Six Prince Rupert Special Olympians returned to Prince Rupert from Smithers a lot more decorated than when they left.
Jesse Ford, Jamie Alexander, Katie Davies, Mike Sambo, Donald Gus and Darryl Robinson obtained 18 top-three ribbons altogether at the recent Special Olympics British Columbia swimming regional qualifier for Region 7.
Gus claimed four third-place ribbons, Davies took a second-place finish, Sambo grabbed three second-place finishes, Ford achieved first-place in two races, Alexander won six first-place ribbons and Robinson took first and third at the race.
“Seven years ago, the [Special Olympics swim] program fell apart and I had seen an ad in the Chamber of Commerce looking for coaches,” said coach Terry Ramin last week.
“Leah [Anderson] and I have been involved in swimming since we were kids, so I thought it was time to return something back … It was good to be up there and the other communities are glad we’re organizing it.”
Ramin and Anderson started the club four months ago, which is as long as some of the members have been swimming at all.
“Jamie swims with the Masters on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays and all the rest of the guys, when they started four months ago, they were all swimming with life jackets on for the first week or two weeks before they got their confidence back, so they’re all doing really well,” Ramin added.
Alexander said he’s been working on a whole host of swim strokes that got him his six first-place ribbons – in 25, 50 and 100 freestyle, the 25 and 50 backstroke and the 100 IM.
“I’ve been pushing harder off the wall, streamlining off the wall and I’ve been kicking harder and turning faster,” said Alexander.
“I like to do the breaststroke [because of the movement] and the butterfly stroke too,” he said, adding his six first-place finishes was quite the surprise for him.
Anderson said that CIBC helped sponsor the athletes’ towels, printing each one’s name on each.
Sambo won second in 25 backstroke, 25 freestyle and 50 back. Ford took first in 25 and 50 back, Robinson won first and third in frontstroke and backstroke and Davies won second in one of her two races – 25 front crawl or backstroke. Gus took third in 25 and 50 back and 25 and 50 free.