Coaches, volunteers and family members turned out in force Saturday morning at the Solomon Calhoun Center to cheer on members of the “St Johns Splash” during the Special Olympics Florida, St. Johns County Swim Meet.
Coach Chris Strickland told Historic City News that this is the fifth year that the Nicholas Wozniak Foundation, Inc. has sponsored the event and that he was honored to able to participate.
“This swim meet is like the actual Olympics for these local athletes,” Strickland told local reporters. “They all have the heart of a lion.”
Executive Director Anthony Iannone told Historic City News that the Foundation includes people committed to helping those with intellectual disabilities develop physical and intellectual skills that will aid them in their everyday lives.
“Our athletes have been training together for this event since mid-June,” Program Coordinator Jacci Easterling said. “We look forward to advancing to the Area Swim Meet on August 19th at Cecil Aquatics Center located at 13611 Normandy Boulevard in Jacksonville.”
The team has grown this year; twenty swimmers competed in Saturday’s event, Strickland said. It was truly a super performance by our St Johns County special needs folks. Ribbons and medals were awarded in recognition of the day’s best performances. Congratulations to all the athletes.
“Anthony and Jacci are to be commended for their effort,” added Strickland. “They have been doing this for the past 5 years and have made an enormous difference in the lives of so many people.”