Energetic Crowd Cheers on Special Olympics Swimmers

By Darina Huang ’23
Student Writer, Bearcat Sports Media


Photos By Dasha Post ’23
Student Photographer, Bearcat Sports Media

In their final dual meet of the season against Choate, girls and boys swimming hosted Special Olympics Connecticut athletes Will Geanuracos and Steven Emblidge on Feb. 18. Both swimmers had standout performances at the National Special Olympics Orlando in 2022. Geanuracos took bronze in the 50-yard freestyle and fourth in the 4x50 relay. Emblidge won the 50-yard breaststroke and placed fourth in the 4x50 medley relay.


The event was organized by Rett Zeigler ’24 and boys swimming Head Coach Keith Moon on behalf of the Hotchkiss Special Olympics Club. “We were so happy about today’s event," Moon said. "This is the first time we’d done a Unified Sports event as part of a swim meet. The energy at the pool was fantastic today—every athlete who was involved today (from all three teams) was tremendously excited about the relays. Hotchkiss has been involved with Special Olympics now for decades. Choate was thrilled to be involved and their swimmers plan to do much more with Special Olympics moving forward.”

Students took donations for Special Olympics on the pool deck, and the club has raised over $34,000 this year since the Swimathon in the fall. 


Before the meet began, swimmers from Hotchkiss, Choate, and Special Olympics competed in the 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley exhibition relays. Fans cheered loudly from the crowded stands at Hixon Pool. Geanuracos and Emblidge anchored teams consisting of Hotchkiss swimmers Amelie Zhang ’23, Abby Renger ’23, Julia Cheston ’23, Cristobal Elizondo Junco de la Vega ’23, Gunn Pongsivapai ’24, and Brayden Kavanagh ’25, as well as Choate swimmers.


Both the girls and boys swimming and diving teams went on to beat Choate by significant margins, with the girls winning 102-82 and boys winning 103.5-82.5. The teams look to build on these successes at the Founders League Championships at home next week and NEPSAC Championships at Andover in March. 


Watch the entire meet below with the Special Olympics exhibit beginning at the 16:30 mark. 



Prior to the event, Hotchkiss invited SOCT Athlete and Global Messenger Natasha Cole to speak at an All-School assembly and announce the swim meet featuring Unified Relays with SOCT swimmers.


She was warmly welcomed by the entire student body during the All-School meeting, where she spoke about her experiences with Special Olympics and thanked everyone for all their support.

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