In August of 2011 the partnership between NCAA D-III and Special Olympics was officially launched with the purpose of "enhancing the lives of D-III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes through a mutual learning experience." With that in mind the UMW swimmers have continued to grow their relationship with Area 11 Special Olympic athletes; participating in raising money during the Polar Plunge as well as hosting both a clinic & swim meet for local athletes.
On Sunday April 3rd the UMW swimmers welcomed over 30 athletes to a clinic where they were able to work one-on-one with athletes from Area 11 to work on skills and strokes. At the end of the event all the athletes combined for some crazy relays and lot of cheering. Junior Dylan Gore said of his experience, "Working the clinic was so much fun! It was great not only to teach some swimming, but to make some new friends as well. The resulting smiles are priceless."
On Saturday April 9th Area 11 athletes again returned to Goolrick pool for the first swim meet hosted by UMW Swimming. There were over 50 athletes who participated in events ranging from a 25-yard swim with flotation to the 200-yard backstroke and 800-yard freestyle. UMW swimmers served as timers, stroke & turn judges, starters and official cheer-squad. "There really are no such things as disabilities when it comes to swimming. We had so much fun sharing the love of the sport with everyone on deck today," said sophomore Bailey Stewart and junior Lauren Wood.
Sophomore Kenyon Huber-Wilker spoke on the benefit of running both events in the same week, "It was a pretty cool experience, I really enjoyed working with the kids at the clinic and then seeing them again at the meet. It was amazing to see the progress everyone made during the clinic and their results and smiles at the meet."