The Oklahoma Elite Pro-Am meet, one of the more storied, pioneering events for professional swimmers in the United States, will offer increased prize monies and a brand-new facility this December, its 23rd season in existence.
The Pro-Am is a unique meet aimed at promoting swimming as a money-earning profession. Professional athletes receive free lodging and food for the event, and U.S. National teamers get their airfare covered courtesy of host American Energy Swim Club, the meet itself and the meet’s corporate sponsors.
In addition, the top three finishers in each event receive cash prizes. Last season, athletes were awarded $600 for first place, $300 for second and $100 for third, which was an increase from previous seasons. In 2014, the prize purse continues to grow, with winners nabbing an $800 check, runners-up $500 and third-place finishers $300.
The meet also features a 50 freestyle shootout bracket, with athletes qualifying in prelims and the top 8 finishers squaring off 1-on-1 in three rounds before the champion is crowned. In addition, the Pro-Am adds one “featured event” each season, rotating between the 50 fly, back, and breast and the 100 IM. This season the featured event will be the 50 breaststroke.
Pro liaison Josh Davis tells SwimSwam that the Pro-Am is in talks with sponsors and plans to offer even larger monetary prizes for the 50 free and 50 breast. Davis says his hope for the 50 free shootout is to match the winning prize amount of his ‘Fastest Man in Texas’ meet, which will pay out $5,000 to the winner.
Already on board for the meet are names like Josh Schneider, Karlee Bispo, BJ Johnson, Mike Alexandrov, Darian Townsend and Mark Weber, Davis says.
The meet will move from the Oklahoma City Community Center to nearby Edmond, OK, which just built a $20 million racing facility, complete with dual short-course pools and blocks with the starting wedges. The pool is called the Mitch Park YMCA Aquatic Center, and was a joint effort between the local YMCA, the city government and the local school district.
In addition, the Pro-Am usually gives professional athletes opportunities to give back, through a visit to a local children’s hospital and meet-&-greet sessions with local age group swimmers. This year, the pro athletes will help out with a Wounded Warriors clinic for military veterans wounded in the service, along with the local swimmer meet-&-greet.
The 23rd Annual Oklahoma Elite Pro-Am happens December 18-21, 2014 in Oklahoma City. More information will be posted on the American Energy Swim Club’s website here as the meet gets closer. Interested professional swimmers can contact Josh Davis at [email protected] to get details and sign up. Any clubs interested in attending should contact American Energy Swim Club head coach Jared Prince at [email protected]