The last instalment of Greater Trail athletes competing in the 2017 Special Olympic Summer Games in Kamloops features SOBC-Trail swimmers Alyssa Berdusco and Stuart Hawton.
The Special Olympics BC-Trail swim team is set to make a big splash at the 2017 Special Olympic BC Summer Games.
Greater Trail swimmers Stuart Hawton and Alyssa Berdusco will compete alongside a dozen other Kootenay Zone-1 swimmers at the SOBC Summer Games in Kamloops, July 6-8. The duo, coached by Colin Berdusco, are accomplished in their sport having competed with great success in past regional, provincial, and national games.
“They’re always first, second, or third place swimmers,” said coach Colin. “They love it. They’re competitive of course, just like everybody, they want to win, but I think even if they don’t win, they’re still smiling and laughing over it.”
In the 2013 Summer Games, Alyssa and Stuart won 11 medals between them, while each swimming in six events. But Hawton agrees with his coach, an event like the Games is not all about the hardware.
“I like competing but more getting to see people I haven’t seen in a year or two,” said Hawton. “Just to go and have fun, anything I get for medals and that is just icing on it.”
Hawton specializes in the 100- and 200-metre swims with freestyle and breaststroke his best events, while Alyssa is favoured in the 25-and 50-m. butterfly and backstroke. In a short meet like the Games, the athletes may be required to swim up to eight races per day depending on their results in heats and finals.
Stuart and Alyssa are also involved with the high performance swim program in Trail, and compete in a number of swim meets throughout the year.
“It’s a big family,” said coach Berdusco. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from you might see the other athletes two, three times a year maybe, but it’s always the same reaction – it’s good.”
Close to 100 swimmers from across BC and Yukon will compete in the Kamloops pool, and Alyssa is looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and making new ones.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for me to do those things,” said Alyssa. “I hope that I do well, and I win, but I hope I have a fun time.”
The opening ceremonies go on Thursday evening of July 6, with events scheduled for Friday and Saturday, and the closing ceremonies on July 8, Saturday night.
Over 1,600 athletes will compete in 10 different sports at the Games in Kamloops with the top performers qualifying for the 2018 Special Olympics Summer Games in Antigonish, NS., and ultimately the 2019 Special Olympic World Summer Games in Austria.