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Teams Unite to Raise Funds for Special Olympics

Teams Unite to Raise Funds for Special Olympics

Teams Unite to Raise Funds for Special Olympics


Special Olympic swimmers, staff, and club board members gather at Hixon Pool.

Staff Writer

March 2, 2023

Daniel Zhang '26

In front of a packed audience at the Hixon Pool, swimmers from the school and Choate mixed together to race in relays and cheer on each other—a rare sight. On February 18th, before a meet against Choate, the two schools’ Varsity & JV Swimming united for two exhibition relays alongside two athletes from the Connecticut branch of Special Olympics — Will Geanuracos and Steven Emblidge. Special Olympics, established by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968, is a non-profit organization that offers year-round training and events to 5,500,000 participants in 193 countries.  

Geanuracos and Emblidge both swam at the Orlando 2022 Olympics USA Games last June. Geanuracos placed third in the 50-yard freestyle and fourth in the 4x50 relay; Emblidge took home gold in the 50-yard breaststroke and placed fourth in the 4x50 medley relay. Geanuracos has been a Special Olympic athlete for nearly 25 years. He was honored in Orlando with the Spirit of Life Award for exemplifying the spirit, courage, and joy of Special Olympics. Emblidge has been involved with Special Olympics CT and swimming at the national level for over 20 years. He is also a winner of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Award, which is given to an athlete who exemplifies the spirit of Special Olympics. At the meet, students swam the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley exhibition relays with teams of mixed schools and Geanuracos and Emblidge as the anchors. Amelie Zhang ’23, Abby Renger ’23, Julia Cheston ’23, Cristobal Elizondo Junco de la Vega ’23, Gunn Pongsivapai ’24, and Brayden Kavanagh ’25 swam for Hotchkiss. The school has been involved with Special Olympics CT for decades and has raised over $34,000 for Special Olympics CT since this fall’s swimathon. Varsity Swimming Head Coach Keith Moon, a member of the board of Special Olympics CT and faculty advisor to the Special Olympics club, has been involved in Special Olympics for 30 years and worked hard to organize the relay. “The board of Special Olympics CT has a formal dinner in January. At that dinner, we were trying to get [involved with] Yale Basketball by doing a halftime show at their game, and I thought, ‘Why don’t we do that at Hotchkiss? Why don’t we do some kind of exhibition that would allow our athletes, Choate’s athletes, and Special Olympics’ athletes to all participate together in some event?’ So, I wrote to a couple of people at Special Olympics CT, and we were able to organize this event.” Co-Captain Ryan Tse ’23 said, “Typically, before every meet, the team will gather inside the locker room where Mr. Moon will run us through the lineup and give us a pep talk, after which the captains will give a little speech. On Saturday, Will and Steven sat among us in the locker room as integral parts of our team. Watching them get hyped along with us was a really powerful moment for me.” The event was the first time Hotchkiss has had Special Olympics athletes on campus since the start of the pandemic. Mr. Moon hopes the joint relay will become a recurring event. He said, “I think [Choate] was thrilled to be swimming the relay with our kids and the special Olympic swimmers. I don’t see why we wouldn’t do it every year.

Daniel Zhang is a staff writer for The Record.

December 7th

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Editor's Note: This article was recovered from The Record's online archive. There may be stylistic and visual errors that interrupt the reading experience, as well as missing photos. To read this article as it appeared in print, view our print archives.

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Editorials are written by members of The Record's Executive Board. They typically center on issues related to the school or student life on campus.

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