LAST weekend six South Coast Special Olympics swimmers competed successfully at the two day Canberra Centenary Swimming Competition at the Australian Institute of Sport.
It was an impressive event with over 400 Special Olympics swimmers from 40 regions across Australia along with a team from Japan. A spectacular Opening Ceremony at the Australian Institute of Sport kicked off proceedings hosted by Olympic gold medallist, Alicia Coutts and Paralympic gold medallist Michael Milton.
A plethora of dignitaries attended including the Hon Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport.
Swimmers paraded for the first time at an international competition wearing their local Special Olympics uniform – the one they wear so proudly during weekly training. A cauldron was lit, the final part of the torch run involving ACT and NSW police officers.
South Coast swimmers came away with an impressive haul of eight medals. Heidi Jay of Moruya blitzed the field in her 100m freestyle, taking a whopping 11 seconds off her personal best.
“Like most Special Olympics events, it was great to see the whole hearted efforts of South Coast swimmers and the friendly way that they competed with other athletes. Good sportsmanship was there for everyone to see and enjoy,” said team South Coast team manager Pauline Hicks.
In addition to the enjoyment of the swimming competition, it was a wonderful experience for the South Coast swimmers to stay at the AIS, soak up its atmosphere and rub shoulders with some of Australia’s elite athletes.
Special Olympics provide year round sports training and competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability. South Coast has programs for swimming, basketball, soccer, cricket and tenpin bowling, all run by volunteers.
Anyone wishing to participate or volunteer can ring Janelle Morgan, Chairperson of South Coast Special Olympics.