Special Olympics Swimathon Celebrates 25th Year


Sea Phongsphetrarat ’23

Last Sunday, 247 swimmers showed up to the Swimathon, setting a new record.

The CT Special Olympics Team swimmers and the school community spent this past Sunday raising money for a charitable cause. The 25th annual Hotchkiss Swimathon took place last Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Students and faculty members raised money from pledges for each lap they swam and by donating directly to the non-profit.
Two hundred and forty-seven swimmers came to last Sunday’s Swimathon, breaking the previous record set two years ago with 235 swimmers. In addition, this year’s event raised over $10,000 for the fourth consecutive year. Last year, the event welcomed 216 swimmers and raised $13,000.
The school’s swim team was at the pool this year from 10 a.m. to noon. Mr. Keith Moon, instructor in English, History, and Russian, said, “Sometimes here at Hotchkiss, we get so focused on ourselves, that we forget that there is this whole world out around us and some really phenomenal, dedicated people.”
Special Olympics is a non-profit organization for adults and children with intellectual disabilities. According to the organization’s website, Special Olympics is dedicated to using “the transformative power of sports to instill confidence, improve health, and inspire a sense of competition.”
Special Olympics, which was founded in 1968, ran into financial difficulty in 1994. Since then, the school has hosted the Swimathon to fundraise for the CT Special Olympics team. Mr. Moon organized the first Swimathon at the school. He said, “The idea is to get as many people to the pool as possible [because] we rely on donations and pledges to try to make some money for [the CT Special Olympics team].”
In honor of the 25th anniversary event, Hotchkiss encouraged local public schools, private schools, and leadership from Special Olympics to assist with set up at Hixon pool. Balloons and banners decorated the gym, and gifts were handed out to the first 250 participants.
The annual Hotchkiss Swimathon honors the resilience of passionate athletes. Mr. Moon said, “These are people who work incredibly hard. [They are] born with intellectual disabilities and have some challenges in their lives that are difficult to overcome. But the willingness and the spirit [with] which they do work to overcome is remarkable.”
All money raised at the Swimathon will go directly to Special Olympics CT to help the team pay for pool rentals and travel expenses for competitions throughout the year. Currently, the event has raised $12,000, a total which will increase as donations continue to come in.