewide event of any kind is an accomplishment for our community,” noted James McCoy, president and CEO of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce. “And attracting an event that fills hotel rooms, restaurants and other retail businesses is proof that investment in amenities and infrastructure is essential to the economic health of a community.”
Besides competitive events all day on July 24 and 25, the Cumming Aquatic Center staff presented a welcome party for all the competitors and their families during the evening of July 23. Mayor H. Ford Gravitt, members of the City Council and the city’s administrative team also attended to welcome guests to the city. Dinner, which was provided through a partnership with the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, was catered by local restaurant Dickey’s Barbecue.
Carla Wilson, manager of the Aquatic Center, said she and her staff learned from the 2014 event, which led to a more successful event this year.
“Last year’s event went well, and this year’s event went even better,” she said. “We were honored to host this meet for a second year in a row.”
Wilson said all three days of the event were well supported by her staff and volunteers.
“We had about 55 part-time and full-time staff members supporting the event. We also had approximately 40 volunteers working each day,” she said. “Our staff also worked hard in the months preceding the event to ensure its success.
“We hope to have the opportunity to host the event again next year.”