More than 100 swimmers from all over the North Island converged at the Te Awamutu Events Centre for the Special Olympics T1 Swimming Event earlier this month.
The one-day competition took place on Sunday, November 1 and saw 12 clubs attend.
These clubs included Auckland, Counties Manukau, Howick, Papakura, Rotorua, Taupo, Tauranga, Thames Valley, Tamaki, Waikato, Waitakere and Te Awamutu – who had 25 athletes competing.
It was the first swim meet in the upper and Central North Island for 2020, a two-day competition was cancelled earlier in the year due to Covid-19.
"It's great to have swimming back up and running and to have so many clubs involved," says RSC director for Special Olympics New Zealand, David Hibberd.
Te Awamutu Special Olympics head swimming coach Shelley Blair says the Te Awamutu team "had great results".
Collectively the team secured 28 first placings, 20 second placings and 23 third placings.
Team member Ella Yarndley reduced her entry time for the 400m freestyle by 30 seconds and Sarah-Jane Hudson competed in her first individual medley with great confidence says Shelley.
Sarah-Jane completed the medley in two minutes and eight seconds.
Ella and Sarah-Jane are just two examples of swimmers' times being slashed.
Volunteers play a vital role in ensuring the event runs smoothly.
This year about 30 volunteers were on board with the team at LJ Hooker taking on the big task of time keeping.
"The club has been very lucky over the years, we have never had to scramble to find volunteers," says Shelley.
The LJ Hooker team had 11 staff helping out on the day and owner Ken Hagan was presenting the ribbons.
LJ Hooker Te Awamutu is a major sponsor for Te Awamutu Special Olympics and has provided the team with a van to be able to travel as a team to different events.
Army Cadets, athletes' families, supporters of the club and committee members also all help out on the day as well as Special Olympics New Zealand officials.
"I saw the day as a chance for togetherness, laughter, fun and the best you can be – which was shown throughout the day by the athletes, coaches and volunteers," says Shelley.