"Take YOUR Mark." Splash! First-time Living Independently Forever (LIFE) Special Olympics athlete swimmer Matt Oremland did just that as he competed in his first Special Olympics Swimming Qualifier at Bridgewater State University. Matt not only swam at the qualifier; but competed in the 50-yard backstroke for the first time.
While a new sport might seem intimidating to some, Matt has never been one to shy away from his fears. Matt has overcome some obstacles in his life. One of Matt's biggest obstacles is that he has a fear of heights; but Matt overcame this obstacle when he took a trip with his family and completed a rope course that was above his comfort level. He was able to face his fear and complete the rope course at the same time. Talk about resilience! Matt is not just an inspiration as an athlete, but at facing his fears as well.
At the swim qualifier, Matt was able to once again try something out of his comfort zone. The crowd, along with Matt's LIFE teammates and coaches, who were fans in the stands cheering him on, led him to taking home the Bronze Medal. This is an amazing accomplishment for Matt - not only swimming for the first time but competing and striving to earn his first medal.
When asked what it means to be a Special Olympics athlete, Matt said, "I get to compete with my friends and other athletes across the state and I love experience."
Outside of Special Olympics Swimming, Matt has competed in Basketball, Soccer, Tennis, and Track and Field for the LIFE Force! Matt has been lucky to have many of the same teammates for the past seven years. Matt is such a special person and great teammate on and off the playing field.