Photo Gallery | Berkshire South Swim-A-Thon
GREAT BARRINGTON — It might have been a late-game touchdown, a buzzer-beating three-pointer, a hole-in-one on a par three.
The way the crowd erupted into applause compared to any such high-intensity sports moment.
Instead, the catalyst was a 23-year-old boy with Down syndrome, Dylan Kubis of Sheffield, pushing himself to do more, to swim faster at the sixth annual Berkshire South Regional Community Center Swim-A-Thon on Saturday.
In the end, Kubis tallied 82 lengths of the 25-yard pool, while everyone witnessing rejoiced in the feat, joining together for a highlight in what was a day full of special moments.
"He did way more than anyone expected," Travis Bailey, community center aquatics manager, said. "The whole room got pretty excited at that point."
The annual fundraiser brings in much-needed cash to fund the center's Adaptive Initiatives — programs to train, assist and entertain young people with special needs. Funds go towards both staff salaries and new equipment.
Saturday's participation of roughly 45 topped or equaled the best of previous years, and all but ensured the center would reach its goal of raising $8,500. USA Swimming, the national governing body of competitive swimming in the United States, sponsors the event and collects five percent of the proceeds.
Participants have two hours to complete as many pool lengths as possible, with the top goal being 200, or close to three miles.
Three people completed the full 200: Staff members Keeley Farnam and Christopher Graham, and community center member Fran Lartigue.
All did so in roughly 90 minutes, which became the new record for completing the milestone.
"Some people choose to donate per length, or a flat amount," Bailey said. "Everyone likes to challenge themselves. We had a little staff rivalry going on."
Online donations continue to roll in, Bailey said, and staff who couldn't get in the pool on Saturday plan to do so later this week, including Bailey and Jenise Lucey, the center's executive director.
"My goal is to complete the full 200," Bailey said. "The donations go a long way in funding a variety of the different needs."