Blaine Fuller will use his countless hours of experience in the pool to his advantage on a national stage in June.
Fuller, 23, a rural Conrad resident and 2010 BCLUW High School graduate, is preparing to swim in the Special Olympics USA Games, which are June 14 through 21 in New Jersey.
Fuller has competed in local and state Special Olympics for years, but this will be the first time he'll swim at the national level.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Blaine Fuller, a 2010 BCLUW High School graduate, will compete in the Special Olympics USA Games in June in New Jersey. He is pictured prior to a training session at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA pool Wednesday.
"It will be a new experience for me and I'll get to meet new friends," Fuller said. "It's going to be fun. I look forward to cheering on my teammates."
Fuller will compete in the pool at Princeton University in four events - 100-yard freestyle, 50-yard freestyle, 4 x 25-yard relay and the 25-yard backstroke.
He recognizes he will be among the elite Special Olympics athletes in the nation.
"I'm going to try my best for first (place)," Fuller said. "If I don't get first, I'm going to be happy as long as I do my best. That's all I care about."
Fuller is training at the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA weekly - both in the pool and in the weight room.
Blaine's mother, Kandy Fisher, said the Blaine has been really excited about the trip.
"I think he'll make new friends and this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him," Fisher said.
Fuller, who serves as a global messenger athlete representative for Special Olympics, will be among 38 athletes from Team Iowa competing in the USA Games.
"Blaine is an outstanding athlete with a positive attitude and will represent Iowa well during the national competition with the best athletes from across the U.S.," said Hal Pittman, president of Special Olympics Iowa.
Fuller qualified for the national event by receiving a gold medal in the statewide games and then was selected from a random drawing of state winners throughout the country.