Creating a unique and fun introduction to launch newcomers to swimming, USA Swimming has developed SwimJitsu – a new grow-the-sport program that combines swimming, inflatable obstacles and cannonballs.
SwimJitsu is an in-water obstacle course that includes a series of entry-level swimming skills stages and 10 entertaining tasks. Participants become “swimjas” (a combination of swimming and ninja) by using traits such as wisdom, speed and agility.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colorado) has joined as a SwimJitsu Grandmaster to invite new swimmers to try SwimJitsu and, ultimately, join a swim team.
“Not every kid is going to get started swimming in the traditional way like I did. What I love about SwimJitsu is that it encourages kids to get in the pool and have fun in the water,” said Franklin. “My coaches have always been creative about making the sport fun and this takes it to a whole new level.”
“We found a winning formula with SwimJitsu, a mash-up of skill-based competitions such as football’s Punt, Pass and Kick and skiing’s NASTAR mixed with entertaining shows like Wipeout and American Ninja Warrior,” said USA Swimming Marketing Director Jim Fox. “This is a new and compelling way to complement the traditional entry paths into the sport and introduce kids to swimming skills, comparing swim times and achieving goals.”
Along with the SwimToday campaign, SwimJitsu is helping to reposition swimming as the #FunnestSport. This innovative primer to the sport gives a sampling of the fun and rewarding aspects of continuing in the sport. USA Swimming clubs will be on-site at the venues to provide tips, identify kids with an interest in swimming and invite them to into a team to improve their skills.
“We are providing ‘edu-tainment’ to get the attention of kids and parents who wouldn’t otherwise consider swimming on a team,” said USA Swimming Chief Marketing Officer Matt Farrell. “What makes SwimJitsu such a winner is that it’s pure fun for those who participate, a creative way to grow swimming participation and a sustainable and scalable program to run. We believe this year is the start of a long-running success story.”
SwimJitsu will make an eight-city nationwide tour this summer, over a nine-week stretch. The sites and dates include:
· Denver, CO – Saturday, June 13
· Phoenix, AZ – Saturday, June 20
· Orange County, CA – Saturday, June 27
· Indianapolis, IN – Saturday, July 11
· Chicago, IL – Saturday, July 18
· Minneapolis, MN – Saturday, July 25
· Boston, MA – Saturday, August 1
· Atlanta, GA – Saturday, August 8
At each daily event, there will be multiple, two-hour sessions for participants to attempt unlimited runs on the course. Each timed shift requires a registration. Awards will be given at the end of each wave for the best times per age group. There will also be four ninja-themed swimming games for competitors to practice their newfound abilities. Advance registration is $20 per two-hour block per person, and $25 at the event site.
Swimming News is courtesy of USA Swimming.