It was a hot but festive day when Special Olympians and local swim club members gathered for the 22nd annual JoAnn Young Special Olympics Swim Meet at Staten Island’s Hillside Swim Club, on Saturday, July 16.
“It was so hot even the spectators wanted to jump in,” said swimmer John Buttermark. “The pool was crowded with swimmers from all over the city. If it was any more crowded, we would be on top of each other’s heads, but we swam in our lane with our goggles.”
Hosted by Special Olympics Staten Island, the event included Special Olympians from On Your Mark, Special Olympics Manhattan, Special Olympics Queens, Special Olympics Hudson County, Special Olympics Bronx and Swim Kidz from Wagner Aquatics.
The Knights of Columbus marched in with the athletes that also included interclub swimmers from host Hillside Swim Club, Village Greens Swim Club, Great Kills Swim Club, and South Shore Swim Club.
Richard Salinardi, executive director of Lifestyles, and Dr. Robert Griswold, vice chair of Lifestyles board, thanked the sponsors and all the groups participating for their support.
The enthusiastic St. Joseph-St. Thomas Cheerleaders encouraged all the swimmers to do their best.
“I medaled in the individual medley – 50 meters of freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breast stroke,” explained Buttermark. “I was kicking my feet like a bullet or a bat ski boat — like batman was inside me, driving me.”
Everyone was proud of the competitors who were awarded medals for their accomplishments. The festivities ended with lunch that included hot dogs, French fries, pretzels and snow cones.
-Greg Perosi with Kathryn Carse.
Photos: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.
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