Dozens of enthusiastic athletes brought their best to the YMCA swimming pool in Ocean Springs Friday.
They participated in the Area 12 Special Olympics aquatics competition.
"On your mark, get set, go!".
They are as competitive as any athletes. Their smiles are contagious; their enthusiasm is inspiring. It's an event the spectators seem to enjoy every bit as much as the athletes.
Christine Thompson is a Special Olympics Coach at St. Martin High.
"Oh, it's a blast watching all the athletes and seeing everybody. They're excited. Seeing old friends and when they swim farther than they did before," she said.
There's no lack of heart among these special athletes. They train for months and look forward to showing and sharing their skills in the water.
"I love to swim because I like to see all the others do it. And I've been doing it, I've been doing it for a long time," said Preston Langlinais.
Joseph Faune wore the outfit of a super hero. He's among those who feel right at home in the water.
"I swim like a shark," he said proudly.
"He's our heart. He's our grandson. And he enjoys this very much," said Joseph's grandmother, Shari Fleming.
He's certainly not alone. Smiles and excitement are abundant at this annual competition. From the volunteers who encourage, to the athletes who give their all.
"I think it's wonderful. All the joy in the faces. It's really, really great," said Fleming.
It's a great morning with some dedicated volunteers and inspirational athletes.