Final-Leg RunnerLt. James Diana - Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement. Since 1995, Jim…
Diana Behrens (Newark)
Christine Arancio (Ocean View), Austin Archer (Wilmington), Kristen Hanifee (Millsboro), Brian Perry (Frederica)
The Rosen Aquatic and Fitness Center in Orlando is one of the premier natatoriums in the country. And when team Delaware swimmers dive into the pool at the 2022 Special Olympics Games, they’ll be well prepared thanks to a consistent training schedule and the donated use of one of the nicest facilities in Delaware.
“We practice at Sea Colony in Bethany Beach and D fit in Wilmington. We practice every other week as a team,” head coach Diana Behrens explained. “They also practice with their respective area teams each week.”
Chrissy Arancio, Austin Archer, Kristen Hanifee and Brian Perry have been perfecting their strokes since finding out back in late August that they were selected to the team.
“They have been so dedicated to this team throughout the entire preparation,” Behrens proudly said. “They just kept trying to get better each and every day.”
Chrissy, Brian and Kristen will all swim the 50 backstroke, while Austin will compete in the 100 back. Chrissy and Brian will swim the 50 free, Kristen the 100 free, and Austin the 200 free. The four will team up to swim the 4 x 50 relay.
“The team has improved a lot,” Behrens said. “I taught them how to do flip turns and dive at the start. Each one has improved stroke techniques and dropped a lot of time off their initial times. They are very coachable and eager to learn.”
Learning new skills and honing previously mastered techniques is all part of the process to prepare to compete on the biggest stage of their lives. Behrens, who is coaching at the national level for the first time, is excited to watch their hard work pay off.
“I am looking forward to cheering on my athletes and watching them compete to the best of their abilities,” she said. “They have come so far and learned so much. I will be so excited to see them nail the flip turns and hopefully not belly flop on their dives.”
Like all the swimmers competing in Orlando, the ultimate goal for the four Delawareans is to win goal. But Behrens has been sure to stress that’s not what it’s all about.
“My group of athletes are very excited to compete, and I have told them it will be a great experience whether they win or lose,” she said. “The only thing I care about is that they tried their best and had fun in the process. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I just want them to take a moment and enjoy the ride.”
For more information about Team Delaware, click here.