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HOOD River swimmers, from left, coach Sandra Andrews, coach Jeff Andrews, Delvin Decker, Dawson Beneventi, Michael Hourston, Taylor Meckoll, Joe Cannon, Shad Grimsley and head coach Chris Donnermeyer.

Hood River’s Special Olympics swimmers traveled to Mt. Hood Community College on Oct. 27 to compete in the Special Olympics Oregon Fall Regional Aquatics Games.

Swim teams from Clackamas, Clatsop, Multnomah, Wasco/Sherman, Washington and Yamhill counties and the High Desert competed alongside Hood River in both traditional swim events and developmental events for athletes with less swimming experience or ability.

The team had several standout performances. Dawson Beneventi won gold medals in both the 25-meter Freestyle and 25-meter Backstroke. Taylor Meckoll won gold in the 25-meter butterfly as one of only a handful of female athletes able to perform the difficult stroke. Joe Cannon won gold in the 25-meter Freestyle.

Michael Hourston and first time competitor Shad Grimsley both won gold medals in their respective developmental events. One of the highlights of the day was Delvin Decker’s thrilling come from behind victory in the 100-meter Freestyle, which he won by shaving 15 percent off his previous personal best time.

“Delvin’s inspired 100-meter Freestyle swim capped off the day. I am very proud of all of our athletes,” said head coach Chris Donnermeyer. “Their dedication, hard work and courage are a true and genuine inspiration. The Regional Swim Meet was an incredible experience and I look forward to next season!”

The team put a lot of work into the season, practicing twice a week for two months prior to the meet. The coaches  get tremendous gratification from the effort and heart the athletes put into their swimming. As coach Sandra Andrews put it, “You get out of it so much more than you give.”

Special Olympics sports continue with basketball and skiing/snow shoeing starting in January.

If you are interested in volunteering to help with those teams, please contact the Local Program Coordinators Jim Meckoll and Karen Neitzel at soor.hoodriver@soor.

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