Politics & Media
Jun 04, 2009, 05:29AM

Celebrating Tressie Shavers

The award-winning swimmer will sing the National Anthem for the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics Maryland summer games.

On July 6th, Tressie Shavers will sing the National Anthem for the opening ceremonies of the swimming events at the Special Olympics Maryland summer games held in Towson. After singing, she will ease into the pool and swim two races.

     She has already won two silver medals at the qualifying races at Meadowbrook. On May 1st, she sang the National Anthem at the opening ceremonies for a swim meet in which Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff, and Down Syndrome World Champion swimmer Andy Miyares participated.

     A painter, poet, and ceramics artist whose works adorn a local magnet school, and also a graduate of the Maryland School of the Blind, Tressie is no stranger to challenge. She has dealt with lifelong disabilities, including vision impairment and hyperventilation syndrome, which complicate her health but not her resolve.

     She began training only a year ago at age 41, losing 77 pounds in the process. The cold water of swimming pools used to make her gasp for breath and render her immobile. But after training at the heated therapeutic pool at the League for People with Disabilities, Tressie was able to transition to a competitive pool for races.  “I have to put my face in first”, she says of the cold pool,”so the shock doesn’t stop me. Then I warm up for a few minutes before the race.”

     Her coach, Phil Wetzler says, “Tressie has a heart to fit her figure– big– and a great spirit, and a beautiful voice.” To hear Tressie sing and cheer her team, the Sharks, go to Towson State University’s Burdick Pool at 8:00am Saturday.


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