Special Olympics Cayman Islands swimmer Andrew Smilley is a great example of the high-caliber endurance swimmers in Special Olympics programs throughout the world. In September 2009, Smilley joined five other Special Olympics athletes in the RCP Tiburon Mile Open Water Swim in San Francisco. Despite cold temperatures and windy conditions, Smilley finished 107th in a field of 800 swimmers, placing third in the 19-29 non-wetsuit age division. His amazing performance earned the recognition of thewaterisopen.com, which awarded Smilley Greatest Open Water Swim of 2009.
In recognition of his accomplishments, Tim Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, noted that, “Far too often, our athletes, athletes with intellectual disabilities, are viewed for what they can’t do. But Andrew Smilley is showing the world what he can do and we congratulate him... His performance in the RCP Tiburon Mile is just one example of how Special Olympics athletes are accomplishing great things.”
At the first-ever Special Olympics open water swimming event this summer, Andrew Smilley was back in the water, accomplishing great things. He earned first place after swimming the 1500-meters in 22 minutes. But he wasn't the only one making a big splash. Team USA swimmer Sam "the Iceman" Silver was there as well. Sam Silver has been involved in Special Olympics for 13 years and helped introduce open water swimming to Special Olympics.