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Featured in Foothill Magazine

Faith Collins is a Special Olympics athlete for the 2018 USA Games

By: Paige Smith
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Ever since she was little, Faith Collins has set her mind to doing what she wants and going for it, regardless of the challenges. As a part of the Motherlode Swim Team - Nevada, she has been able to practice and build up her skills.

“When Faith was young, she was afraid to swim,” Brenda Bellizzi, Faith’s mother, said. “Dr. Sarah Woerner took Faith to Scottsville Lake and she did very well.”

Faith has been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and high-functioning autism. However, she doesn’t let those stop her from chasing her goals.

Her mother explains that after that experience with Woerner at the lake, Faith started swimming, running and bike riding. Faith is also a part of the Sierra Trail Blazers, doing at least 10 races a year.

Refusing to let a disability get in the way, she pursued a passion and competed in the Donner Olympics Triathlon a few years ago. The triathlon consisted of swimming three-quarters of a mile, a 25-mile bike ride and then running 6.5 miles.

“When she wants to do something — she does it,” Brenda said.

That exact motivation was proven in 2008 when she saved up her money to travel to Omaha, Nebraska, to see Michael Phelps at the 2008 Olympic Swim Trials.

“She was enamored with Michael Phelps, she followed him everywhere,” Brenda said. “She told her friends that he would win the gold medals, they didn’t think it was possible — he won eight that year.” 

She is set to meet with her nationals coach in mid-April to begin training for the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle the first week in July.

Brenda and Woerner will fly out together to watch Faith take part in the incredible opportunity. Faith has three swim strokes she will be competing in: the 25-meter butterfly, the 50-meter back and the 500-meter freestyle.

Faith is currently training with her swim team at Bear River High School until the end of June. She explained that she is looking forward to the experience and being a part the 2018 Special Olympics.