The Libertyville Stars held a groundbreaking intrasquad swim meet on Sunday, October 23, featuring the first unified swim relays in the state of Illinois. Two races during the meet (the 100-yard medley relay and the 100-yard freestyle relay) featured six teams made up of both, Special Olympic athletes and non-disabled swimmers. Special Olympics Chairman Tim Shriver is leading what he calls “the Inclusion Revolution,” a global movement to break down barriers and end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We fully support Shriver’s push for unified sports and believe swimming is a perfect sport for unified teams. The Libertyville Stars has celebrated swimmers of all abilities (“dif-abilities” is a term coined by Shriver) since its inception in 2000. The Libertyville Stars is a unique team made up of nearly 30 dedicated peer coaches without disabilities, and 30+ Special Olympic swimmers. But Sunday’s event was the first time that unified races were part of an actual swim meet in Illinois.
Congratulations to our peer coaches and swimmers for being leaders in introducing unified swimming to Illinois! And a special congratulations to Star swimmer Leah, who competed in her very first swim meet! We appreciate and acknowledge our coaches, peer coaches, officials, timers and everyone else who made this event possible.
After the swim meet, many of our families got together and celebrated at a Fall Party at Butler Lake Pavillion in Libertyville.
Unified partners this weekend were Danny (PAC), David (HPAC), Giovanni (MMSC), Julia (PX3), Lauren (MMSC), Sienna (MMSC), Sofia (MMSC), and Will (Rise).