Lampeter-Strasburg Y member Shelly Pierson has competed in Special Olympics aquatics events since 1995, and most recently swam at the Summer Games at Penn State University on June 7. Gold medalists have a shot at advancing to the World Games in Los Angeles in 2015, so Shelly decided that some extra instruction could help her to fine tune her technique and give it her all. A few days before heading to Penn State, Shelly’s mom Anne reached out to the Y for help and our aquatics staff quickly arranged for several sessions of private instruction for Shelly.
Because of her special needs, Shelly is sometimes overwhelmed by new situations and people, so just as important as the coaching she received from Y instructors Joelle and Emily, was how they made her feel comfortable during her lessons. Shelly explains that she “was so happy to see Emily coming to help me,” and felt immediately at ease because the two had met when Shelly took part in the Y’s Project Pounds Away (PPA) program. Her mom Anne also shared how supportive Y personal coach Tina was to Shelly during PPA: “Tina took the time to help her with the pedals before spin class, and while this would be a small thing to some people, it meant a lot to Shelly and made her feel successful.”
Shelly has surely embraced the Y’s focus on healthy living and had a great outcome at the Summer Games, winning bronze medals in the 25 meter breaststroke and relay races, a silver medal in the 25 meter backstroke race, and a gold medal in the 25 meter freestyle race. She also shares the Y’s commitment to volunteerism and giving back. Shelly has gone on mission trips around the world and once, when the funds she raised to support her travel to a Jamaican orphanage far exceed her need, Shelly donated thousands of dollars in support their cause.