Santa Margarita Catholic High School shared photos with Parenting OC from the school’s eighth annual Special Olympics Swim Meet on Saturday, March 24.
Over 70 athletes with special needs from five Orange County swim teams participated in the Special Olympics event at Santa Margarita Catholic High School, making it the largest Special Olympics swim meet in the school’s history. Participating clubs included the Irvine Eagles, OC Barracudas, OC Dolphins, OC Sharks and the Surf City Swimmers.
Approximately 70 students, including Santa Margarita swimmers from both the boys and girls swim programs, helped put on the event and served as personal coaches for the athletes cheering them on as they competed and offering encouragement.
“I really enjoyed getting to know my buddy,” said SMHS junior Carson Ferrara of Coto de Caza. “Just seeing how he enjoys every race and gets himself pumped up. He didn’t need that much motivation from me. He was just excited to be here. We really bonded.”
Events included the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and relay races as well as a “jog” in the pool’s shallow end. Following the races, an awards ceremony was held where guest athletes were presented with certificates by their assigned Santa Margarita student “buddy.”
Santa Margarita head swim coaches Ron and Rich Blanc said the Santa Margarita students had just as much fun as the visiting athletes.
“We hope this meet gives the participating athletes a chance to showcase their skills in the pool and simply enjoy a fun day of swimming with our SMCHS student leaders,” said Santa Margarita Head Swim Coach Ron Blanc.
By Amanda Coronado, Photos by Steve Wylie Photography