Tickets on sale now with free youth tickets and group rates available
By Autumn Shelton, WV Press Association
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The USA Diving Winter National Championship start Dec. 14 at the Aquatic Center at Mylan Park in Morgantown, and the event is shaping up to be one of the more unique sporting events in West Virginia this year.
The West Virginia Press Association, on Thursday, held a virtual roundtable discussion with a group of the event’s organizers, including Lee Michaud, USA Diving president; Jennifer Lainhart, Mylan Park aquatic center director; Mike Retcher, Winter Nationals event director; and Susan Riddle, Visit Mountaineer Country Convention and Visitors Bureau president and CEO,
“This is really an opportunity for something that West Virginia doesn’t get to see every day,” said Riddle of the USA Diving Winter National Championship, which is being held Dec. 14-18, with practice starting on Dec. 11. The facility features seating and other facilities for fans and tickets are available at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Diving/Events/2022/December/14/2022-Winter-National-Championships
Michaud said the championships get special for divers and fans.
“I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more exciting than diving before a packed house,” Michaud said, “Divers get excited. The competition just gets better and better as more people get involved, so come on out and watch. Enjoy it, and cheer for the divers. You are going to see some fantastic divers. . . . I expect everyone in the world will be watching.”
“We are so excited to be coming to your great town,” Michaud said. “This time of year is a lot of fun for us because we get over 100 of our top divers all in one place. We’ve got eight Olympians. We’ve got seven world champions. We’ve got people who are up and comers and people who have already arrived – all coming here to show off what they have been training for.”
He said this is a pivotal event for these athletes and he feels confident they will “have a great experience” in Morgantown.
“For some people this might be the last time they ever get up on a diving board, and for other people this might be a first stepping stone for where they are going,” Michaud continued. “It makes for an experience you just can’t replace.”
Lainhart noted that a tremendous amount of work has been done to get the Mylan Park Aquatic Center ready for this championship, which involves behind-the-scenes work as well as creating an environment that is both athlete and fan friendly.
“This is the largest event that we have hosted to date,” Lainhart said of the aquatic center. “We hope to keep moving up that pole to host large diving events.”
Retcher added that he is looking forward to creating a world-class event right here in West Virginia.
“I truly believe we are going to set a benchmark for national level competitions for USA Diving and beyond,” Retcher said, noting that these athletes have trained for years to compete at this level – with the ultimate goal of becoming an Olympian.
“We are really excited about using this event as a platform to start growing the awareness and the recognition of these divers and continue to grow diving at the grassroots level,” he said.
Retcher said events, such as the 10 meter dive, will take place during the championship, and are typically fun to watch because athletes make impressive dives “throwing an insane amount of rotations and revolutions and twists and flips.”
Also, during the discussion, Riddle announced that tickets are currently being sold for anyone who wishes to attend. Adult ticket prices range from $20-80.
However, to ensure that the event is accessible to all, Riddle explained that a free youth ticket (for children up to age 17) will be available for every West Virginia resident adult ticket purchased.
There will also be group rates available for coaches or organizations who wish to bring students to watch the divers.
“We definitely want to get kids involved,” Lainhart added. “I think of the year that someday a great diver will come out of West Virginia because we are able to do this now. I always think, ‘What does this mean for the future?’ I know getting kids out there to do this and see this will inspire them.”
Riddle noted that senior and adult groups are also encouraged to attend using the group rate discount.
For any questions about group rates, or individual ticket sales, call the Visit Mountaineer Country Convention and Visitors Bureau at 302-292-5081, or visit their website.
Tickets may also be purchased through the Mylan Park Aquatic Center’s website. A complete schedule of events is available on this site as well. “Contacting us is very simple and we will do whatever is necessary to get as many people here as we can,” Riddle noted.