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Thousands Gather for Jefferson Swim League Championship

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Big crowds are packing the University of Virginia Friday evening - but not to see the Cavaliers play. Swimmers, parents and coaches were at the Aquatic and Fitness Center for the annual Jefferson Swim League Championship.

More than 2,000 swimmers - plus parents, coaches, volunteers and officials - gathered for the event.

“Even though everyone's on different teams, we can all support each other because we know each other,” said Jordin Linville, who swims for Fry’s Spring.

Whitehead Road, which runs between the stadium and the aquatic center, will be shut down through Saturday evening while the competition's going on. And traffic will be multiplied by new student orientation at UVA this weekend.

But parents find a way to enjoy the controlled chaos.

Parent Chris Weatherford said, “We really enjoy coming every year and we were talking earlier - every once in a while a record might get broken and it can be very exciting.”

For swimmers, the pressure's on, after a long summer of hard work. “It's a lot more competitive because there's a lot more people,” said Josiah Walcott, who swims for Crozet.

The meet is an important tradition for many people there. Walcott is in his third year at championships. For decades, Howard Craddock has been posting up at the microphone, and Coach Cos DiFazio's lost track of how many championship meets he's coached in.

“The atmosphere is electric, I think a lot of it is swimming in front of all your friends and peers, your schoolmates, so it makes it kind of special because it's a real sense of community,” DiFazio said.

This meet's a two day event that wraps up Saturday evening.

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