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August 11, 2014 | North America: New Jersey

My Brown-Eyed Boy and his Quest for Gold

By Maria M. McQuay

Michael admiring his medal he just won!

My son Michael is 18 years old and has been an athlete for Special Olympics New Jersey for the past three years. He currently swims for the Jersey Hammerheads Area 5 Swim Team. When Michael began swimming for Special Olympics, he had decided he wanted to be a part of Team New Jersey at the USA Games. He would practice 4 or 5 days a week. During this time, he learned how to dive and he started to learn to swim other strokes besides freestyle and backstroke. He was focused, which is normally difficult for Michael because he has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some days were difficult but Michael persevered and would always complete his training. All of his hard work paid off and he was selected to be on the Aquatics Team for New Jersey. I can only tell you how excited I was for my special young man. Once he learned he was selected, the training only increased. He wanted to be successful. Well he was He won 2 Gold Medals, 1 Silver Medal and 1 Bronze at the USA Games. We are so proud of Michael.

About Maria M. McQuay: I am a mother of 2 children. One 18 year old who swims for the Special Olympics and my Daughter who is 12 who will be on a Unified Soccer team for the Special Olympics this year. I am also an LTP Coordinator for the Jersey Hammerheads Area 5 Swim Team. My husband Mike is the Head Coach. I guess you can say it is a Family affair. We are all involved with Special Olympics.

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