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Friday, July 31, 2015
Dedication Behind The Scenes, Out Of The Camera Angle
We counted over 40 officially accredited photographers and media personnel at the 1.5 km open water swim in Long Beach, California at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games - and there may have been even more reporters and videographers conducting interviews and shooting film.
The attention paid to the athletes and competitions has been overwhelmingly - and deservedly - global and comprehensive. We have been to several FINA World Championships before and the media attention on the Special Olympics athletes far outweighs and outnumbers the articles and photos of the world championship athletes.
The intensity - and preparation - of both groups of athletes is nearly beyond comprehension. Daily, these athletes work to realize their dreams. They put in the work on dryland, in the pool, and in the open water.
But what also greatly impresses us is the dedication of the coaches in the Special Olympics who work behind the scenes. Without fanfare, these coaches spend the time, energy and patience to help these Special Olympics athletes not only in their swimming, but in various aspects of their lives.
Coaches like Penny McDowall who coaches athletes in the Cayman Islands. She has dedicated her life to providing much-needed vocational service and community outreach in her community. A teacher at the Lighthouse School on Grand Cayman, she has also selflessly coached Special Olympics athletes for over 20 years.
She was typically remarkable at yesterday's competition in dealing her athlete Andrew Smilley. The defending champion was narrowly defeated in the 1.5 ocean race; he led the race early and then swam shoulder-to-shoulder for the middle part of the race around the rectangular course, but then was passed by the eventual Dutch champion. After winning in the inaugural event in Greece in 2011, Smilley was clearly disappointed and perhaps even upset. But McDowall talked to him and got him to understand that he not only swam the fastest he has ever swum before, but he represented his community and his country with the grace and humility of a true champion.
McDowall has received the Special Olympics' Exemplary Coach Award for her passion, experience and dedication. "There are more than 250,000 Special Olympics coaches around the world. For Penny to win this international award, it is really something we cherish," explained Special Olympics Cayman Islands Board Director Maxine Everson.
McDowall herself is also an incredible individual - passionate, thoughtful and experienced - as she is one of only 40 coaches worldwide to receive the Special Olympics' Exemplary Coach Award.
Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
The Other Shore
The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.
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