April 15, 2014
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh swimming and diving team hosted its tenth annual Special Olympics Meet at Trees Pool earlier this month on April 5. The event is the largest community service project the team participates in throughout the season, and it’s also the longest running Special Olympics swim meet in Pennsylvania.
“This event is run by our student-athletes with the coaches only in advisory positions,” Head Coach Chuck Knoles explained. “It is uplifting to watch our athletes totally engaged with Special Olympians who are less gifted than they are in swimming.”
Seniors Veronica Lee and Nina Lisella were two of the many student-athletes to volunteer their coaching skills to this year’s group of Special Olympians. “It is inspiring to watch others do that sport that I love,” Lee said. “Swimming is a sport that everyone can participate in, and we always look forward to running the meet every year,” Lisella added.
For two members of the men’s team, brothers Jon Lierley and Zach Lierley, the event hits a little closer to home.
“It’s been fun seeing younger kids just enjoying the little things in life.” Jon said. “I have an uncle who is mentally challenged so to have the opportunity to be able to give back to the community means an awful lot to me.”
Even though this year’s meet just concluded, the Pitt Swimming and Diving team is already back to the drawing board and planning next year’s Special Olympics event.
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