With 10 miles of beautiful Atlantic shoreline,the famous boardwalk, Inlet Park pier, and endless shopping and entertainment, Ocean City has long been one of Maryland’s favorite vacation spots. In the last three years, OC native Corey Davis has been working to make it the site for one of the most exciting water sports competitions in the country: the Ocean Games.
In 2006, Davis, an active triathlete and lifelong surfer, was the victim of a motorcycle accident. In addition to several serious injuries, he sustained a traumatic brain injury that left him with cognitive impairments and confined to a wheelchair for several months. The following year, Davis sought the help of Dr. Kate Bechtold and the Johns Hopkins Brain and Stroke Rehabilitation Program in hopes of returning to his previously active lifestyle.
In 2013, Davis created Swim Ocean City, a one-day event that featured 1-mile, 3-mile and 9-mile open water races. Ocean Games features one of only two open water marathon swims on the East Coast, and one of the only SUP (stand-up paddle board) races that require racers to complete laps while facing the challenge of the ocean. Not only is this event unique in its style of competition, but in its purpose and mission.
Dr. Kate Bechtold, who leads the Hopkins Brain & Stroke Rehab Program that the Ocean Games supports, said: “…to watch Corey, the volunteers, the athletes, and the spectators so engaged and dedicated was incredible. Corey has taken one of the primary drivers for brain health – staying actively engaged in life – and made it into an event that everyone can benefit from. His donations have afforded the Brain and Stroke Rehabilitation Program the resources to fund research, expand educational opportunities for our clinicians, and purchase needed equipment.”
Participation is not only local, but from all over the east coast. “The majority of our swim participants come from Maryland and Virginia, closely followed by DC and Pennsylvania. We also have racers from New Jersey, Delaware, North Carolina, New York and 1 racer each from Florida, California, Massachusetts and West Virginia” says Julia Galan, founder of Swimspire, who works closely with Ocean Games.
Donna Abbott, Director of Ocean City Tourism states, “Ocean City has become known as a great location for sporting events, and our ocean and beach are natural attractions. We are very excited to host this event and welcome participants and their families,” said Donna Abbott, director of Ocean City Tourism.
In its first two years, Ocean Games raised nearly $50,000 for the Hopkins rehab program. With the support of the Ocean City Beach Patrol, Stephen Decatur High School, and the Ocean City Surf Club, the Ocean Games has achieved all of those goals while creating an exciting, community-oriented, elite competition in the state of Maryland. In the future, Davis hopes to include more events to the Ocean Games lineup and extend the event to a week-long format.
Check out www.oceangamesusa.org for more information.