YORK, PA - The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, the YMCA of York and York County and local dignitaries on Thursday welcomed the Middle Atlantic Swimming Junior Olympics and formally announced that the PSAC and MAC Swimming Championships both will return to York for the next three years.
All three swimming events build upon an already impressive slate of athletic competitions that will come to York County in 2016 and beyond, as well as generate millions of dollars of economic impact for the entire community.
York County is familiar territory for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the Middle Atlantic Conference, which have used the YMCA's Graham Aquatic Center for their championship meets since 2014. This is the first year that the Junior Olympics is in York County, with competitions taking place at the YMCA pool, as well as the Central York Community Natatorium.
"The Junior Olympics is the culmination of the cooperation of the entire York community, combined with excellent volunteer and staff work to attract and deliver a first-class experience that showcases our community," said Larry Richardson, President and CEO of the YMCA. "We are privileged to host the event with our many partners, including the York County CVB and Central York School District. We welcome all the swimmers and their families and eagerly await the return of the PSAC and MAC Swimming Championships."
An anticipated 1,000 swimmers ranging in ages from 9 to 14 and hailing from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey will call York County home for the next four days during the Junior Olympics. Participation has exceeded original estimates, which means the total economic benefit for York County is now expected to reach $1.1 million.
At the collegiate level, PSAC and MAC just wrapped up their championship meets last month. Both conferences quickly agreed to return to York County. That's good news for local businesses, which again stand to benefit from both events. This past year, the PSAC meet provided a total economic benefit of $892,000, while the MAC event generated $825,000.
"We're elated to return to York County for three more years," said Steve Murray, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. "The Graham Aquatic Center has proven an ideal location for our championship meet, and the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau has been there every step of the way to help with housing needs, logistics and anything else we might require."
Ken Andrews, Executive Director of the MAC, agreed.
"Over the past three years, the MAC has had a great relationship with York County Convention & Visitors Bureau as they have supported our conference baseball and swimming championships, as well as the 2015 Mid-Atlantic NCAA Division III Baseball Regional," Andrews said. "The opportunity to extend the agreement for our swimming championships furthers that relationship and gives our swimmers a great opportunity to qualify for the NCAA meet."
Anne Druck, President of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the three swimming competitions showcase the value of sports tourism for York County.
"These three events are just a small slice of the sports tourism pie," Druck said. "With events such as the Keystone State Games, the USA Team Handball National Championships and the PIAA Golf Championships on the horizon, we expect that sporting events will bring thousands of youth and more than $20 million in economic activity to York County in 2016 alone."
York County Commissioner Doug Hoke, a member of the York County CVB Board of Directors, welcomed the Junior Olympics, as well as the news that PSAC and MAC would return.
"These competitions can have a dramatic ripple effect on our community. It's like skipping a rock - or in this case, a large stone - across a pool," Hoke said. "We know that whether they're a swimmer competing or a parent cheering from the stands, our guests are likely to return to York for another visit, or maybe even decide to go to school, start their career or start a family here."
State Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York, represents the district that includes the Graham Aquatic Center. He said it's amazing to see the influx of activity that sporting events bring to the city.
"York is in the midst of an amazing resurgence, and I'm thrilled to know that so many people will be in town to dine at our diverse culinary destinations, shop in our charming downtown or just sip a morning coffee from the local coffee shop on the corner," Schreiber said.
The Junior Olympics championship meet runs Thursday through Sunday, and the PSAC and MAC Swimming Championships will return next February.
The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Sport York initiative is designed to recruit events and generate additional economic impact in York County. Sport York positions York County as Pennsylvania's Premier Sports Destination, highlighting the area's dynamic facilities and central location on the East Coast. For further information about Sport York, visit www.yorkpa.org/sports.
The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau's Mission is to maximize tourism expenditures and their economic impact in York County, PA, through comprehensive tourism sales and marketing programs. The York County CVB's Vision is for a York County where tourism is recognized for the value of its economic impact and its role in raising the profile of York County as a sought-after destination. For more information on the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 1-888-858-9675 or visit www.yorkpa.org.