Wood County Special Olympians win medals in Charleston

PARKERSBURG – The Wood County Special Olympics swimming team won 18 medals at the annual state Special Olympics championship this weekend in Charleston.

The team, which includes the youngest swimmer among all competitors, won eight gold, two silver and eight bronze during the two-day games.

Emma Clem of Wood County, the youngest competitor in the games, won the events she entered: the 25-yard freestyle; the 25-yard back stroke; and the 50-yard freestyle. She also lowered her time more than any other Wood County swimmer by 2 minutes, 10 seconds.

Ken Saxton was male swimmer with the most time taken off, 49 seconds. He won medals, a gold and two bronze.

Saxton competed in the 100-yard freestyle, the 50-yard backstroke and the 50-yard freestyle.

Sara Archer bettered her time by 1 second and met a personal goal of swimming submerged in a competitive event. She received two bronze medals in freestyle and backstroke events.

Twins Sherri and Staci Pursley, who have been competitively swimming for 15 years, won two gold medals and one silver each. They recently competed in the National Special Olympic Competition.

Staci won the 50-yard breaststroke and Sherri won the 50-yard backstroke.