SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — More than 100 Special Olympians put their swimming skills to the test during a meet in Sioux Falls Friday.
Special Olympics events like this allow everyone into the pool.
“Yeah, you just gotta take it one lane at a time,” swimming coach Carol Wolf said.
The Southeast Area State Swim Meet brought 125 athletes to the Midco Aquatic Center to showcase their swimming skills.
“I love being in Special Olympics and I love being here,” Emily Groeneveld of Lennox said.
A dozen teams from eastern South Dakota took part in the competition.
“It just makes me swim faster and makes me more stronger and all that,” Foster Kogel said.
The relay racers at this swim meet have also trained very hard because their event involves a lot of teamwork.
“Well, for one, if your teammate gets to the end, like swim as fast as you pretty much do as possible as you can to get to the other side,” Xavier Jones of Sioux Falls said.
These Special Olympians take a lot of pride in their aquatic accomplishments.
“I get like fast enough to where I make it to the end, like it’s nothing,” Jones said.
But it’s not just about winning for these athletes.
“What basically we have to talk about is you have to start, get in the water, you go, you get to the end, you finish. Yes, it’s great that you get a medal or a ribbon, but you support all the athletes. So hopefully you’ll see my kids give knuckles and high-fives to the people they’re competing with,” Wolf said.
The swimmers say they enjoy making new friends at competitions like these. Regardless of what order they reach the finish line, they’re always one stroke away from an Olympic-size smile.
Many of the swimmers who competed Friday will also take part in the state Special Olympics Summer Games in Spearfish, starting May 18th.