Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Kester Edwards received an ESPY Award in July 2017.

Edwards from Trinidad & Tobago is, deservedly so, one of the driving forces behind adding the sport of open water swimming to the Special Olympics community.

Through his charisma and depth of passion, Edwards has worked tirelessly over the last several years to bring open water swimming to this community.

When people said it cannot be done, Edwards pressed further. When people said it would be dangerous for Special Olympics athletes to do an open water swimming, Edwards contacted more people. When people said it would be irresponsible to allow Special Olympics athletes in the open water, Edwards showed them that competent swimmers existed around the world. When people said that the parents and caregivers for Special Olympics athletes would not allow them in the open water, Edwards found those parents and caregivers who did.

Kester has changed the world for many, for the better, and for the future,” observed Steven Munatones. “One of those athletes who benefitted was Andrew Smilley who has served as an open water swimming ambassador from Europe to the Americas together with his Cayman Islands coach Penny McDowall. Andrew has proven that Special Olympics athletes can safely and courageously venture beyond the shorelines.”

Ultimately, Edwards was able to push the organizers of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games to add open water swimming to the schedule. They followed it up with another 1.5 km event at the 2015 World Summer Games – with no stopping the open water swimming community now.

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