Muskrats muster impressive wins
The Muskoka Muskrats brought home many medals at the Special Olympics Swim Meet on Saturday, April 12 at the Bracebridge Sportsplex, where athletes with developmental and physical challenges from Barrie, Orillia, Aurora, Newmarket, York South and Muskoka competed.
“I am proud of all of our athletes, they work hard each week and it is great for them to have the opportunity to compete in such a positive environment and come away with great results,” said Muskrats coach Cathy Jenke. “This would not be possible without the many volunteers it takes to put on an event such as this. Thank you to all who donated their time for our athletes.”
Leanne Hand, swim coordinator of the Muskoka Muskrats, said the team has improved over the last year.
“They have been working very hard and they’re improving. This meet was very successful for our team,” said Hand.
Twelve athletes, ages 12-50, competed for Muskoka. The meet had 16 events and 71 athletes in total.
Hand’s daughter Carissa MacFarlane earned a first finish in the 50-metre freestyle, and second-place finishes in the 25-m backstroke, 25-m freestyle and 50-m backstroke.
“I was very proud of her. Of last year’s provincial qualifier, she’s right on her times,” MacFarlane said.
Muskrat Christopher Strype earned a pair of second-place finishes in the 25-m backstroke and 50-m backstroke events, a third-place finish in the 25-m freestyle and a fourth-place finish in the 50-m freestyle event.
Claire Ann Beatty placed first in both 100-m breaststroke and 100-m freestyle, and second in the 50-m breaststroke and 100-m backstroke. She capped off her performance with a third-place finish in the 50-m freestyle swim.
Hillary Eaton placed first in the 25-m backstroke and 25-m breaststroke, and second in the 50-m freestyle.
Karen Maunder earned three first-place finishes in the 25-m freestyle, 50-m freestyle and 100-m freestyle events, along with two second-place finishes in the 50-m backstroke and 100-m backstroke.
Leanne Ellis placed first in the 25-m backstroke, 50-m backstroke and 50-m freestyle, and also placed second in the 25-m freestyle. Lisa Fenn placed first, second, third and fourth in the 50-m backstroke, 50-m freestyle, 25-m freestyle and 25-m backstroke events respectively.
Melanie Duke finished with a pair of first-place wins in the 25-m flotation race and 25-m freestyle, along with a second-place finish in the 50-m freestyle. Michael Cunliffe also emerged with two first-place finishes in the 25-m freestyle and 50-m backstroke, and also placed second in the 50-m freestyle and third in the 25-m backstroke.
Also emerging from the competition with two first-place wins was Michelle Paterson, who topped the competition in the 25-m freestyle and 50-m freestyle events. She also placed second in the 25-m backstroke and 50-m backstroke swims.
Shannon O’Brien emerged with three first-place finishes in the 25-m breaststroke, 50-m backstroke and 50-m freestyle events, and also with a second-place finish in the 25-m freestyle. Shannon Rodie emerged with four first-place finishes in the 25-m freestyle, 50-m backstroke, 100-m backstroke and 100-m freestyle, along with a third-place finish in the 50-m freestyle.
The team has already travelled to two meets this year. In November, the Muskrats travelled to a meet in Peterborough, and in December they attended a meet in Barrie.
The team swims at the sportsplex every Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. from the end of October until April.
Last April, six of Muskoka’s athletes qualified to compete in the Provincial Kingston Summer Games in 2012. Beatty, Ellis, O’Brien, Rodie and Patrick Rice will compete in the games this year from May 31 to June 3.
Another athlete, Nancy Snider, was registered to go but won’t be able to compete because she broke her collarbone playing floor hockey in the fall.
Special Olympics Ontario also has sports such as bowling, curling, swimming, Nordic skiing, golf, T-ball, softball and floor hockey.
For more information on the Muskoka branch of Special Olympics Ontario, go to muskoka.specialolympicsontario.ca/project-updates. Muskoka is in region six.
-With files from Louis Tam