WV Special Olympians Train at Mylan Park, Medal in 2022 USA Games in Orlando

MORGANTOWN, WV (September 14, 2022) – Kendra Parsons has been swimming with the Special Olympics for years. Introduced to the water in middle school, “Kendra really took to it,” according to her Mom Julie Parsons. “So, Kendra started training with Coach Kevin Gilson, then a part of the WVU Swim Team’s coaching staff when they were still in the natatorium.”

“And the training paid off,” boasts Kendra’s Dad Mike Parsons, referring to the training that started Fall 2021 at The Aquatic Center with Lindsey Ramsey, Coach & Director of Special Olympics in Mon County and WVU Graduate Assistant and Volunteer Coach Matt Marsh. And proof is in the pudding with Ms. Parsons bringing home a Gold medal in the 50-Meter Freestyle and a Silver in the 25-Meter Back Stroke.

Teammate and fellow Aquatic Center trainee Angela Mick also medaled at the USA Games with a Silver in the 50-Yard Breaststroke. “Angela has been swimming since she was 7 or 8 years old,” according to Mom Liz Mick. “She started with Special Olympics when she was 12,” Liz continued. “Angela just loves the water, she’s like a little fish and will continue her training and long as she enjoys it.” Liz gives credit to the team at The Aquatic Center for providing the space for their athletes to train.

Lindsey Ramsey, Director of Special Olympics WV in Mon County, helped coordinate coaching sessions and as part of her volunteer duties arranges for the training space for all Mon County Special Olympian swimmers, most recently at The Aquatic Center. Mylan Park donated the space for these special athletes to prepare for this year’s USA Games held in Orlando, FL this summer. Lindsey is also the county swim coach for Special Olympics and traveled with the team to Orlando for the USA Games.

The Aquatic Center’s Competition Pool is an Olympic-sized 50-meter pool with a movable bulkhead that can be configured for short- or long-course, holding over 750,000 gallons of water.

Boasting 1,500 spectator seats, 17 – 21 feet of tiled pool deck space, direct access to Multi-Purpose Classrooms and locker rooms, a top-of-the-line Colorado Time scoreboard and timing system, this facility is not only unique to our area but built for training and swim competitions of all sizes and scale.

Coming Sunday, October 16 to The Aquatic Center at Mylan Park is the 2022 State Special Olympics West Virginia swim competitions for special athletes from all 55 counties in WV.

“We are excited to be having the state games for swimming in Morgantown this year and hope to draw a big crowd to cheer on our special competitors,” said Ramsey. “We especially want to get the word out so that more special athletes join the program. Special Olympians can begin as young as 8-years-old and at no cost to the athlete or family.”

Spectators are encouraged to attend and cheer on these Olympians. “It’s really heart-warming, they just enjoy being a part of the game, just to be able to compete,“ Ramsey continued. “It doesn’t matter if they get a ribbon or a medal, these special athletes just want to be there.”

Volunteers are needed to make the state swim games successful, to sign up or for more event details, go to https://sowv.org/become-a-volunteer/. Athletes have until September 21st to register.