Metea hosts the Special Olympics Swim Meet for the fourth year


Jordan Dullnigg

Sophomore Ben Borden Swims the 100m freestyle.

The Mustangs hosted the fourth annual Special Olympics Swim Meet yesterday. At the meet, 89 races took place in the events of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, walking, floating, and assisted races. The swim meet occurred during Metea’s Respect Week, a week to recognize the inclusion of everyone, no matter their differences. The event was run by Special Olympics-Illinois, who brought together the athletes that competed yesterday. 

“We have about 23,000 athletes just in the state of Illinois,” Social Media Manager for Special Olympics-Illinois Bridget Lemaire said. “We compete in over 200 different events every single year whether that be a regional event such as this one or a state event”.

Jordan Dullnigg
Junior Tyler Hing swims the 100 Freestyle.

Swimmers from the surrounding counties came together yesterday for this regional meet in hopes to qualify for the state meet in Bloomington, IL. Metea has one qualifier from the team, Tyler Hing, who finished first in the 50 yard backstroke. Other notable finishes include Ben Borden who finished second in the 100 free, Andrea Vallejo who finished second in the 50 free, Nicole Jurec who finished third in the 25 free, and Tom McCabe who finished fifth in both the 50 back and 50 free.

“I’ve been doing Special Olympics ever since I was a freshman and now I’m a senior,” athlete Tom McCabe said. “I like that everyone can be themselves and be accepted for who they are.”

The athlete’s successes can also be credited towards the support of Metea students. These helpers are members of Special Olympics and other organizations at the school such as Best Buddies and Peer Partners. 

Jordan Dullnigg
Senior Kirsten Dullnigg and Emma Gatz participate in assisted swim.

“I like Special Olympics because every time you come here you can just see the inclusiveness and how everyone respects one another,” senior Mary Claussen said. 

The mutual respect and kindness that radiates from this program are factored in characteristics of a Unified Champion School. The environment of yesterday’s swim meet produced those same surroundings for the athletes, helpers, and spectators. Furthermore, the community bond is what has made this meet so successful for the past four years.