COVINGTON, Ga. — Cole Goering is ready to make a splash on the grand stage.
The Eastside junior, a member of the Eagles varsity swim team, has been selected as one of two representatives for Georgia at the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Fla.
The swim team held a special ceremony inside Eastside’s media center Tuesday morning to surprise Goering with the announcement. Head swim coach DeAnna O’Brien and Newton County’s Special Olympics Coordinator LaTrelle Cawthon spoke to the packed room about Goering’s numerous athletic achievements before informing him of his selection.
Goering will compete in the Category 2 swimming events for Team Georgia in the Games, which will take place June 5-11, 2022.
“I am super proud of him for overcoming the obstacles and challenges that he has compared to a regular athlete,” Cawthon said. “The achievements that he’s made are outstanding — unbelievable and outstanding. I’m just super proud and ready to start training.”
Goering began his competitive swimming career during the 2018-19 season. As the year progressed, he learned all four strokes and developed a dominant back stroke, which he used to excel his way to the Georgia Summer Games at Emory University and win a gold medal.
The following season, Goering joined Eastside’s boys’ varsity swim team. He competed in seven meets for the Eagles, swimming the 100 back, 100 breast, 100 free and 50 free. He earned 3 points for the team and dropped his individual times on seven occasions throughout the campaign.
COVID-19 canceled the 2020 Special Olympics season before it ever got off the ground. But after jumping back in the pool with Eastside’s varsity squad for the 2020-21 season, Goering showed no sign of slowing down.
Goering once again competed in seven events, this time accumulating 123 points over the course of the season. He bested his personal times at 10 different points in the year. He also discovered a passion for the 500 freestyle — a demanding 20-lap race that swimmers commonly detest — and dropped his time from 9:02.27 to 8:16.94.
“I think what makes Cole stand out as a swimmer that makes the difference is his unwillingness to give up,” O’Brien said. “It does not matter what you set in front of him. It does not matter what obstacles he faces to reach those goals. He’s going to do what he sets his mind to.”
Goering is a relentless competitor. He’s put together his own dryland program, which he does on his own in the mornings before meeting with his team for workouts in the afternoons.
“He has put in the time and committed the time outside of our practice to make him the best swimmer he could possibly be,” O’Brien said. “Cole is a professional, dedicated, amazing athlete.”
Goering’s dedication translated to remarkable numbers in the pool this winter, earning him the Most Improved award for the Eastside boys’ swim team.
“It’s just fantastic. We’re very proud of Cole,” Eastside Athletic Director Phil Davidson said. “He’s worked hard. He’s always been a team player. We just wish him the best. We think he’ll do very well down there.”
More information about the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games can be found online at 2022specialolympicsusagames.org.