Now 22, Adriana is making waves as she prepares to swim on the Costa Rican team at the Special Olympics World Games for the second time. And she'll have her family — including sister Gabriela, who works for
Adriana took up swimming nine years ago after competing on a bowling team for two years and quickly discovered an unrivaled passion for the water. She has competed in Special Olympics Swimming Competitions for the last six years, and boasts an impressive record of first-place wins in the 800- and 1500-meter freestyle competitions. After exceptional performances in two regional meets and two first-place finishes at the Costa Rica Special Olympics National Games last year, Adriana was selected to compete at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, which kicks off later this month in Los Angeles. She will participate in three events, the individual 800-meter and 4x100-meter relay—both aquatic events held at the pool—as well as the 1.5-km open water swim at Long Beach.
Swimming has taken her all over the world, from the Special Olympics Latin America Regional Games to the Central American and Caribbean Games, to meets in Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Cayman Islands. Adriana is no stranger to the global stage. She competed in the Special Olympics World Games in Athens in 2011.
“I love traveling and competing outside the country,” she adds. The only thoughts on her mind for L.A., she says, are to improve her times and win a medal.
A Family Affair
After watching Adriana at a competition in Puerto Rico in 2010, older sister Gabriela, a PIAP (Personnel Integrity Assurance Program) specialist for
“I always say it’s about trying no matter what. You can achieve whatever you want, and that’s what I have learned from these Special Olympics athletes,” she said.
The sisters frequently train together, though Gabriela admits her sister trains harder. Nevertheless, swimming gives them an opportunity to pursue their athletic passions together. “It has brought us closer,” said Gabriela. “We can talk about swimming a lot, and if we go to trainings together, we can spend a lot of time with each other.”
Though Adriana is rarely nervous, Gabriela confesses that she always gets nervous watching her sister swim and is constantly overcome with emotion and excitement by her successes. “I cry and everything, but it’s exciting!” she said.
“We try to be at every competition cheering on not only my sister, but all of the athletes. There are a lot of emotions involved,” said Gabriela, who believes the support of their family has been a critical part of Adriana’s participation in Special Olympics.
After the competition, Adriana looks forward to celebrating with her family, trainer and friends, many of whom she has met through competitions over the years, and toasting to her successes with her favorite beverages— Fanta and
“She is the biggest
Coca-Cola is the founding partner of Special Olympics, the world’s largest sports organization for both adults and children with intellectual disabilities.
“We are very proud to be a part of the Special Olympics Family,” said Gabriela, who has been very engaged with the organization through
Elizabeth Conway is a summer intern at The