Sligo was the venue for the Category One Aquatics Regional Advancement event for Special Olympics Connaught on November 30th, 2016. 40 swimmers from 12 clubs across the region gathered at the Regional Sports Centre for a competition which gives local athletes a chance to progress and compete at the Special Olympics Ireland Games in 2018.
Clubs from Sligo, Galway, Roscommon and Mayo were selected for the Category One Swimming Event for athletes to take to the water for events such as Kickboard, Walk, Assisted Swim and Unassisted Swim in distances of 10 and 15 metres.
Special Olympics Connaught Regional Director Myra Merrick says: “These Regional Advancement events are a huge part of the Special Olympics four-year cycle. We’re in year two at present building towards the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi in 2019. These regionals would be a bit like a provincial championship so athletes, coaches, supporters and everyone in the clubs are here to give it their all.”
Local volunteers were on hand to assist with the running of the event including 15 students from Sligo Grammar School. Fort Hill College Lisburn also ran a bus of students from Northern Ireland to help out.
Mayor of Sligo Cllr Marie Casserly attended and presented medals to participating athletes. “It’s great to be here and also to see our future leaders play their part. Volunteers are vital to organisations around the country and Special Olympics is no different. The fact that Sligo has won the title European Capital of Volunteering for 2017 is great for the region and great for the country and I’m looking forward to seeing how Special Olympics tie in with their calendar of events next year.
Splashing Penguins Special Olympics Club (Sligo): Helena Cunningham, John Martin Golden, Clare Madden, Mary McGowan, Joan Milmoe, Bernadette Moroney, Geraldine Morrison
Athlone Special Olympics Club: Rian Caulwell, Sean Caulwell, James Delaney, Mia McMahon
Galaxy Special Olympics Club: Patrick Dobson, Thomas Dunne, Marie Kelly, Kieran McNally.
St. Hilda’s Special School (Athlone): Alan Fitzsimon, Mark Flynn, Seanie Ganly, Daniel Smollen.
St. Michael’s Special School (Castlerea): Martina Duffy, Matthew Egan, Orin Eamon Cannon, Zara Quinn, Ella Shaw.
Team South Galway: Timothy Cunningham, Kevin O’Halloran, Stephen O’Halloran
Skylark Centre Athenry: Siobhan Dooley, Ciara Jocelyn Heneghan
St. Joseph’s Special School (Newcastle): Tom Campbell
St. Dymphna’s Special School (Ballina, Mayo): Richard Corcoran, Ben O’Malley
Primrose Hill Day Centre (Mayo): Valentine Hughes, John Paul Prendergast, Michael Ward
St. Peter’s National School: Alfred Awogboro, Brandon Matthew Murray, Fiona Rigney
Ballyhaunis Training Centre: David Donnelly, Padraig Prendergast
Sligo Grammar School Volunteers: Saffron Koopmans, Juno Ellison, Brian West, Grace Burke, Sarah Lindsay, Jack O’Gorman, Thomas Guckian, Bernat Moros, Mikaela Connolly McGowan, Onorian Yeung, James Gimena, Annie Spearman, Nina Ndu Nwogu, William Moore, Matthew Harte.
Fort Hill College Lisburn Volunteers: Shannon Curran, Rebekah Gibney, Emma Jones, Emma Kelly, Chantelle Letson, Neysha McCorry, Chelsea Meechan, Hannah Perry, Robyn Saulters, Lauren Hanna, Rebekah Dunne.