Information provided by the United States Olympic Committee was used in this release.
LA JOLLA, Calif. - The University of California San Diego is proud to announce its participation in the 2017-18 Collegiate Para Swimming Series, which will kick off in conjunction with the A3 Performance Invitational from Nov. 16-18. The three-day meet is being hosted again by UC San Diego, this year for the first time at the San Diego State University Aztec Aquaplex.
The series, made possible through a generous grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, is the product of collaboration between U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the NCAA, and host institutions, like UC San Diego. The goal of the series is to expand awareness and create more opportunities for student-athletes with disabilities to compete at the collegiate level. Swimming is a highly inclusive Paralympic sport with eligibility categories spanning physical, visual and intellectual impairments.
As part of the series, the 2017 A3 Performance Invitational will include in its schedule, three men's and women's Para swimming events, those being the 50-yard freestyle on Thursday, Nov. 16, the 100-yard backstroke on Friday, Nov. 17, and the 100-yard freestyle on Saturday, Nov. 18. Exact times are yet to be determined.
"Besides being a very inclusive sport, Para swimming heats are easily integrated into existing swim meets," said Paul Ackerman, U.S. Paralympics' director of Paralympic sport development. "Through the series, we hope to create more collegiate competition opportunities and educate athletes, parents and school officials about Paralympic sport. There are too many individuals with disabilities that are unaware of available programs, so it is our goal to increase awareness and opportunities to participate."
Paralympic athletes with classifications, or in need of provisional classification, are being invited to compete in the 50 free, 100 back and 100 free. Ackerman will be attending this inaugural event for the series. Specific information regarding athlete eligibility is available by contacting him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fourth-year UC San Diego senior Reilly Boyt, a native of Fort Collins, Colo. (Poudre HS), is a 2016 U.S. Paralympian who competed in four events for Team USA at the Rio Games. She has yet to appear at an A3 Performance Invitational, and is entered in all three Para events at this year's edition.
Boyt is the American record-holder in the 100-yard back in her S6 classification, having timed 1:31.53 while competing for UC San Diego at the 2017 Pacific Collegiate Swimming and Diving Conference (PCSC) Championships at East Los Angeles College in Monterey Park on Feb. 10. She also holds the S6 100 back American standard in long-course meters (1:37.22), from her preliminary heat in Rio on Sept. 8, 2016.
The first-year UC San Diego men's and women's swimming and diving head coach is David Marsh, who directed the Team USA women to a total of 16 medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Following the opening installment at the A3 Performance Invitational, the series will continue with stops at the Calvin Invite at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Nov. 30-Dec. 2); the 2018 PCSC Championships in La Mirada (Feb. 14-17); the 2018 Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Championships at The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio (Feb. 15-17); and the 2018 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Open Championships at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. (Feb. 23-25).
ABOUT THE CRAIG H. NEILSEN FOUNDATION
The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is dedicated to supporting programs and scientific research to improve the quality of life of those affected by, and living with, spinal cord injury. For more information, visit: http://chnfoundation.org.
ABOUT U.S. PARALYMPICS
U.S. Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee, is dedicated to becoming the world leader in the Paralympic sports movement and to promoting excellence in the lives of persons with physical disabilities. Visit the U.S. Paralympics website at USParalympics.org. Stay connected with U.S. Paralympics on Facebook and Twitter.