I recently competed in aquatics at the 2013 Special Olympics Virginia (SOVA) Summer Games in Richmond. This year’s Summer Games were different from previous, as heavy rainfall cancelled all the outdoor sports on both Friday and Saturday. While rain left most of the athletes with little to do, the athletes in Aquatics and Bowling were able to compete.
My delegation, Area 23 (Greater Prince William Area), had ten athletes and three coaches. While small, we brought home 19 medals out of the 30 events we competed in two days. We also had other members of our delegation come and cheer us on. It was a new experience for us.
My individual events were the 25 meter Breaststroke, 50 meter Freestyle and Breaststroke. Coming into Summer Games, I had my mind focused on going all out to try and earn the opportunity to compete at the 2014 Special Olympics USA National Games. I knew that I needed to earn gold to have a shot. My first event final was the 25m Breaststroke. When the start signal went off, I swam as fast as I could and finished in first place with a time of 22.41 seconds. I was pretty excited that I won the first gold medal for my delegation.
Day two of the aquatics competition was energy packed day with the remaining event finals. My two event finals were the 50 meter Freestyle and Breaststroke. My 50 meter Freestyle event final was my first event of the day. I was nervous going into this final since I only swam twice in previous meets. When the start signal went off, I swam as fast I could and finished with the silver medal with a time of 46.52 seconds. I was happy with that result.
My 50 meter Breaststroke final was almost two hours after my 50 meter Freestyle final. When it was time for me to get into the water, I knew I was ready to go for the gold. When the start signal went off, I went into my zone of swimming fast and keeping my focus ahead. When I touched the wall, I looked straight at the scoreboard for my time. I won the gold medal with a time of 50.24 seconds. I was excited that I repeated for the third time in a row as the fastest 50 meter Breaststroke swimmer in Special Olympics Virginia.
After the aquatics competition was over, my team went back to the dorms. We were all proud of ourselves for what we accomplished over those two days of competition. I was proud of myself because I knew I had a chance of being selected for Team Virginia.
The Closing Ceremony was great and reminded me that I came to Summer Games on a mission and succeed in that mission. When Sunday came, it was kind of sad to be leaving Richmond after a great weekend of competition.
Every athlete from all five sports was happy that they got the opportunity to come down to Richmond. Regardless of competing or not competing, the smiles on the athletes’ faces are what are important of being a champion. In the end, there is a champion in us all and we revealed it in many different ways.