Even before the Oro Valley Aquatics Center officially opened last spring, town officials were beaming about the U.S. National Synchronized Swimming Championships event that was slated to take place more than a year after opening.

Last week, 40 teams, consisting of swimmers, coaches and other personnel, from across the country, traveled to compete in this national event in Oro Valley.

Though it was touted as a highlig ht, the center has seen 18 competitions since it opened including state, regional, national, summer league and high school meets. Of those 18, more than half were larger meets, such as state and nationals.

Having events like those locked in place and the town’s pool on the map for the swimming circuit, the town has secured the 2016 U.S. Masters Synchronized Swimming Championships, which will be held in October of 2016.

“When we built this facility we had always envisioned having a lot of state competition. But we have been really aggressive on our bids for national competitions,” said Greg Caton, the Oro Valley Town Manager, as he watched the competition take place last week. “This is the fruit of that labor.”

This past competition was projected to bring in $429,543 to the town’s economy, which is a portion of the $2.2 million that was estimated to come into the town during the course of this year from the center alone.

“The exposure that this brings to Oro Valley is just phenomenal,” Caton added.

Teams traveled from Ohio, Colorado, Texas, California, Washington, Massachusetts, and numerous other states from across the country.

The original budget for enhancements to the Oro Valley Aquatic Center was $3.45 million, and an additional $1.55 million was later budgeted for the project for a total of $5 million. 

During those budgeting meetings, a lot of talk centered on bringing signature events to the town, but in order to do that, the town needed to invest in an infrastructure such as the aquatic center.

Now that it is built and is there, Caton said there in lies the beauty of the investment.

“Our community gets to use this day in and day out, but then, once a year we have a really big, national event like this that brings economic dollars into our community, our hotels are packed, our restaurants are packed, and these people are enjoying this phenomenal facility,” Caton said.

Throughout the summer, the pool will be open to the public, along with offering swimming lessons and programs, such as water aerobics, water Pilates, aqua yoga and lifeguarding courses.

The first day of each month, the center will host a free Teen Dive-in movie night, starting at 7 p.m. The State Synchronized Swimming Championships will be held on April 25, and the Mayflower Meet will be held on May 2.

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