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Athletes shine at Special Olympics

By Ethan Smith

Special to the News-Herald

Area 29 athletes recently competed in the aquatic competition at the Special Olympics Virginia 2016 State Games.

The swim meet was held at the Collegiate School Aquatic Center in South Richmond.

Jorden Jarratt celebrates his gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle event during the Special Olympics Virginia 2016 State Games. He also earned a bronze in the 50-meter backstroke.

Jorden Jarratt celebrates his gold medal in the 100-meter freestyle event during the Special Olympics Virginia 2016 State Games. He also earned a bronze in the 50-meter backstroke.

During the June 10 events:

  • Kavelle Martin took gold in the skills competition events, 25-meter floatation device and 25-meter assisted swim. This is her first year swimming out of the shallow pool.
  • And Michael Norman took gold in the 25-meter freestyle and silver in the 25-meter backstroke.

During the June 11 events:

  • Ethan Smith won the silver in the 50-meter breaststroke, silver in the 50-meter freestyle and gold in the 50-meter backstroke.
  • Jorden Jarratt took home the gold in 100-meter freestyle and bronze in 50-meter backstroke.
  • Ian Wolfe scored a hat trick by winning gold in the 25-meter breaststroke, 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle.
  • Kelsey Byrd took gold in the 100-meter freestyle and 50-meter breaststroke and silver in the 50-meter backstroke.
  • Jesus’ Godinez won the silver in the 25-meter freestyle, gold in the 50-meter freestyle and fourth place in the 50-meter backstroke.

After a much needed rest and food, the athletes joined their friends, family, coaches, volunteers and fellow athletes for the dance at the Robin Center at the University of Richmond.

Ian Wolfe receives one of three gold medals he earned in the pool at the Special Olympics Virginia 2016 State Games. His events included the 25-meter breaststroke, 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle.

Ian Wolfe receives one of three gold medals he earned in the pool at the Special Olympics Virginia 2016 State Games. His events included the 25-meter breaststroke, 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle.

On Sunday, the athletes said their goodbyes until next year and reflected on the 2016 Special Olympic State Games. When the athletes were asked what they liked best about the state games, they answered as follows:

Kavelle Martin: “I’m so excited to have been able to swim my very first event in the big pool.”

Ethan Smith: “I liked competing and then going to the dance!”

Ian Wolfe: “I loved spending time with my friends and meeting new friends.”

Jorden Jarrett: “I liked spending time with my friends at the hotel and the dance. In addition, I’m really proud to get a gold medal in the freestyle.”

Kelsey Byrd: “I liked coming back and winning the 100-meter freestyle and seeing all the service dogs.”

Jesus’ Godinez: “I liked hanging out with the team and watching the fireworks at opening ceremonies.”

Now the athletes will take a break before starting the fall season and their Area 29 fundraiser fishing tournament in Franklin on July 16.

If you don’t like to fish, come out to Barretts Landing from 1 to 5 p.m., listen to some free music by Louis Waymore and meet some of the Area 29 athletes.

For more information, visit the Three Rivers Bass Tournament Series Facebook page.

Ethan Smith is an Area 29 athlete with the Special Olympics.