The Belfast Area High School pool was filled with more than just water on Tuesday. Smiles, cheering and clapping could be heard from all corners of the facility as around 90 swimmers from 11 teams participated in the Knox and Waldo Regional Special Olympic Swim Meet.

The event was nothing short of a great time.

“What makes it fun are the participants and the swimmers and the smiles that they have, the joy that they get out of winning the ribbons and accomplishing something that is really important to them,” said Karen Gorris-Hicock, the event coordinator.

Schools and organizations involved with people with special needs throughout Knox and Waldo counties were invited to the event and athletes age 9 through 53 participated, according to Gorris-Hicock.

All swimmers from the meet who received a recorded time will qualify to move on to the Maine State Special Olympic Swim Meet  April 14 at Bates College in Lewiston.

The participating teams were Belfast Area High, Medomak Valley High, Camden Hills Regional High, MSAD 3, Edna Drinkwater Elementary, Rockland District High, Maine Vocational and Rehabilitation Association, Thomaston Grammar School, Troy Howard Middle School Excel, Troy Howard Middle School PAWS and the Palermo Panthers/Windsor Wildcats.

The meet had around 30 volunteers from Troy Howard Middle School, Belfast Area High School and the surrounding community.

Gorris-Hicock has been running the annual meet since 1995, when she took over for the previous coordinator. At the time, she was teaching at Troy Howard Middle School and Belfast Area High. Now, “even though I do not teach any more. I have been [coordinating the event] because it is so much fun,” she said.

“The participants get a sense of accomplishment, for one. I think [also] great joy,” Gorris-Hicock said. She continued to say that this gives the participants a degree of athleticism and team involvement they might not have otherwise.

“What they do have here is an opportunity to participate in a team, in a sport and be successful in it,” she said. “Every single participant walks out with a ribbon. Every single one is a winner and I think they gain a lot from that.”

She said that the participants get benefits out of swimming that they wouldn’t from other sports. For one, she said, the action makes them more buoyant and helps them move their muscles.

She also said that swimming is a sport they can practice their whole lives.

“It’s a sport that once they learn how to swim they will ever be successful at; it’s a lifelong sport,” she said. She continued to say that there are not a lot of opportunities for people with special abilities in all sports “but there are always pools around and there are always lakes and there is always the ocean. It’s something that they can participate in lifelong.”

Even though her favorite part of the event is the joy the participants get, for her, seeing the volunteers share that feeling is almost as exciting.

She said the event has volunteers from around the area “and a lot of them, and they are the best cheerers in the crowd.”

She also gave the volunteers a large degree of credit and appreciation for making the day run smoothly. “I can’t do it by myself,” she said. “They make it happen more than I do.”

Girls results from Tuesday’s event were:

15 free — 1, Karin Steinort, PAWS, 1:03.06.

15 free float — 1, Emma Arndt, TGS, 1:17.55; 2, Kelsey Joseph, BAHS 1:24.59; 3, Caroline Duda, TGS, 2:17.22; 4, Myresa Jones, PAWS, 2:18.07.

25 free float — 1, Emily Hall, PAWS, 41.09; 2, Brandy Foster, Mt.V, 45.97; 3, Sarah Bartgo, PAWS, 1:01.75; 4, Erica Paige, EXCEL, 2:09.84.

25 free — 1, Andrea Hopkins, RDHS, 22.31; 2, Samantha Staples, MVRA, 28.97; 3, Tori Harriman, Mt.V, 28.98; 4, Melissa Brunetti, MVHS, 29.42; 5, Gabby Widdecomb, RDHS, 33.06; 6, Holly Piersak, Mt.V, 34.63; 7, Abby Flagg, PAWS, 34.88; 8, Amber Stubbs, BAHS, 37.68; 9, Sierra Williams, ED, 42.40; 10, Crystal Anderson, BAHS, 43.61; 11, Brittany Chaney, MVHS, 47.87; 12, Natasha Williams, ED, 52.97; 13, Barbara Clafin, MVRA, 59.00; 14, Karin Steinort, PAWS, 2:34.69.

50 free — 1, Erin Myrick, RDHS, 50.49; 2, Stephanie Stalter, RDHS, 52.64; 3, Tori Harriman, Mt.V, 1:01.86; 4, Ashley Ellis, RDHS, 1:02.08; 5, Misty Williams, Mt.V, 1:08.16; 6, Krishtiana Morrow, PWS, 1:16.42; 7, Abby Flagg, PAWS, 1:22.10; 8, Holly Piersak, Mt.V, 1:25.69; 9, Amber Stubbs, BAHS, 1:25.69; 10, Sierra Williams, ED, 1:43.10; 11, Crystal Anderson, BAHS, 1:46.57; 12, Natasha Williams, ED, 1:56.08.

100 free — 1, Misty Williams, Mt.V, 2:48.01; 2, Susan Laatz, MVRA, 2:59.60.

25 back — 1, Stephanie Stalter, RDHS, 30.88; 2, Misty Williams, Mt.V, 32.60; 3, Jackie Dudley, MVRA, 33.18; 4, Samantha Staples, MVRA, 34.92; 5, Mary Fargo, EXCEL, 38.19; 6, Britany Chaney, MVHS, 39.26; 7, Sierra Williams, ED, 42.98; 8, Natasha Williams, ED, 48.17; 9, Pam Start, MVRA, 58.11; 10, Crystal Anderson, BAHS, 1:26.78; 11, Barbara Clafin, MVRA, 1:52.23.

50 back — 1, Andrea Hopkins, RDHS, 57.83; 2, Ashley Ellis, RDHS, 1:15.95; 3, Gabby Widdecombe, RDHS, 1:16.34; 4, Jackie Dudley, MVRA, 1:18.74; 5, Adrieanna Stowe, TGS, 1:20.63; 6, Amber Stubbs, BAHS, 1:25.39.

100 back — 1, Susan Laatz, MVRA, 2:48.56.

25 breast — 1, Adrieanna Stowe, TGS, 36.63; 2, Mary Fargo, EXCEL, 1:27.46; 3, Pam Start, MVRA, 40.90.

50 breast — 1, Erin Myrick, 1:27.34; 2, Mary Fargo, EXCEL, 1:27.46.

Boys results from Tuesday’s event were:

15 free — 1, Graham Wiley, CH, 35.96.

15 free float — 1, Kobi Kangas, CH, 31.75; 2, Fidel Mauser, PAWS, 42.06.

25 free float — 1, David Hall, Mt.V, 42.44; 2, Devin Yeaton, Mt.V, 42.65; 3, Bruce Hubbard, Mt.V, 45.71; 4, Robert Gordon, Mt.V, 47.21; 5, Fidel Mauser, PAWS, 47.69; 6, Daigen Pierpont, TGS, 50.70; 7, Ethan MacGregor, PWS, 55.84.

25 free — 1, Asa Myers, RDHS, 27.97; 2, Graham Wiley, CH, 28.30; 3, Andrew Maguire, 28.83; 4, Mark Grass, BAHS, 30.55; 5, Jamie Mountainland, MVHS, 30.61; 6, Jacob Morris, TGS, 30.86; 7, Joseph Littlefield, EXCEL, 33.02; 8, Richard Campbell, MVHS, 35.82; 9, Carlos Mauser, BAHS, 38.16; 10, Mario Montana, Mt.V, 45.30; 11, Andy Tuttle, EXCEL, 49.43; 12, Jarod Lima, MVRA, 50.85; 13, Kyle Bagley, ED, 52.25; 14, Dakota Wildes, ED, 53.38; 15, Kaleb King, ED, 1:04.86; 16, Dustin Bucklin, ED, 1:09.03; 17, Bruce Seekins, BAHS, 2:37.50.

50 free — 1, Josh Cherry, EXCEL, 52.71; 2, Michael Kunn, RDHS, 55.36; 3, Tash McLaughlin, 57.52; 4, Dylan French, PWS, 1:07.72; 5, James Harriman, EXCEL, 1:10.04; 6, Mark Grass, BAHS, 1:13.23; 7, Carlos Mauser, BAHS, 1:33.42; 8, Adam Treannie, PWS, 1:43.62; 9, Dale Haskins, PAWS, 1:51.16; 10, Kyle Bagley, ED, 1:54.31; 11, Kaleb Wing, ED, 2:44.27; 12, Dustin Bucklin, ED, 2:49.54.

25 back — 1, Josh Cherry, EXCEL, 26.10; 2, Ryan Vidal, MVRA, 35.70; 3, Kaleb Wing, ED, 1:09.10; 4, Jacob Morris, TGS, 1:11.64; 5, Dakota Wildes, TGS, 1:18.66.

50 back — 1, Travis Weed, RDHS, 50.02; 2, Asa Myers, RDHS, 1:27.74; 3, Michael Kunn, 1:30.96; 4, Peter Paradis, MVRA, 1:36.15; 5, Andy Tuttle, EXCEL, 2:03.52; 6, Jarod Lima, MVR, 2:53.68.

25 breast — 1, James Harriman, EXCEL, 47.68.

50 breast — 1, Tash McLaughlin, RDHS, 1:19.56; 2, James Harriman, EXCEL, 1:19.63; 3, Josh Cherry, EXCEL, 1:27.68; 4, Joseph Littlefield, EXCEL, 1:27.92.

100 free relay — 1, RDHS “A” (Travis Weed, Ashley Ellis, Stephanie Salter and Erin Myrick), 1:25.79; 2, RDHS “B” (Tash McLaughlin, Gabby Widdecomb, Asa Myers and Michael Kunn), 2:02.64; 3, EXCEL (Mary Fargo, James Harriman, Joseph Littlefield and Josh Cherry), 2:23.24; 4, MVRA “B” (Samantha Staples, Carol Talbot, Tamya Carter and Susan Laatz), 2:34.72; 5, MVRA “A” (Jackie Dudley, Ryan Vidal, Peter Paradis and Jarod Lima), 2:37.26; 6, Mount View (Mario Montana, Holly Piersak, Devin Yeaton and Tori Harriman), 2:46.50.

Click here for photos from the Knox and Waldo Regional Special Olympic Swim Meet.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.