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Special Olympians show off swimming skills, win awards during annual meet

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — On Friday, Nov. 8, a group of 53 athletes representing nine agencies across Aroostook County competed in the annual Special Olympics swim meet.

The athletes competed and won numerous awards in three categories — freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke — at the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Gentile Hall. They came from agencies such as the Central Aroostook Association and Opportunity Training Center in Presque Isle, Addison Point in Houlton and Northern Maine General in Eagle Lake and Caribou as well as schools in Fort Fairfield and Easton.

Cooper Tibbetts-Love of Fort Fairfield won the Sportsmanship Award.

Meet director Sloan Dionne said that the swimming competitions ranged from 15 to 25 yards. Special Olympics athletes also participate in basketball, soccer, skiing and bowling competitions and activities throughout the year.

“The athletes look forward to this every year,” Dionne said. “It’s a great chance for them to try out another type of sport.”

Law enforcement from the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and game wardens from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife presented athletes with their awards. Students from UMPI, Presque Isle High School and Fort Kent Community High School volunteered their time.

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