Every four years, Israel hosts the Maccabia Games, which are called the “Jewish Olympics”. Jews from about 80 countries come to Israel to compete in 43 sports.
On Sunday 16 July, seven open water swimmers from Special Olympics Israel joined the open water swimming event of the Maccabia. The event took place in the Galilee Sea near Tiberius. In order to keep the swimmers from dehydrating, all swims started very early in the morning even before sun rise. (The water temp was 30 degrees Celsius and the air was a hot 45 degrees!)
There were events of 6 KM, 3 KM and 1500 M. Our athletes swam in the 1500 M event. They were joined by Paralympics swimmers from other countries who competed in the games. The start off point was from the water holding on to a raft.
Our swimmers started coming out of the water, completing the swim, after 30 minutes. The last Special Olympics Israel swimmers came out after 54 minutes.
All of the Special Olympics swimmers felt happy and honored to be part of this big sport event. They felt unified.