On Sundays during the month of September, members of the Fairmont State University men’s and women’s swim teams have spent some quality time in the pool. But they’re not working on their technique or trying to shed time off their personal best.
They’re working as “buddies” for children involved in Corridor Chapter of the Autism Society of West Virginia, each paired with a participant to offer free swim lessons.
“This partnership is a win-win,” said head men’s and women’s swim coach Patrick Snively. “The kids are learning valuable skills in a safe environment and become members of our team. Our swimmers have the opportunity to do what we continually preach -- share their gifts in a meaningful way that impacts others.”
On Sunday, there will be an awards ceremony at the Feaster Center pool to celebrate the achievements of those taking lessons.
“Our buddies gain a lot of confidence and feel a sense of belonging,” Snively said. “Our swimmers are impacted deeply through their involvement and in knowing that they are blessed with an opportunity to compete and study at the collegiate level. There are many, unfortunately that may never have the same opportunities.”
The awards ceremony is treated like the Olympics, where they stand on a podium with their swim buddy and get a medal. The FSU Falcon is also scheduled to be there to cheer on the little swimmers, as Freddie was a crowd favorite last year.