FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Some of the Central Valley's toughest athletes dug for gold in the water Saturday.
The Hoover High School pool filled up with about 150 athletes from five counties competing in the regional Special Olympics meet.
Swimmers came from Fresno, Tulare, Madera, Tuolumne and Stanislaus County to take their places on the podium and to earn spots in the state championships.
But the payoff comes in more than just medals.
"These types of events are so awesome to see, to see the smiles on the athletes' faces, to see them getting their awards, the gold medals, the silvers, the bronze, the team spirit they have," said Michael Preciado. "You know, it does come down to the gold medals and stuff, but the friendships they build and seeing them high five each other from different counties is what makes this truly special."
The meet started with a torch run by athletes from each of the five counties.
The Special Olympics is the beneficiary of a law enforcement torch run coming up next month, and the state summer games is June 21 through June 23 at UC Davis.
Athletes dig for gold in the water at regional Special Olympics swim meet
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