Special Olympic athletes from across the region converged in Cranbrook to take part in the Region One swim meet.
The Kimberley/Cranbrook Special Olympics club hosted nearly 35 athletes and 12 coaches on May 26 as they showed off their fastest swim times and had a fun time while doing it.
“We had swimmers from Invermere, Grand Forks, Castlegar, Creston, Elk Valley, Cranbrook and Trail,” said Penny Coyle, head coach, Kimberley/Cranbrook Special Olympics.
“We had a big swim meet that started at 9 a.m. and finished early. Everyone did really well.”
These meets help athletes collect their personal best times with the possibility of going onto bigger competitions.
“It’s for the athletes to have their competitions, and we usually try to do at least once a year,” said Coyle. “It’s usually done in different locals. However, next year will be a regional meet and will be done here in Cranbrook — we have the larger pool — so we’ll host.”
In Region One, they try to change up where they have their yearly swim meet. Last year it was held in Castleger.
The Kimberley/Cranbrook local has anywhere from eight to 12 swimmers who participate in swimming each year.
“It’s good exercise, it’s good cardio, and gives them good coordination. It also gets them out and they get to be with their friends,” said Coyle.
For a lot of the athletes, this is the only swim meet that they take part in throughout the year. The times they accumulated in their races will be used for next year.
“Most of the coaches will put those times in because it’s the only swim meet that a lot of them do — it’s the only one we do — some of the other clubs go all the way to Kelowna in April,” said Coyle.
“For regionals next year their times will tell if they can go onto to provincials. We are in a four-year cycle, so next year is the regional meet, the following year is provincials and nationals and worlds.”
The Special Olympics World Games were held this year in Abu Dhabi and saw local athlete Erin Thom win silver in golf.
Prior to the swim meet, some of the athletes took part in the region one high-performance camp where they tested out their bodies in various exercises.