This weekend, more than 400 swimmers from the tri-state area will travel to North Philly for some friendly competition.
Two years since its opening, the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center on Wissahickon Avenue is now hosting its first competitive swim meet, which is open to the public. Fifteen teams from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware will compete in the Jimmy Moran Competition Pool.
Senior Aquatics Director Jim Ellis — whom the film “Pride” was based on — wanted to bring the pool to communities that weren’t exposed to such programs. “Most people wouldn’t see a meet like this in the suburbs or a college campus,” he said.
“The African American community can use swimming as a way of staying healthy,” Ellis said. “And it’s also an educational endeavor. Kids learn about nutrition, how to set goals, manage their time, and how to strategize.”
Revenue from the meet will go toward maintaining the pool and for community programs. Ellis said he hopes the event will make a splash and that it will eventually become an annual event.
“We’re trying to grow a swimming community,” he says.
Today’s competition will start at 4 p.m. and run through 8 p.m. The Saturday and Sunday competitions will run from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.