SKA swimmers find windows at ‘Special’ swim

PUHI — Swim Kauai Aquatics swimmers Sadie Stearns and Malia Splittstoesser found new personal best times in their “unified” swims with Special Olympic swimmers last week during a special swim meet at the YMCA pool.

Dan Britzman, president of SKA, said 11 Special Olympics swimmers, 31 SKA swimmers and more than 30 volunteers opened up the SKA home pool in a combined swim hosted to train and offer the Special Olympic swimmers an opportunity at times to qualify for the Hawaii State Summer Games which will be held on Oahu, July 3-6.

“This is a wonderful effort between Special Olympics Kauai and Swim Kauai Aquatics,” said Missy Peck, a Special Olympics volunteer coach. “The smiles on the faces and the personal accomplishments make for a very special day.”

Special Olympics athletes in the water included Katherine Tan, Stephen Blanc, Chad Okino, Jerry Carineo, Ken Tazaki, Sarah Peck, Mariana Munoz, Alex McClurg, Katie Norman and Ellane Kato.

“Seeing the SKA swimmers cheer on their Special Olympic student athletes was heartwarming,” said SKA coach Curt Colby. “All of the athletes, volunteers and coaches were inspired by these determined and amazing Special Olympics swimmers.”

During the meet, SKA swimmers Stearns and Splittstoesser found windows to post personal bests in their respective swims, Splittstoesser dropping time in the 1,000 yard freestyle to earn qualification for the state long course championships coming up in July.

Julia Safford, 13, found a new state time standard in the 100 breaststroke, Teyvyn Nishimura, 10, found a state time standard in the 100 butterfly, Lucas McSweeny, 11, took his state swim in the 500 freestyle, and “T” Koerte, 9, corralled his state time in the 100 butterfly.

Britzman said Mahina Dameron, 9, is on a growth with improvements, posting a perfect meet in all of her swims, scoring three new HI AA time standards. Dameron was joined by 12-year-old swimmers Zoey Huntley and Audrey Yukimura in pocketing perfect swims, Yukimura moving up with three new HI A times.

“All of the swimmers have goals,” Colby said. “They’re achieving them. This bodes well for an exciting summer season.”

Britzman said SKA shares the Special Olympics vision of transforming lives through the sport and sportsmanship.

“Everyone’s lives were enriched at the joint meet,” he said.


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