The Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, in coordination with Calvin College athletics and the Southwest Region of Special Olympics Michigan, will host a ceremonial relay race to kick-off the 2018 MIAA Swimming and Diving Championships, hosted by Calvin Feb. 21-24.
Special Olympics athletes will compete in a Unified Sports Experience with MIAA swimmers prior to the start of Wednesday evening's Championship races on Feb. 21. The 125-yard freestyle relay will be held at 6:45 p.m., prior to the Championship's start at 7 p.m.
"At the beginning of the 2017-18 academic year, the MIAA made a goal to increase opportunities for MIAA student-athletes to work with Special Olympics," said MIAA Commissioner Penny Allen-Cook. "The opportunity to integrate Special Olympics with our MIAA Championships does just that. Featuring a Unified Sports Experience where both MIAA student-athletes and Special Olympic athletes will compete together at the pinnacle event for swimming and diving will have a lasting impact on everyone involved."
The event is one of two Special Olympics events scheduled to coinside with MIAA Championships during the 2017-18 academic year; a second event will be part of the 2018 MIAA Outdoor Track and Field Championship May 3-4 at Adrian College.
NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) has been partnering with Special Olympics since 2011. The purpose of the partnership is to enhance the lives of Division III student-athletes and Special Olympics athletes through a mutual learning experience; provide a platform for recognition of Special Olympics athletes and Division III student-athletes within their communities; and raise awareness of Special Olympics, its programs and services.