On Saturday, January 14, 15-year-old Ainsley Baker competed in the Regional Aquatics Invitational in Lebanon, Tennessee with the Nashville Dolphins. Baker was full of excitement during her interview and ready to get in the water, or as she likes to say, “born ready.”
What does Baker enjoy the most about being a part of Special Olympics Tennessee? She said that it means so much to her because it gives her an opportunity to make friends that are just like her. She enjoys going to practices and ensuring that she is prepared for her next swim meet. When Baker prepares for a race, she says she makes sure her goggles and cap are tight, and she is ready to go! Baker’s favorite strokes are backstroke and freestyle and she placed third in freestyle race that morning at the Invitational!
Going to the swimming invitational as an intern I learned a lot about what Special Olympics means to these competitors and families. As I walked into the event, I saw many faces of excitement and teammates cheering each other on until it was time for their race. I saw competitors warming up and preparing to give it their all in the races. Everyone was so excited to be there. Having a chance to interview Baker gave me a better sense of what it means to be a Special Olympics athlete. It gives these athletes a chance to be part of the sports they love, and they work hard to be there. Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for athletes to experience inclusion, but it's a place where they can really showcase their skills and hard work.