JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With one blow of the whistle their off jumping into a pool. Each hoping to get the fastest time.
"I block everything out just like a football player before a game," said swimmer, Betsy Zahn.
But their coaches will tell you the athletes make their biggest splash outside of the water. "It builds self-esteem. It gives them the opportunity to compete just like other kids," said First Coast Dolphins coach, Eric Miller.
One stroke at a time the swimmers soar down each lap for the Duval County Special Olympics swim meet.
"We have swimmers who have autism, down-syndrome. We have cystic fibrosis. But when they get in the water, they are just like everyone else," said Miller.
These teams spent weeks practicing for the back stroke, long stroke, butterfly and relay. "You have to have your head in the zone and block everything out," said Zahn.
"It's easy," said swimmer, Doug Fry.
"It's good, and the back stroke is the best," said swimmer, Brittany Burguya.
But what these athletes learn in the water will follow them on dry land. "We have a motto that says, let me win and if I can not win let me be brave in the attempt," said Zahn.
"Everybody wins here, there are no losers," said Miller. It's encouragement that will stick with them long after the stop watches are put away.