Athletes from around New Zealand were at the Livingstone Aquatic Centre as Special Olympics Te Awamutu hosted one of its biggest annual swim meets on Sunday.
The long-standing meet attracted about 120 athletes representing 13 clubs. More than 20 club members competed for Te Awamutu.
Meet organiser and Special Olympics Te Awamutu head swimming coach Shelley Blair was delighted with the day.
In a typical calendar year, Te Awamutu swimmers head to a handful of swimming competitions, and then host their own
meet – as was the case on Sunday.
Special Olympics Te Awamutu also had two newcomers who competed in their first swimming competition – Robert Millow and Amelia Trotman.
“Not only the first time competing, so it’s jumping into the unknown in a way, but it was a pretty big meet too. I’m so proud of them, they did it incredibly well,” Shelley said.
Also competing was Te Awamutu’s Matthew Smith, who won a bronze medal in the 4x25m freestyle relay at the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin earlier this year.
The News was there as Matthew swam in the 100m backstroke on Sunday.
“I’m having lots of fun,” he told The News from the stands in between races.
“Honestly, I’m just so blown away by the sportsmanship that’s displayed – all the athletes are so supportive of each other,” Shelley said.
“And they really gave it their everything as they swam each race.”
Shelley said she received good feedback from athletes and parents.
“The day means so much to them too, so that’s wonderful to see.”