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Monday, May 14, 2012

Justin's Special Olympics Swim Meet

Oh, but you have never seen anyone so stoked as Justin was at the Special Olympics Swim Meet at Kutztown University on Saturday May 5, 2012. He and his gang from Area P--I assume that stands for Poconos, but not entirely certain-- were up before the sun to get down that way and be there on time--8am-- for all the preliminary stuff--coaches meetings, registration and the opening ceremony with all the fanfare.

Justin was even picked to hold up the banner for his delegation--Way cool! He was thrilled!

 Each athlete is allowed three events for Special Olympics and as there were ~400 athletes, that was a wise idea. I was quite impressed with how quickly and smoothly each event was started, done and completed with the award ceremony swiftly following to keep things running well and on time.

His first event was the 25m backstroke and he did quite well. He earned a silver! YAY He beat his best recorded time by 10.46 seconds. That's my guppy!

The second event was also a backstroke- 50m- and he did even better in that one. But oddly enough, that was a bad thing. I'll explain.

It seems that when athletes do better by more than 25% of their best recorded times--which are recorded by their coaches during practice-- they are then disqualified. Justin was too fast and did much better than he should have done to remain un-disqualified. ( I don't think that's a word, but just go with it.)

This can be blamed on unscrupulous coaches who cheat by understating their athlete's best times just so they can be placed against slower swimmers and therefore have a better shot at winning the gold. UGH! Another case of a bad apple ruining a fine fun time for decent kids. It's just Special Olympics, folks, come on!

But no worries! Justin was still happy that he came in first place. He was so fast, the fastest he's ever done! How can you be sad about that? Tom was more upset than Justin. 

"He got disqualified for one tenth of one second???" Tom kept saying in stunned disbelief. It was rather amusing!

Justin's third event was 25m freestyle and we were worried he'd do too well on this one, too, being it was his best stroke. Justin shaved off a whooping 22 second off his best recorded time. Oh, yeah, disqualified.

Disqualified but happy as a clam

When explaining why Justin had done so well, Doug, the husband of coach Sue Ann said, "Well, they get here and the kids are stoked, they're excited and all that adrenalin is bound to make them do better!"

That must be true, because Justin was so excited and happy to be there, even with his two honest effort ribbon and one silver metal.

 Sue Ann, on the other hand, put the reason for improved times to the swim-cap Justin started wearing and skin-fitting suit. Justin's practice suits were baggy and very bad resistance-wise in the water. It bogs the swimmers down. With less friction to combat, they simply move faster and more smoothly in the water. Amazing how a little thing like that can make such a difference. Now I know why swimmers wear tiny speedos and shave every bit of hair off, too. Every mili-second counts!

 I suspect there were other factors, for Justin in particular. I think the last two practices were pivotal for him. He finally learned the proper breathing method Connie, the primary coach, had been trying to instill in her swim team since last year when Justin started-face in water, turn to side, breath, face back in water. Easy enough but Justin simply couldn't grasp the concept--until now. Plus Justin's finally got the proper arm movements down, especially for the backstroke which I recall him telling me each and every time, "That's hard, Mom."

But after his too backstroke events, he didn't say they were hard at all. That's gotta tell you something. He finally has this race swimming thing down.  Special Olympic has done wonders for Justin, and not just with swimming. He has gone bowling and skiing with them as well.

This Friday they are having a swim-a-thon to benefit Special Olympic area P. Justin is all jazzed to do this and has a few sponsors so far. More are welcome to pledge a nickle, dime, quarter or dollar for each lap Justin does. Fair warning, at last practice he did about 24 laps and we all know what happens when Justin is jazzed! So, if you ever have a couple of extra dollars in hand and you wish to make a difference in the world of a "special" person, consider donating to Special Olympics.


  1. Congratulations to this fine young man! Glory, you can be very proud of him! I cannot believe they 'disqualify' for getting better. They should, instead, just move them into another rating group, how simple would that be?
    Regardless, Justin is doing his parents proud! Again, congratulations, Justin! Good luck at the special meet! We're ALL on your side! ~R

    1. They do get placed in the appropriate groups but the trouble is, they are not so eager to go fast at practice so their times are slow--much slower sometimes--than what they do when they know it really means something. Oh, well, at least they have fun.

  2. Good for Justin and boo for disqualification! Make sure we all have the lap count as soon as the swimmython is in the record books!

  3. Oh gentlemen? You might want to click on the ad for "sexy brazilian swim wear". I'm just sayin'...

  4. Great job by all of your Olympians...How proud Justin must feel. A wonderful event and sooooo very important.
    One of my son's and I worked at a special olympian camp one year and it was special for everyone involved. Great post Glory. :)


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