Pasco County hosted its first County Games on June 27, which included the Special Olympics Florida's newest official event: stand-up paddle boarding.

  • 3rd year stand-up paddleboarding part of Special Olympics Florida
  • Group of five Pasco athletes competing in event this year
  • Athletes will next compete in Area Games
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A group of five Pasco athletes will be competing this year in the stand-up paddleboarding event. They launched their boards Tuesday morning.

“I don't think about the pain," said athlete Katelynn Miller. "I just keep on going."

“It's fun, like getting in the water, put the leash around your ankle, and grab the paddle and push it that way and push it that way," said athlete Danielle Parise.

This is the third year the sport has been a part of Special Olympics Florida. These athletes began training in June for the 800 yard and 1600 yard competitions. They do laps rounding buoys that function as check points.

Photo: Bay News 9

Athlete Mark Miller has been blind since birth, but it hasn’t stopped him from competing.

“I had to do four laps around, and I tried to pace myself," said Miller. “One thing going on in my mind is, 'Stay on the board  - do not fall,' and as you can see, I fell twice."

Even with a couple slips, Miller actually made his best time.

“I feel fabulous, I don't even have words to describe it," said Miller. "I mean, I’m shocked right now."

After Tuesday’s County Games, the athletes will be headed to the Area Games, where they’ll compete against other nearby counties and hopefully qualify for the State Games.