Special Olympics: Kate’s story


My name is Kate O’Donnell. I’m fifteen years old (nearly sixteen).

On Saturday and Sunday (March 23-24) I will be competing in the Special Olympics Victorian State Games. The Games will be held in Bulleen, in the sporting grounds next to the Veneto Club. I will be in swimming races on both Saturday and Sunday. My favourite swimming events are freestyle and butterfly. I swim so fast that my Mum and Dad think I am a fish.

I compete for the Melbourne Inner Eastern region.

My swimming coach is Tom. He is a great coach and a very happy man. I train every Wednesday night at the swimming pool in Bulleen with my swimming group and go to some Regional Games during the year. The Regional Games are held around Melbourne and also in towns like Ballarat, Barwon, and Echuca.

Last December I represented Victoria in the Special Olympics Junior National Games. I won a silver medal in the 50 metres freestyle, a bronze medal in the 100 metres freestyle, and a gold medal in basketball. It was very cool. My big sister Clare taught me how to play basketball really well. We went to the park and practised goal shooting. Now I am very good at goal shooting. Clare is the best sister I’ve ever had (ed – she’s Kate’s only sister). My other basketball coaches are also really helpful. They taught me a lot about the skills of the game.

After the Games over this week end I will tell you how I went. I hope I can win but if I don’t I will still try my hardest.

My Dad said to say, “Go Cats!”


The Special Olympics caters for people with intellectual disabilities. Not to be confused with the Paralympics, which caters for athletes with physical disability.





  1. Peter Flynn says

    Hello Kate,

    Well done and good luck.

    I hope you can win too.

    Remember there’s no harm in finishing 3rd. Your Dad told me that.

  2. Good luck, Kate. I’m looking forward to hearing how you went. Tell your Dad, Go Cats from Cookie.

  3. Good luck for your races on the weekend, Kate – looking forward to hearing how you go.

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    Well done Kate. Go get ’em.

  5. Well done and good luck, Kate. Please tell your dad, “Go Cats – except against the Dogs!”

  6. Hi Kate,

    it is so good hearing from an athlete before an event. We can hear the excitement in your writing, and we hope you have great fun as you try and win. Please write again and tell us how you go. Go Kate. Tell your father, Go Saints!


  7. Go Kate! Go Cats!

  8. Hey Kate

    Swimming and basketball. Wow, that’s a unusual combination. I reckon you should twist somebody’s arm to get a basketball played in the pool like water polo. That way you’d be a shoe in for gold every time.

    Good luck and look forward to hearing about how you went

  9. Kate

    I hope you go really well and most of all, have a great time.

    Good luck and can’t wait to hear how it all goes


  10. Lord Bogan says

    Thanks for sharing Kate. Shapes up as an exciting weekend. Hope you have lots of fun and look forward to reading a post-games report. Best of luck :)

  11. Kate will be very pumped by everyone’s replies. I can assure you she will read them with the same gusto that she reads the TV guide in Sunday’s paper.

    I might put a raw egg in her milkshake on Saturday morning. It didn’t do Rocky any harm.

  12. Dear Kate,
    It is great to read how much you love your sport. The fun comes first and winning is a nice bonus when it happens.
    The Avenging Eagle (my wife – a very ferocious woman when our team is playing – but nice at other times) and I are coming to Melbourne on the weekend to see Bruce Springsteen play next Tuesday night.
    We are staying in Torquay for a few days on the weekend before the concert. Is that anywhere near Bulleen?
    Tell your Dad I plan to burn the Reg Hickey Stand down as we drive through Geelong (only joking).
    Best wishes,
    Peter and Mary

  13. PB – I think Torquay is closer to Perth than Bulleen.

    Don’t burn down the stand, its only just getting completed I think!

  14. Pamela Sherpa says

    Good luck Kate . Swim like a fish .

  15. Good luck Kate, hope you go well and enjoy competing on the weekend!

  16. lee donovan says

    Good luck Kate. Have fun. Sometimes Kate it takes an article like yours to remind us all what sport is really all about.
    To just compete for the sheer enjoyment of it

  17. Hi Kate,
    I loved reading about your passions and your great family. Love your photo and I really hope you have a fantastic time competing in the Victorian State Games. You must swim extremely fast if your Mum and Dad think you are a fish! Great way to keep fit and healthy. Looking forward to hearing how you go. “Go Kate!” (and Go Saints in 2013 .)

  18. Hey Kate, beware of hooks, especially ones with worms on them. Go Cats. All the best at the meet.

  19. Andrew Fithall says

    Go Kate. Do you swim faster than your father? I think you have met my daughters who are also 15 (nearly 16). We went to the pool a couple of weekends ago and swam some laps. They could both swim further than me and faster than me. One of the daughters has been heard to say Go Cats. The other is much more sensible.

  20. AF – Kate smashes me in the pool, Liam gives me a hiding on the tennis court, and Clare is a FAR better skier than I could ever be. One generation improving on another?

    See you Friday night?

  21. Kate, your a champion athlete and wish you all the best in achieving your very own Personal Best at the upcoming Special Olympics Victoria State Games.
    Well done

  22. Well done Kate. My son is 16 – don’t reckon he could go 50 metres in a boat!
    Enjoy the event.
    Go dogs! (cats can’t swim).

  23. Peter Fuller says

    Best of luck Kate, have a great week-end and enjoy the events. Marathon runners say that there are three groups of winners in an event, first to finish, everyone who finishes and everyone who makes it to the start line (or in your case, the blocks). Go fish!

  24. David Downer says

    Go get ’em, Kate.

    And your Nan would want me to say ..”Go Saints!”

  25. How lucky was I!
    I was at the Special Olympics and saw Kate swim with all her fellow athletes.
    The joy on their faces and what they experienced was amazing.
    My son has been part of Special Olympics for 20 years! It has meant so much to him, and he has successfully competed many times.
    Kate and her relay team wiped them all!
    Well done Kate. I know you will be very successful in all your sporting endevors.

  26. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks Kate for Posting your story and some great comments above
    Having had The Privledge of being there when Charlie a Family friend lit the torch in
    Adelaide to open the Special Olympics was awesome and emotional to say the least
    Special Olympics is the best and most powerful reminder of what sport is really about and what makes it so amazing
    Go Kate Swim Like a Fish

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