Sanders medals in swimming

Special Olympics Calvin
Special Olympics Calvin
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On the relay team are Patrick Hanzlick, left, Trenton Maddux, Shelby Forester and Calvin Sanders. Not pictured: Larry “Wayne” Buckner.

Calvin Sanders, 10, brought home three medals from the Special Olympics Florida State Aquatic Championships.

WINTER GARDEN — Calvin Sanders is an Olympic swim champion, and he doesn’t mind showing off his gold medals. In fact, he’s quite proud of them.

Calvin, 10, and his father, Brian Sanders, of Winter Garden, traveled to Vero Beach earlier this month so Calvin could compete in the Special Olympics Florida State Aquatic Championships. He dominated the competition and brought home three medals: two first-place golds in the 50-meter freestyle and 50-meter backstroke events and a second-place silver in the 200-meter relay.

The relay team that won the silver included Calvin, Patrick Hanzlick, Trenton Maddux, Shelby Forester and Larry “Wayne” Buckner. Karol Young, art teacher at West Orange High School, is the team’s coach.

To get to the state level, Calvin first had to swim in county and Central Florida meets. In June’s county games, he garnered three blue ribbons in his signature events. Two months later, he won big in the area games, qualifying him for the state championship on Oct. 4, at the North County Aquatics Center in Sebastian.

At the state games, he competed in three swimming events and two running events. Calvin, who has Down syndrome, has participated in the Special Olympics since last year, when he started running track. In February, he won two blue ribbons for 25- and 50-meter runs. The next month, at the area games, he again scored big with two blue ribbons for 25- and 50-meter runs.

Sports are nothing new to Calvin. He is a former player of the Pop Warner football program’s Challenger League but had to choose between football and swimming. He did, however, play a recent Saturday football game against Winter Garden’s fire and police departments, and his father, a battalion chief with the Winter Garden Fire Rescue Department, said Calvin had a blast.


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