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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 28
Seattle to host 2013 IGLA Championships
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Seattle to host 2013 IGLA Championships

by Anthony Greer - SGN Staff Writer

When Seattle's Orca swim team went to the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) Championships in Hawaii from July 6-10, they came back with more than just medals.

During the first day of competition, Seattle bid to host the next IGLA Championships. Their proposal was accepted by the general assembly, meaning that in 2013 roughly 800-1,000 swimmers, water polo players, divers, and synchronized swimmers from all over the world will converge in the Emerald City to compete in the 21st IGLA Championships.

'We're pretty excited,' Orca swimmer Jason Stone said. 'We presented the bid and we enjoyed an incredible amount of support. There was no one who had any opposition at all.'

The IGLA Championships is held every year when there is not a Gay Games. To date, it has been held 19 times in 16 cities. This will be Seattle's second time hosting it.

'Seattle is a great sporting town with a great sporting tradition. That's one of the reasons that I think people are excited to come back to Seattle,' Jason said.

While having their bid accepted allowed the Orcas to get their feet wet on day one, the team itself made quite a splash in Hawaii, taking second place overall in their division. When Stone last spoke to SGN back in April, he predicted that upwards of 10 Orcas would be participating in Hawaii. A total of 21 went, including three women who dominated in their divisions.

Swimmers Lisa Dahl and Sarah Welch took first place in all five of their events. Lori Woodbury ended up taking second in both events she swam in. Leo Espinosa took first in two of his events and placed in the other three he participated in, and Kevin Brooks, the 'baby Orca,' came in first in two of the four events that he swam in as well.

'I did quite well in my age category. I was competing in the 18-24 age bracket, which was not the most competitive age bracket in the meet, but it was really motivating to win but also see the other competitors and see how fast people swam,' Brooks, 19, said. 'I think I did fairly well.'

Overall, the Orca swim team competed in 93 individual events and 13 relays. There were also six open water events.

'It was awesome. There's such an incredible feeling of camaraderie. You compete against these people but they're also some of your best friends. I've been going to these events since 2008 and I just feel like have friends from all over the world,' Stone said.

'It's definitely going to be something for me to remember,' Brooks added. 'It's motivated me to want to be involved in Gay and Lesbian aquatics for the rest of my life.'

'For the Orca swim team in particular, it's great because around here there's only one other Gay team and that's in Vancouver,' Stone said. 'We only really get to meet and compete with other Gay teams is during the IGLA Championships. It was also really fun for us because a lot of people were really excited to come up to Seattle in 2013.'

The 2013 IGLA Championships are going to be held at the King Country Aquatics Center. Thre will be an opening party followed by parties throughout the week including a Speedo night and a big dance party that Sunday night. The Orcas are currently working with local businesses and hotels in the downtown area to figure out the logistics of the event.

'Some of our preparations will involve fundraisers in the upcoming months,' Stone said. He added that the Orcas are also looking for volunteers to help in various capacities, from timing the swimming events to hosting out-of-town swimmers. Inquiries are welcome on the Orca website or via email at igla2013@gmail.com.

The Orca swim team originated in 1983 as the 'Emerald City Orca Swim Club.' Since then the Orcas have grown to a roster of roughly 200 men and women of all ages and sexual orientations. For more information on the Orcas, visit www.orcaswimteam.org.

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