COLUMBIA — More than 1,000 swimmers are expected to converge on the Mizzou Aquatics Center in March as Columbia hosts its first regional YMCA swim competition.
The Heartland Area YMCA Championships is scheduled for March 14 to 16. About 29 teams from Missouri and southern Illinois, with swimmers between the ages of 5 to 18, are expected to attend.
This is the first year the championships will be held in Columbia. MU's aquatic center is the only facility that can accommodate the expected crowds.
At its Nov. 18 meeting, the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board reviewed a Sports Development Fund application for $10,000 from the Jefferson City Barracuda Swim Club to rent the aquatic center, and the Columbia City Council approved the funding.
According to a report to the City Council, the competition will attract more than 800 out-of-town visitors. Event organizers have agreed to purchase T-shirts, trophies and food from local stores and vendors.
The Sports Development Fund is made available through 1 percent of Columbia's lodging tax. The funds are awarded to events and attractions that will generate overnight stays in local hotels and have the potential for growth and economic development for the city, according to the Convention and Visitors Bureau's website.