Greenbrier Elementary School's Callie Sullivan didn't have any problem summing up her thoughts on competing in the Georgia Special Olympics Games last weekend at Emory University.
"It was so awesome," the young swimmer said of the scene in Atlanta, where 3,000 athletes and parents convened for two days of competition.
Although she's been working seriously on her strokes for only two years, Callie made quite a splash with her skills.
"I swam very fast," she said of the secret to her success.
The 10-year-old won first-place in her age group in the freestyle event, and took second place in the backstroke in her division. Callie also competed against older athletes and swam to a third-place overall finish in both freestyle and backstroke, securing two bronze medals at the Special Olympics.
"This is the first time we have ever participated in it, and I was expecting her to just compete in her age group," said Callie's mom, Robin.
Callie was recognized for her accomplishments Tuesday at Petersburg Racquet Club in Martinez. She competes for the PRC Crocodiles summer-league team, and prior to the Croc's meet with the Woodside Plantation squad, Callie displayed her bronze medals and soaked in the applause.
That golden moment signified another step for Callie.
Three years ago Callie still wore swimmies - inflatable safety gear - when she entered the pool. But through year-round work with Petersburg coach Megan Eustice, Callie has learned all four strokes - backstroke, freestyle, butterfly and breast stroke.
And last weekend in Atlanta, Callie learned how to win.
"We were just so glad she had made it that far," said Eustice, who cheered Callie on at the Special Olympics. "Sometimes she's afraid of loud noises, but she was excited about this. It didn't bother her at all. She was able to succeed and do what other kids do."
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