Phillip Norris of Lexington also returns to his role from the 2010 USA National Games as the Team Kentucky aquatics coach. Norris led Team Kentucky to seven medals at those Games, including one Gold. Norris, who coaches the Frankfort Sunfish swim team during the Special Olympics aquatics season, swam collegiately at the University of Florida from 2000-03, earning four All-America honors. He won the Senior Leadership Award in 2003 and several of his times still rank among the Gators’ Top 10 all time, including second in the 100-meter Breaststroke.
| Kathleen Colliver, 26, of Nicholasville has been a Special Olympics athlete for nine years and has also competed in equestrian. While this is the first competition above the state level for Colliver, she swims with the same Jessamine County Sharks Special Olympics program that has sent other swimmers to great success at the National and World Games levels. Katelyn Hale won three medals, including one Gold, at the 2006 National Games and Connor Lutz won a pair of medals at the 2010 Games, including one Gold. Lutz added two Silver Medals at the 2011 World Summer Games in Athens, Greece.
Events: 25-Meter Freestyle, 50-Meter Freestyle, 4×50-Meter Medley Relay
How has Special Olympics changed your life?: It really gives me something to look forward to and helps me swim in really nice pools.
| Vahl Forsythe, 24, of Lexington has been a Special Olympics athlete for 12 years and has been in aquatics for all 12. He also has competed in bowling, soccer and softball. This will also be his first competition above the state level. Forsythe also enjoys boxing.
Events: 100-Meter Butterfly, 100-Meter Freestyle, 4×50-Meter Medley Relay
What are your biggest accomplishments?: I graduated from high school and completed a college course at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
| Reba McDonald, 42, of Winchester. She has been a Special Olympics athlete for eight years and has also competed in basketball, bocce, bowling and softball. This will be her first time competing at the National or World Games level.
Events: 100-Meter Freestyle, 200-Meter Breaststroke, 4×50-Meter Medley Relay
What are your biggest accomplishments?: I am going to practice very hard and listen to the coaches on everything that I need to do for the USA Games.
| Chris Willis, 47, of Owensboro has been a Special Olympics athlete for 25 years and has competed in swimming for 10. He also competes in basketball, bowling and softball. This will be Willis’ second trip to the National Games. He was part of the Owensboro-based team that took the Silver Medal at the 2006 Special Olympics USA National Games in Ames, Iowa. Willis also swam at the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Events: 50-Meter Breaststroke, 50-Meter Freestyle, 4×50-Meter Medley Relay
What are your biggest accomplishments?: Two Gold Medals at the 1999 World Games. Silver Medal at the 2006 Special Olympics USA Games. Named a Kentucky Colonel in 1999. Lit the Olympic Flame at Summer Games.