10 county athletes to compete in state Special Olympics Aquatic challenge

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Ten athletes will represent Indian River County in the Special Olympics State Aquatics Competition this weekend at the North County Regional Park, near Sebastian, joining more than 300 others who come from all over Florida.

This is the fourth year the county has hosted the state competition, which also had the regional competition last month.

“Everything’s going swimmingly,” said Recreation Coordinator Scott Seeley – pun fully intended. Seeley said that the North County Regional Park and Special Olympics has more than 380 volunteers signed up to help on both Saturday and Sunday but they could always use more.

“That speaks volumes” about the community, Seeley said of the volunteer base.

He added that they might need a couple more people to assist in running the timers.

New to the competition this year is the use of a scoreboard – it was just installed this week, according to Seeley. Volunteers and organizers are now being trained on how to use it.

Also different this year is the “Health Athletes Initiative,” which in part will provide health screenings for the athletes during the 2-day competition.

Competition begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with the long course and runs until 3:30 p.m. The day will wrap up with dinner at Sebastian River High School catered by the school’s culinary students and the Opening Ceremonies at 8 p.m.

There will even be a dance for the athletes at the school’s gymnasium.

The Sunday aquatics competition will get started at 8:30 a.m. with the short course. The Special Olympics competition is expected to be finished by 1:30 p.m.

In all, there will be 155 heats raced in the competition.

“It’s absolutely free,” Seeley said, adding that he encourages the community to come out and support not only the county’s 10 athletes but all 330 Special Olympians. “It’s a great event.”

The athletes representing Indian River County are: Gary Simmons, of Grant-Valkaria (in Brevard); Christopher Weems, of Vero Beach; Ann Louise Skalacki, of Vero Beach; Amber Fallo, of Sebastian; Jess Schacht, of Sebastian; Lauren Lafortune, of Sebastian; Erik Byrnes, of Sebastian; Chris Dunphey, of Sebastian; Angel Kennedy, of Sebastian; and Randy Krajewski, who is unfortunately unable to compete but does still represent the county, according to Head Swim Coach Darla Danis.

For more information about the weekend’s competition, visit www.SpecialOlympicsFlorida.org.

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