Local Swimmers Fare Well in Special Olympics Area 6 Meet

Mar 28, 2018

The Special Olympics New Jersey Summer Games are more than two months away, but the New Wave swim team’s nine competitors were in fine form during the recent Area 6 regional meet at the Ocean County YMCA in Toms River. Individually, six of the team’s swimmers swiped top spots in at least one event while several relay squads placed among the top three.

The team, which practices at St. Francis Community Center in Brant Beach, consists of Alyssa Bohner and Matthew Ominski of Manahawkin, Thomas Rears of Long Beach Island, Danielle Pecoraro of Little Egg Harbor, Katherine Hirshkind of Barnegat, John Arneth and Gabriel Shehady of Waretown, and Christina and Danielle Sexton of West Creek.

Danielle Sexton made a big splash in two individual events, capturing the top spots in the 22-29 age division. In the 25-yard backstroke, the 27-year-old clocked a first-place time of 32 seconds. She also registered a winning time of 26 seconds in the 25-yard freestyle. Sister Christina took first in the 25-yard breaststroke with a time of :50.12 and was third in the 25 freestyle.

Meanwhile, the 14-year-old Shehady was impressive in the 50-yard butterfly, racing to a top time of :45.90. He also finished second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of :36.30. Swimming in the 30-and-older division, the 33-year-old Rears grabbed first in the 25-yard butterfly with a time of :34.30 and took second in the 50-yard freestyle in :56.30. Pecoraro, a 34-year-old also swimming in the 30-and-over division, recorded a first-place time of :30.54 in the 25-yard freestyle and swiped second in the 25-yard butterfly in :40.10.

Swimming in the 8-11 division, Arneth clocked a first-place time of :31.70 to win the 25-yard backstroke. The 9-year-old was third in the 25-yard freestyle as well. The 23-year-old Bohner placed third in the 25-yard freestyle, while Ominski, 26, grabbed second in the 25-yard breaststroke and 25-yard freestyle, and Hirshkind, 46, also took second in the 25-yard backstroke and 25-yard freestyle.

As for the relays, the crew of Arneth, Christina Sexton, Ominski and Pecoraro combined for a time of 3:05.72 to finish second in the 4x25-yard medley relay, while Hirshkind, Rears, Shehady and Danielle Sexton teamed up to place second in another medley relay heat with a time of 2:01.96. The team of Pecoraro, Rears, Danielle Sexton and Shehady also combined for a third-place time of 1:45.90 in the 4x25-yard free relay.

“They all tried their best and had wonderful results,” said coach Patricia Rears. “None of this would have been possible without the assistance of Cycle4Awareness and the Long Beach Island and Barnegat Rotary clubs. We thank them for the aid in obtaining pool time, jackets and swim suits, and for their all-around encouragement.”

The Summer Games – during which athletes compete in bocce, gymnastics, softball, tennis, swimming, powerlifting and track and field – are scheduled for June 8-10 on the campus of The College of New Jersey.

David Biggy


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