Kearney teen competes in Special Olympics USA Games
KEARNEY, Neb. —
A local swimmer making a mark for Kearney nationally.
Katie Philpot, 16, started swimming at age nine in the Kearney YMCA pool with the Kearney Special Olympics team.
Now, she's competing at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle, Washington.
It was a passion Katie found at a young age.
She now swims on multiple teams and works her hardest do well in the sport that brought her to Seattle.
"The city is big and there is a lot of people supporting us," said special Olympic swimmer Katie Philpot.
"I think she's doing great and has always done a beautiful job at swimming. Special Olympics has just given her a chance to shine," said Katie's mother Keri Philpot.
Katie was born as a triplet with a developmental disability but she doesn't let it define her.
"She weighed one pound 10 ounces when she was born. She was a pre-mature baby and so she's accomplished quite a lot. She loved getting in the pool just to play and one time we took her to swim practice for the team and hopped right in and swam a 25 meter freestyle across the pool and knew she was ready," said Keri Philpot.
Her swim coach saying she's energetic, outgoing and a great swimmer.
"She's one of those athletes that is so good about helping all of the other athletes. She will help them do flip turns and help them with their starts. She sees something and she will just help them to do better. She cheers everybody on. She is the biggest cheerleader for everybody," said Kearney Special Olympic team coach Tammy Lawter.
And Katie shared her favorite strokes, "Freestyle and butterfly."
At the games, Katie participates in four events: 100m freestyle, 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly which she won gold in on Tuesday.
As well as the relay which she helped team Nebraska also win Tuesday.
"It's just a huge accomplishment for her to show off her talent. I know her personality and stuff that she's probably having the best time of her life. It's amazing for all of us because we have an athlete in central Nebraska that is so good, she made it on this national team," said Lawter.
Katie's last races at nationals will be on July 5.
From there she will find out if she qualifies for world's next year in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.