First Deaf International Short Course Swimming Championship at RIT

Scott Farrell at Deaf International Swim Competition at RIT

The Winter Olympics may be just a few weeks away, but an international sporting event is occurring this week at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Approximately 100 athletes from nine countries are expected to compete in the Deaf International Short Course Swimming Championship beginning Tuesday, Jan. 14, through Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014.

One of the competitors, Scott Farrell, of North Tonawanda, N.Y., is on the RIT swim team. He and former teammate Scott Matchett, of Brighton, N.Y., have won medals swimming in Deaflympics events around the world. Both are competing, as is one of their Deaflympics teammates, Marcus Titus, from Tucson, Arizona, who is eyeing a spot on the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

Short course swimming competitions for the deaf have been held in Europe for many years, but usually with just swimmers from two teams competing. This is the first global short course swimming competition for deaf international athletes, and the first short course race for deaf swimmers in 25-meter events. It is being hosted by United States Deaf Swimming and Fairport Area Swim Team.

“We expect many deaf records to be set,” said meet director Doug Matchett of Brighton. “We’re very excited to make history here on the RIT/National Technical Institute for the Deaf campus and in Rochester.”

Athletes are expected from the U.S., Russia, Canada, Mexico, England, Australia, Taiwan, Belarus and India.

Special lights have been installed in each pool lane by S&C Aquatic Specialties of Newark, N.Y., to give the swimmers visual cues when to get ready, get set and go.

The competition, which begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. and continues daily at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. through Friday, is open to the public at the RIT pool. Tickets are $20/day; proceeds benefit the RIT Swim Team.

Update: RIT/NTID student Scott Farrell won silver medals in the 200- and 800-meter free relay, and a bronze for the 50-meter backstroke.

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