A few weeks ago, on November 20th, athletes from the Special Olympics and the Masters teams held a collaborative workshop.
Susan Simmons, the Victoria Special Olympics Swimming Head Coach, had this idea to help her swimmers who were unable to participate in the high-performance training camps. She coaches about 60 swimmers, some of which are children of Masters swimmers. The SO training ends 30 minutes before the Masters’, so with everyone already in the same building at the same time, the activity was a no-brainer for Susan.
Some members of the Victoria Masters swim team are world-class swimmers, and Susan wanted to ask them to help her SO swimmers improve their technique. Her idea was to have four workshops during the season, each one lasting an hour, during which the swimmers would be paired one on one with a Master swimmer to work on whatever they felt they needed to.
While the workshops were great for everyone’s motivation, there was also another surprise for SO swimmers: Sarah McDonald, a world record holder, decided to give them her medals. Every week, Susan gives them as an award to a few of her swimmers who had a great attitude or improved something. As she says herself, “It’s not about who swam the fastest; it’s about having a good attitude and having fun.”
The first activity was a huge success: everybody was very enthusiastic and loved it. Both the SO and Masters learned a lot during the workshop, and while it only lasted an hour, Susan could already see a huge difference with her swimmer afterwards. The next activities will be held in December, January and February, ending just in time for a Special Olympics meet in February. Several Masters have already expressed their interest in being part of the next ones.
Maliah, Jeremy, Andres and Joe proudly showing off their brand new medals