2017-09-07 / Front Page

Saginaw athlete heads to national Special Olympics

By Cameron Kerkau

Laura Chubner celebrates winning a gold medal at the Michigan State Summer Games. 
Courtesy Photo Laura Chubner celebrates winning a gold medal at the Michigan State Summer Games. Courtesy Photo Saginaw Athlete Laura Chubner is representing Michigan in swimming in the 2018 Special Olympics USA games in Seattle, Wash. Chubner will participate in the 25 meter course, the 50 meter course and the 100 meter free-style course.

Chubner’s mother, Robin Chubner, is not surprised by her daughter’s success.

“I always knew swimming would be her thing. She’s always been a waterbug,” said the elder Chubner.

Chubner took a gold and two silver medals home from the Michigan State Summer Games held on Central Michigan University’s campus in June of this year. Each gold medal won in the state games earns athletes a spot in the ballot box to decide who will be chosen for the nation games. Out of more than 300, Chubner’s name was chosen to represent Michigan.

“We’ve known athletes in the past that have gone to the national games and it has always been a dream of ours that Laura could go,” said Chubner’s mother.

Chubner has been an athlete in Area 22 of Special Olympics Michigan since she was 11. She was a gymnast for 15 years until she suffered an injury to her knee. Chubner has since undergone surgery for the injury and she has said that swimming is helping to strengthen her knee. She joined the Area 22 swimming team when it formed three years ago.

Formed in 1970, Area 22 serves 1,138 athletes in Saginaw and Shiawassee counties. There is no cost for athletes to participate. Special Olympics throughout Michigan is funded by donations and fundraisers.

A day of training for Chubner consists of warmups, both in and out of the pool, and laps. She trains with Coach Carol VanArsdale.

“Carol’s been involved in the Special Olympics since it started in Saginaw County” said Area 22 Director Joe Bronz.

Chubner will also attend a training camp for athletes heading to the national games on Dec. 9 and 10.

“She’s going because her parents and the athletes and the management team were here to make a dream come true,” said Bronz.

After the national games, athletes will be chosen from the gold medal finalists to represent the USA in the World Summer Games held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in March 2019.

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