Swimmer, Jaycie Collins, makes history in the water with State Games of Mississippi

Local swimmer, Jaycie Collins became the first Special Olympic swimmer to compete in a State Games of Mississippi event on Saturday.
Published: Jun. 4, 2023 at 6:31 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Local swimmer, Jaycie Collins, became the first Special Olympic swimmer to compete in a State Games of Mississippi event on Saturday.

While being the first to do so can be scary, Collins lives for it.

“I’m aiming for history,” said Collins.

The State Games of Mississippi prides themselves on opening doors to athletics for all people of all ages, on Saturday that showed once again.

“We weren’t sure if they would include somebody that wasn’t like everybody else,” said Joe Collins, Jaycie’s dad.

But they did. With big welcoming arms.

State Games swim commissioner, Wade Heggie said, “I would love to see more people come out here and swim, that’s the whole point. We want to make sure everyone has a chance, an opportunity just to come out here and compete.”

“We’ve learned over life, Down syndrome and special children, adults are not always accepted for who they are or what they can do,” said Joe Collins. “But between Special Olympics and now, State Games, they have absolutely bent over backwards to include Jaycie and make her part of the team. The family as they call themselves.”

Jaycie competed in 6 different events over the weekend and was able to win some gold.

“This is my first year for the state,” said Jaycie. “I just decided to go for it!”

And she did. And it paid off. Now that Jaycie is the first to do it, she hopes others follow in her splash.

“You can try,” said Jaycie. “Do your best. Try your hardest. And you can get 9 gold (medals) like me, you can!”

“To open up a new avenue for her to swim and to connect with new people in the positive way that she does, it’s amazing. The State Games is an unbelievable venue and an unbelievable type of thing that they offer to so many others across the state.”

A ground breaker with the most loving heart. Jaycie is knocking down waves one smile at a time.

“Reach for the stars and go to your Special Olympics or your hometown State Games.”