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October 23, 2013

Oct. 23, 2013

For information, contact:
Jennifer Lawson
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 544-0088
(865) 255-0823 (mobile)


About all a competitive swimmer needs is a pool of water, a suit and maybe goggles, right? Many people who watch these athletes compete could easily think that. However, the quality of the facility – including the depth of the water and even the lane dividers – helps swimmers increase their speed and set personal time records.

That’s why the new Kingsport Aquatic Center has started attracting multistate swim meets that will bring hundreds of swimmers, coaches, parents and spectators to the area. Events of this type benefit the local economy through hotel stays, restaurant meals and retail purchases.

The 2013 Pumpkin Patch Invitational, to be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26-27, is the first such meet hosted by the aquatic center since its opening earlier this year and it promotes “fast swimming,” moving it from a novice event to a competitive one. In fact, because it is the first official meet of its type at the facility, inaugural pool records will be set in each stroke and distance category. Competition organizers expect 250 youth swimmers ages 5 -18 comprising 13 teams from Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina, in addition to Tennessee. The meet is sanctioned by Southeastern Swimming Inc. and sponsored by the Barracuda Swim Club, which is based at the center as well as in Johnson City. Professional swim coach Chris Coraggio said the Pumpkin Patch Invitational represents a first-class meet that will “help put the aquatic center on the map. Word of mouth is huge in this sport,” he said.

To the trained eye, Coraggio said, the aquatic center provides swimmers several advantages. The indoor HMG Competition Pool depth ranges from 13 feet at the course start to 6.5 feet at the turn end. The deeper water absorbs turbulence instead of bouncing it back to the surface. Also, the starting blocks are angled with a wedge that allow swimmers to push off, much as runners do in track-and-field events. The lane dividers are specifically designed to reduce turbulence between lanes. Even the depth of the pool gutters matters, Coraggio said. Large, deep gutters like the ones at the center drain waves away, instead of reflecting them back across the pool surface.

“All of these qualities of the facility help make for a fast swim,” Coraggio said. “That’s what the Kingsport Aquatic Center offers.”

Youth swimmers will compete in five swim categories at several distances: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and individual medley.

2013 Pumpkin Patch Invitational swim meet details:

Date: Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 26 and 27
Location: Kingsport Aquatic Center, 1100 Meadowview Parkway, Kingsport, Tenn.
Times: Morning schedule: warm-up, 7:30 a.m.; competition, 9 a.m.
Afternoon schedule: warm-up, noon; competition, 1 p.m.
Interviews: Kari Matheney, Kingsport Aquatic Center director, 423-343-9758.
Barracuda Swim Club Coach Chris Coraggio will be available for interviews before and after competition, or before Saturday at 423-833-5595.

More information at

About the Kingsport Aquatic Center

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is the region’s newest and most comprehensive indoor-outdoor public aquatic and recreation facility. Located in Kingsport’s Meadowview district at the base of iconic Bays Mountain, the center provides area residents and visitors with the best in health, fitness and recreation features in a safety-focused environment. The Kingsport Aquatic Center features the HMG Competition Pool, the area’s only indoor Olympic-size pool, plus year-round swim courses and American Red Cross-certified water safety and lifeguard training. A seasonal outdoor water park offers recreational activities from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day. Seasonal, annual and daily rates are available. For more information, visit