Q&A with Special Olympic swimmer Marykate Dorrlacombe


Courtesy of Marykate Dorrlacombe

Marykate Dorrlacombe dives into a pool. Dorrlacombe will compete in the Special Olympics in Ames on May 18 and the National Special Olympics in Seattle in July.

Trevor Holbrook

Marykate Dorrlacombe is a Special Olympian who competes in swimming. Dorrlacombe will compete in the Special Olympics in Ames on May 17-19. Dorrlacombe also received the opportunity to compete at the National Special Olympics in July.

Swimming is scheduled to start at 8:15 a.m. on May 18 in Beyer Hall. Dorrlacombe talks about those events and what Special Olympics in general means to her.

Iowa State Daily: Where are you from?

Marykate Dorrlacombe: I originally grew up in Ames, actually.

Daily: Is this your first year participating in the Special Olympics?

Dorrlacombe: No, I’ve been with [the] Special Olympics since 2010 [or] 2011.

Daily: Have you always done swimming?

Dorrlacombe: I’ve done swimming for about eight years, but I’ve done more than swimming, too.

Daily: Why did you pick swimming?

Dorrlacombe: I like swimming, because I’ve always felt like I’m a fish. Swimming just makes me feel free, and I like being in the water.

Q: How have you been training for this year’s Special Olympics?

Dorrlacombe: I’ve been going to practice and walking outside. [I’ve been] going to the gym, as well.

Daily: Who do you practice with?

Dorrlacombe: My friends and I practice with the Dowling [High School] kids.

Daily: What’s your favorite part of the Special Olympics?

Dorrlacombe: Not only competing in it, but just coming and seeing all my friends and getting to socialize with them. Especially the friends that we don’t get to see all the time.

Daily: Have you built a lot of relationships through the Special Olympics?

Dorrlacombe: Yeah, I’ve met a lot of people, because I’ve gone to Nationals Special Olympics, so I’ve met people from all over the United States.

Daily: What event did you compete in at the National Special Olympics?

Dorrlacombe: I went for swimming, and I’m also going for swimming this year in Seattle.

Daily: What’s your goal for this year’s National Special Olympics in Seattle?

Dorrlacombe: My goal is to go out there and do my best, meet new people and have a good time. [I want to] just keep positive and have a good sportsmanship attitude.

Daily: Is that the same goals for the Special Olympics in Ames?

Dorrlacombe: Yeah, I try to always use their motto “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt”.

Q: What other swimmers do you look up to?

Dorrlacombe: One of my favorite famous swimmers in Michael Phelps.

Daily: How has Special Olympics impacted your life?

Dorrlacombe: [It’s] helped me to stay active. It’s helped me to make a lot of new friends, and it’s helped me realize it’s okay to be different, and it’s okay to be me.

Daily: How long do you plan to compete in the Special Olympics?

Dorrlacombe: As long as my body allows me.

Daily: Will you still be involved after that?

Dorrlacombe: Yeah, after that I’ll probably try to volunteer as a coach or as a volunteer.