Swimming Star Shines at State Games

Photo of Robert.

Robert talked about competing in swimming for Special Olympics State-wide swim meet.

For someone like Robert, whose favorite activity is swimming, summer could not get here fast enough. Robert is a multi-medal winner in swimming through Special Olympics and recently competed in the state-wide Special Olympics Summer Games in Springfield, Missouri. He trained and practiced for several months before heading to this year’s games. “I like swimming,” he says with a smile.

Over the years, Robert has participated in other Special Olympics sports, too, such as basketball and softball, but he says he likes swimming the most. When asked how long he’s been competing, Robert replies, “I don’t know. A long time now.”

“Robert is a pretty quiet individual with the exception of his Special Olympics activities,” says Alethea Hansen, site supervisor at Team 3706. “But I think that is what makes his participation and dedication to Special Olympics outstanding because it really brings him out of his shell and you can tell he is in his element.”

When he is not training at the pool, Robert works part-time at Alternative Community Training (ACT) in the Career Services program where he helps recycle obsolete media such as CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes and Blue-Ray discs. Robert is working toward learning the skills for community employment and was recently accepted into the

Photo of Robert receiving his medal from swimming.

Robert receiving a gold medal at the 2014 Special Olympics State Games (photo courtesy of Special Olympics)

Vocational Rehabilitation program through Columbia Career Services. When asked what type of job he would like to have, he says he has not figured it out just yet. “Something fun!” Robert says.

During his free time, Robert enjoys listening to music almost as much as he enjoys swimming. Whether it is shopping for new CDs, discovering new artists or attending a live performance at The Blue Note, music is a large part of what makes Robert happy. He and his roommate share similar musical interests and can often be found hanging out on their back porch singing country songs together—Robert’s favorite genre.

Even though swimming competition is over for a while, Robert is looking forward to attending Wonderland Camp where he is excited about, you guessed it, going swimming!