“UCO allowed so many bigger and better dreams (for the Endeavor Games),” Shaklee said. “They have the facility and the infrastructure and the support.”
The Olympic and Paralympic Training Center designations for UCO and the Oklahoma River also gave the Endeavor Games a boost. Many athletes now use the Endeavor Games to try and qualify for Paralympic national and international events.
The first contests are Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on the Oklahoma River in Paracanoe.
Swimming returns to the 2014 Endeavor Games with the addition of the new state-of-the-art pool at Edmond’s Mitch Park YMCA.
The last year of swimming in the Endeavor Games was two years ago at UCO’s old pool in Hamilton Fieldhouse. That year, only 15 swimmers competed.
This year, 60 swimmers are entered and it’s the direct result of the new pool with its stadium seating, said Leigha Pemberton, Olympic and Paralympics Training Site Manager at UCO.
“We have a better facility with the right timing equipment, all the right things with having a good competition,” she said. “Hamilton Fieldhouse wasn’t set up for that anymore, not that level of competition.”
Over the years, athletes from 184 cities, 38 states and four countries have participated in the Endeavor Games.