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Metchosin athlete has golden finish at Special Olympics Summer Games

Goldstream News Gazette - 8/19/2018

Metchosin athlete Kelsey Simpson made a splash at this year's Special Olympics Canada Summer Games.

Competing at the Games in Nova ScotiaJuly 31 to Aug. 4, the 28-year-old swimmer captured gold in the 100 metre individual medley racing against five other swimmers.

"I felt like I was going to cry, that's how proud I was," said Simpson, who kept busy at the Games, competing in the 100 m breaststroke, 50 m backstroke, and the 100 m freestyle as well. "I learned a lot. I had a great time, it was a great experience to get to know the little town and different time zones."

RELATED: Victoria athletes bring home18 medals from Special Olympics Summer Games

Swimming has been a passion for Simpson for many years, but it's not the only sport she plays. In addition, she plays golf, curling, softball, gymnastics and bowling with Special Olympics B.C. – an organization she's been involved with for more than a decade.

Despite keeping busy year-round with a number of activities, her heart is in the pool.

She qualified for nationals after winning two gold, silver and bronze at provincials last year.

In the weeks leading up to the Summer Games, Simpson practiced with her team, coached by Susan Simmons, at Crystal Pool twice a week. She also swam once a week with her sister at the University of Victoria'sMcKinnon Pool and by herself at the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre.

"It's good to push yourself to get into the water. You feel refreshed while you're doing it," Simpson said.

While the Summer Games marked the end of another successful season for Simpson, next year she hopes to take on an even bigger challenge — competing in swimming (in the 50 m breaststroke, back stroke, free style and the 100 m IM) and bowling, as well as soccer and track and field, two sports she's never played before.

RELATED: Metchosin athlete earns four Special Olympics medals

In all, athletes from the Victoria area brought home 18 medals from the Special Olympics Summer Games, including three gold, 10 silver and five bronze in swimming, softball and rhythmic gymnastics. The Victoria Capitals softball team, led by head coach Nicole Bracewell of Langford, played to a silver medal falling 19-18 to team Nova Scotia.

Kendal Alston, Victoria local co-ordinator for Special Olympics B.C., said when athletes returned to Victoria late last week they received a hero's welcome.

"The crowd went crazy when we welcomed our athletes home from national games on Sunday night. They were all very tired from their competitions and travel, but there was an astounding sense of pride among the group," she said.

"Each athlete worked very hard to ensure that they were ready for the games and it certainly showed."

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