Competing for Team Arkansas at the 2014 Special Olympics U.S.A. Games, Kate Coffman of Bryant captured two Gold medals and a Silver in individual swimming events while adding a bronze for her part in the team’s 4×50 medley relay.
The daughter of Julie and Tony Coffman, Kate is hoping to qualify for the World Games to be held in Los Angeles, Calif., July 24-Aug. 2, 2015.
The U.S.A. Games were held in 10 different venues in New Jersey June 14-20.
Coffman turned in the fastest time in the 100-meter freestyle as well as winning the 100-meter individual medley. She was second only to a swimmer from Hawaii in the 200-meter freestyle.
“I can’t really describe it,” she said of her experience in New Jeresey. “It was awesome. They provided almost everything for us — activities and all that. And the competition was great.”
Kate qualified for Team Arkansas at a camp held earlier this year at John Brown University in Siloam Springs. A similar camp will determine who will qualify for the World Games.
She started swimming when she was 4, joining the Barracudas youth program in Saline County.
“I swam for probably seven years with the Barracudas,” she related. “About two or three years later, I started doing Special Olympics.
It didn’t take long for her to realize that she could make it to Nationals and, perhaps beyond.
“I went there for my first time and I beat their national swimmers,” she explained.
And this year, she made it.
“Her mom goes to every meet,” said Kate’s dad. “She went to New Jersey. I kind of root her on from the sideline.”
Tony’s the former Chief of Police in Bryant and currently works security for Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
“It’s been awesome to see her grow up and turn into the young lady that she has become,” he said of his daughter. “We’re very proud of her in the Coffman’s house. She should be very proud of herself for winning these medals.”
Kate graduated from Bryant High School this spring and plans on attending college at UALR this fall. She said she’s interested in majoring in Advertising Design.
“When she starts college — of course, it’s going to be up to her — but they’ve got a good swim team up there,” noted Tony. “If she decides to do that then we’ll support her as she furthers her career in swimming.”
And no doubt, everyone else in her home town will be pulling for Kate too.