This past weekend a group of Special Olympians from Richmond Hill competed in the Summer Games at Emory University in Atlanta in which they swam in the 25-meter freestyle event.
Their team name, the Richmond Hill SNAPpers, represents their home town as well as South Bryan County’s Special Needs Athletic Program (SNAP), in which a majority of the athletes participate.
For three of the athletes this was their first time competing in swimming and they began with weekly practices at the Richmond Hill Swim Club in early March. Their practice concentrated on the event start of “ready, set, (mechanical) beep,” swimming the 25 meters, and then touching the wall to stop the clock and record the time to prepare for what they would see in Atlanta.
The athletes swam twice during the Summer Games. The first round established their times and allowed Special Olympics Georgia (SOGA) officials to pair up individuals of equal capabilities as much as possible. The second round was the actual competition in which their hard work paid off. Thomas Schroeder, 14, won a Silver Medal; Jeffrey Keating, 15, a Bronze; Hannah Smith-Sevick, 13, took fourth place; and Joseph Cruz, 25, placed fifth.
If you know someone who would like to participate in SNAP or would like to volunteer, please call Sonia Jackson at (609) 224-3177 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. The group meets on Wednesdays at the South Bryan Recreation Center and is completely dependent on donations.