NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.–NOW WE HAVE THE SPECIAL OLYMPCS BASKETBALL RETURNING TO WESTMINSTER.
BUT THIS YEAR THEY ARE BRINGING SWIMMING ALONG WITH THEM
WESTMINSTER HOSTS ITS ANNUAL SPECIAL OLYMPICS BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT ON APRIL 6TH.
WHAT ONCE STARTED OUT AS A HIGH SCHOOL PROJECT IS NOW INCREASING ITS POPULARITY EVERY YEAR.
THIS YEAR IT HAS TAKEN A TURN IN A VERY INTERESTING WAY BY ADDING SWIMMING EVENTS
THE HEAD COACH OF LAWRENCE COUNTY JOHN MAIELLI IS ALSO THE COACH THAT RUNS THIS TOURNAMENT.
HE TALKS ABOUT THE CHANGES THAT THE NEW EVENTS CAN BRING FORWARD THIS YEAR.
“It already added about 50 or 60 athletes and coaches and we got more volunteers because of the swim team from the college. “
JOHN SAYS THAT THIS WOULD NOT MESS WITH THE ORGANIZATION OF THE TOURNAMENT.
“We have a lot of people that have volunteered their time to make sure it’s well organized.”
HE SAYS THAT THIS COULD HELP THE TOURNAMENT TO BECOME MORE POPULAR.
“The counties have more options. They can bring more of their athletes to our tournament and not just basketball.”
THE STUDENT-ATHLETE ADVISORY COMMITTEE OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SAAC RUNS THINGS FROM INSIDE THE SCHOOL.
THE PRESIDENT OF SACK SHANA DANIELS TALKS ABOUT THE EXTRA CHALLENGE OF SWIMMING THIS YEAR.
“Prepared by utilizing the Westminster College swimmers here, the coaches, Lawrence County, the swimming coaches, things like that. We’ve fully prepared what we need, what we gotta do. And all that kind of fun stuff.”
SHE TRUSTS THAT THE UNDERCLASSMEN TAKING HER PLACE NEXT YEAR WILL GET THE JOB DONE.
“They all know what their goals are, what their objectives is, to have fun. Just allow these athletes to play the sport that they love to, whether its basketball or swimming. And yeah swimming is gonna change this, but absolutely in the most positive way possible.”
SACK ALSO HAS THE ASSISSTANCE OF THE WESTMINSTER SWIM TEAM TO RUN THE POOL AREA.
HAVING SWIMMING FOR THE FIRST TIME ALSO PUTS PRESSURE ON THE SWIMMING COACHES IN CHARGE.
LAWRENCE COUNTY ASSISSTANT SWIMMING COACH KIM GRAHM KEEPS A POSITIVE MIND SET.
SHE SAYS THIS TOURNAMENT WAS AN AMAZING AND HELPFUL EXPERIENCE FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED.
“It was an awesome opportunity to get more athletes involved and have competition. Normally swimmers do not have competition. They only have practice within their county then they go to CMU for sectionals. So they never can compete with other swimmers. So, it was phenomenal. 4 counties, 41 swimmers and of course the Westminster college students. One of my favorite things of the day is when Westminster college students got in the water with athletes that wanted to do the relay and swam with them. So, seeing the unified come together means the world to me.”
SHE FELT THIS WAS A SUCCESS AND ACCORDING TO OTHER COUNTIES SHE’S NOT ALONE.
THE HEAD COACH OF BEAVER COUNTY DANA TABAY SAYS LAWRENCE DID A GREAT JOB FOR THEIR FIRST TIME.
“This was actually fantastic. Lawrence County this was really great. I just think overall having an opportunity for our special needs is just fantastic. For them to get out and just show case their abilities, not just for swimming but overall talent is just fantastic.”
DANA SAYS SHE WOULD DEFINITELY BRING HER TEAM BACK TO THIS TOURNAMENT IN THE FUTURE.
AT WESTMINSTER COLLEGE I’M TOMAS MAIELLI FOR WCN 24/7.