Going the Distance
In a city with an Olympic-size love of swimming, this meet is a ritual worth witnessing
THEY’VE BEEN GATHERING every winter for thirty-nine years, the old and young, taut and pudgy, ex-champions and newbies to the aquatic life. In a city with an Olympic-size love of swimming, the annual Charlotte Swim Masters Sunbelt Championships at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center is a ritual worth witnessing. Roughly 300 adult amateur swimmers from Charlotte and around the country will compete in the two-day tournament on January 19 and 20, which is free for spectators, no tickets required. You might spot a pair of goggles on Ole Larson, the ninety-one-year-old former swim coach at Appalachian State University, or an eighteen-year-old college kid who’s never competed before. Either way, the event is a reminder that hitting the pool is a great way to keep your New Year’s fitness resolutions—no matter how you look in a Speedo.