Aurora Special Ducks

Swimming Program Details

Aurora Special Ducks 2019/20 season provides both Competitive
** and Learn-to-Compete** programs.

Wednesday, September 12th 2019, 7:30 pm, at Aurora Public Library in the Magna Room.

Returning athletes are guaranteed their spot only if they register in person on registration night. Limited number of spaces may be available for 2019/20 season. First come first served on registration night with priority to Aurora residents. Others will placed on a waitlist. Contact Head Coach for further details; aurora.head.swimcoach@specialolympicsontario.ca

Season Start Date: Friday, October 18th 2019 at 6:30
Season End Date: Sunday May 10th, 2020

We attend several swim meets throughout the swim season and we hope that swimmers of EVERY level will consider trying it out! It is a wonderful way to build confidence and provide new opportunities!

Location: ALL practices held at Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex (SARC) - 1400 Wellington St E., Aurora

· Practice 1: SARC - Fridays, 6:30pm – 7:30pm (for both Learn-to Compete and Competitive Groups)

· Practice 2: SARC – Sundays, 9:00 - 10:00 am at SARC (for Competitive Group only)

Program Cost:
1 Practice per week- $50.00
2 Practices per week - $75.00 (offered to competitive group only)

**Both Competitive and Learn-to-Compete Programs usually have wait lists, but we MAY be able to add swimmers to our roster, based upon our coaching/staffing numbers. Inquires about assessments or being added to the wait list contact aurora.head.swimcoach@specialolympicsontario.ca

Map to Location:

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Swim Provincial Qualifier - May 26th - Held at Saint Andrews College, Aurora




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Special Dunks Hold Swim-a Thon

April 14th was the 2nd annual Special Ducks Swim-a-thon

20 Special Ducks swam a total of 1060 lengths!! Along with another 4 Special Ducks who manned the Promotions table, over $800 was raised for SOO-Aurora. Congrats to all, and thanks to the many swimmers, organizers, coaches, and parents who were part of this event.

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News Item from The Star June 2018

Swim star Oleksiak helps Special Olympics celebrate milestone anniversary

Midway through a 90-minute training session at the University of Toronto, a group of Special Olympians climbed out of the pool to sing happy birthday to Olympic swimming star Penny Oleksiak, who led Wednesday morning’s practice.

Oleksiak recently moved her training base to Gainesville, Fla., but returned to Toronto for a densely-scheduled week that included events with her main apparel sponsor, Asics, time with family and friends, and her 18th birthday. But the four-time Olympic medalist carved out time for an early-morning clinic with five Special Olympics swimmers from the GTA.

From left to right, Gary Freeman, Nathan Kim, and Victoria McDonald stretch before their workout under the watchful gaze of Olympic medallist Penny Oleksiak. (Carlos Osorio / Toronto Star)

Like Oleksiak, the Special Olympics are celebrating a milestone — this year marks the 50th anniversary of the inaugural competition. For Special Olympics Canada and its athletes, the year culminates with the national Summer Games, which take place July 31 to Aug. 4 in Antigonish, N.S.

And for Oleksiak, the clinic provided a chance to lend her expertise and profile to the Special Olympics’ ongoing efforts to make sport more inclusive.

“If I can do my part to make someone else’s day better, and try to inspire kids, then I know I’m doing what I can with what I’ve been given,” said Oleksiak, who won the 100-metre freestyle in Rio in 2016. “I’m excited to be able to do that.”

The idea of an early-morning swim-clinic pairing was born in April, when Oleksiak was inducted into the Toronto Sports Hall of Honour alongside Special Olympic swimmers Gohulan Rajalingam and Jeffrey Steiman. When Rajalingam met Oleksiak at the induction ceremony he quickly asked if she could train with Special Olympians for a day, and Oleksiak agreed.

The session landed during a busy week for the now-18-year-old swim star.

Earlier this year she moved to Gainesville, joining a training group headlined by controversial U.S. star Ryan Lochte, and aiming to peak for the Pan-Pacific Championships in Tokyo in late August. While in Florida, she’s also completing online courses to earn her high school diploma. Tuesday she helped Asics with a Toronto product launch, Wednesday afternoon she had a practice session scheduled.

That she still committed time to work with Special Olympians made Wednesday’s clinic even more meaningful.

“It’s an opportunity to meet a big-name athlete from their sport, which not everyone gets to do,” said Sharon Bollenbach, CEO of Special Olympics Canada. “(They can) just get together as athletes. There’s no difference. It’s a very inclusive piece of bringing athletes together to celebrate sport and what they do.”

Bollenbach points out that the Special Olympics have included Canadian content since their inception. Burlington’s Dr. Frank Hayden helped organize the first Special Olympics, which took place in Chicago in 1968.

“It was his research on people with intellectual disabilities that really sort of sparked the idea of Special Olympics,” Bollenbach said.

Swim coach Duane Carson accompanied his protégé, freestyle distance swimmer Zoe Barnes, to Wednesday’s session. Carson, who coaches a training group in Newmarket, has spent his entire coaching career working with Special Olympians, and says he’s never considered running a mainstream club.

“The athletes are very inspirational. They keep me grounded,” Carson said. “I’ve grown up within the Special Olympics organization. It’s all that I’ve known. There’s not the egos in Special that there are in generic sport. Everyone’s friendly. They all cheer each other on. They’re very competitive, but they can be very sympathetic to others.”


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Fun day at the Pool
Swim-a-Thon April 2018

Swim-a-thon April 2018

Swim-a-Thorn Part Two

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Anne Ottenbrite Swim Meet - Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, April 2017

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February 2017

Special Ducks at the Michael Conrad swim meet in Toronto

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Pictures from Sunshine Swim Team 2016 Invitational December 2016


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New Item from The Auroran Community Newspaper

Mayor’s Breakfast of Champions Spotlight: Special Olympics Ontario-Aurora

September 28, 2016

Gary Freeman – 3 gold, 1 silver
Mary Haberer – 2 gold, 1 silver
Nathan Kim – 3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
Lloyd Brown, Sport Technical Coordinator of the Special Olympics Ontario - Aurora team, was the coach who guided them through this event, specifically responsible for Gary and Nathan while Mary was in a different session because of her age group. But, he followed her as much as possible.
The athletes all performed wonderfully, bringing home a dozen medals between them. Not only did they win medals, but they also achieved personal bests: 1 for Mary, 3 for Gary and 5 for Nathan!
With these performances, we are hoping that they may qualify for the national games in Halifax in two years. 

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Swimming Athlete of the Year 2016

Gary Freeman
With with Head Coach Nancy Black,
and athlete representative Andrew Blair

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August 17th 2016

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November - Special Ducks Training at Toronto's High Performance Center

Mary and Christopher
Gary, Nathan, Christopher, Heather, Chantal, and Mary
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April 2015 - Swim Team in Training




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May 2014

On Saturday, May 10th, the Special Ducks hosted our first in-house swim meet at the St. Andrew's College pool, in Aurora. It was a great success, thanks to our many volunteer coaches, timers, referees etc. 

We invited swimmers from Newmarket, and had 15 events that included something for every level of swimmer! For some, it was their first swim meet ever, and for others it was a warm up for National Swim Competition.  This summer the Nationals are being held in Vancouver.

Most of the swimmers who attended, though, compete several times a year and just do it for the love of the sport!

A good time was had by all!


A good time was had by all!

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Nicolas Sabbag, Carly Bryden and Eric Smythe of the Aurora Special Ducks Learn to Compete group enjoy their January 24th Friday night swim practice

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Invitational Swim Meet held at St Andrews College February 2013


The Newmarket Crest Club hosted an Invitational Swim Meet at St Andrews College, Aurora this February.  Aurora Special Ducks fielded a team of 9 athletes (Adam, Andrew, Christopher, Jolen, Mary, Rebecca, Katherine, Devin, and Gary).  Our athletes had numerous first place finishes, and many Personal Best times (PBs).  The day also saw new first time challenges for some Ducks who competed in the 100 Meter Individual Medal event (100IM).  Each 25 meters a different swim stroke is performed: first butterfly, switching to backstroke, then breaststroke and finishing with freestyle.  All athletes did really well.  We thank Newmarket Crest Club for hosting the meet was well organized and ran smoothly at a quick pace.

Thanks to our coaches AJ, Andrea and Lloyd and Head Coach Casey Jacob, as well as all the parents who came out to watch and support our athletes!

For more pictures click link here

Lots of Fun at the Swim Meet in Barrie, December 2011