WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
May 4, 2011
For four days, the aquatic world will be in the spotlight during the City of Fort Lauderdale 100-Year Celebration of Swimming and Diving that feature the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix, 47th International Swimming Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Paragon Awards and Fran Crippen SafeSwim Festival.
On Thursday, the four-day splash begins with the AT&T USA Diving Grand Prix at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.
The four-day meet features the world’s best divers from the U.S., China, Canada and other countries including 47 Olympians preparing for the 2012 London Olympics.
The meet is the only competition that features the best divers competing on American soil this year. The diving events begin Thursday at 10 a.m. and end Sunday at noon.
University of Miami’s Brittany Viola, Atlantic Coast Conference Student-Athlete of the Year, and former Plantation diver Kassidy Cook are the only locals in the field.
2008 Olympian Jevon Tarantino, an Olympic Heights alum, who trained at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex early in his career, is no longer diving because of lack of sponsors to fund his training.
On Friday night, ISHOF’s 47th annual Induction Ceremony will be held at the Broward County Convention Center at 6 p.m.
Heading the Class of 2011 is Monaco’s Prince Albert II, who will receive the Gold Medallion Award.
Prince Albert, 53, who recently attended the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey, is also set to wed this summer (July 1-2). His fiancé is former South African Olympic backstroke swimmer Charlene Wittstock, 33.
Others honorees are five-time Olympic gold medalist Ian Thorpe, U.S. swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg, Aussie swimmer Petria Thomas, synchro swimmer Miya Tachibana, water polo player Aleksandar Sostar, open water swimmer Michael Reed, Hungary water polo coach Denes Kemeny, contributor Thomas Hoad and pioneer Re Calcaterra.
On Saturday, national-caliber open water swimmers will compete for prize money in the inaugural Fran Crippen SafeSwim Festival off Fort Lauderdale beach. The race is in honor of Crippen, who died tragically while competing in a FINA-sanctioned race in October 2010.
The festival will feature three events: One Mile Dash For Cash at 9:30 a.m., 10K invitation-only marathon at 11 a.m. and two-hour open water safety clinic at 2 p.m. The clinic will feature several top swimmers including three-time Olympian Aaron Piersol and two-time Olympian Peter Vanderkaay.
Also on Saturday is a free day of standup paddleboard instructions, junior lifeguard and age group races, a Polynesian Asian/Pacific Cultural Festival and Guinness World Record high dive attempt by Professor Splash at Alexander Park in Fort Lauderdale and Paragon Awards at ISHOF.
On Sunday, the Auto Nation Standup Paddleboard Challenge will be held and will feature extreme athlete Tom Jones, who is training for a paddle from California to Hawaii for Plastics Free Oceans.
Also, on exhibition at the ISHOF Museum is the story of swimming in Fort Lauderdale over the past hundred years. It showcases a century of swimwear from the Jantzen archive. The exhibit runs through October but is free to the public May 5-8.
For information or tickets, call 954-462-6536 or visit ishof.org.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com.