Swimming & diving partners with local Special Olympics
For the past eight weeks, the Hamilton College men's and women's swimming & diving teams assisted Special Olympics athletes from Clinton and the surrounding area in conjunction with an NCAA Division III partnership with Special Olympics.
Photos from the program
On Wednesday nights beginning on March 6, more than 30 Special Olympians attended 90-minute swim classes at Hamilton's Bristol Pool with student-athletes from the swimming and diving teams. Members of the Clinton Cudas Swim Club helped as well.
"The NCAA Division III Special Olympics Initiative is a great partnership, and I am glad our team has the ability to be involved in such a positive way,” head coach T.J. Davis said. “Our student-athletes have fostered relationships with many of these swimmers, and I think it's great that we are able to provide them with a facility and our knowledge of the sport. In return, they provide us with enthusiasm and an appreciation of their commitment both in and out of the pool."
The Special Olympians were taught stroke technique, racing strategies, starts, flip turns and preparing for upcoming competitions. Two of those competitions include the Rome Regional Aquatics at Rome Free Academy on June 1 and the Summer State Games in Buffalo from June 14 to June 16.
Alex Jones '16 was one of the many members of the Hamilton swimming and diving team on hand throughout the program. “It was inspiring to see the looks of enthusiasm on the athletes faces as they walked into the pool each day," Jones said. "Sometimes our sport can be monotonous and it is easy to lose sight of having fun, so seeing the excitement on each athletes' face was revitalizing. I hope that the influence the athletes had on my teammates and I was as great as the influence that our team had on them. My involvement in Special Olympics was rewarding and I look forward to the team’s continued participation in years to come.”
Team captain Jillian Hallak '13 shared similar sentiments. “I found working with the Special Olympians to be an amazing experience," Hallak said. "They are all incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to swim and to work with our team. We are not only helping them to become better swimmers, but we are giving them the little bit of extra encouragement they need to succeed in and out of the pool.”