Wednesday, February 13

Our Town

The latest Our Town...

Ah, mom! Now?!”

It’s Thursday night at Hickman pool and Jill Cinciripini just wants to get back to the water. She dries off a finger and holds it out for the pinprick. “Ouch,” she says, pushing the crimson drop to the surface.

“OK,” says mom Judy, “you have another half hour.” Jill smiles and walks hurriedly back to her lane. She pushes off for another lap.

Twice a week the 24-year-old comes to Hickman pool to swim with the Columbia Parks and Recreation Adaptive Sports program. Jill knows she has to keep on top of her diabetes, but still, she hates to interrupt her swim time. Shooting her hand high in the air, she’s always the first to volunteer another round of laps.

Cinciripini has been swimming for 10 years and has been competing for Special Olympics teams in Columbia for almost as long. Summer, fall, winter. Bocce ball, bowling, swimming. “She has a different group of friends in each sport,” says Judy. “She likes the social part, but when she gets to those state games she turns on the competitiveness.” Between quality time with friends and winning competitions, Jill’s priorities are clear. “Winning!” she says. “She’s got a shoebox full of medals,” her father, Dale, adds, beaming.

After an exhausting workout of conditioning laps, Jill leaves the water and wraps a bright towel around her floral suit. “It’s cool,” she says of her participation in the swim program. She’s a woman of few words tonight as she explains where her favorite swimming spot is, “The Ocean!” Mom Judy looks surprised. “Why is the ocean your favorite?” she asks. Jill’s eyes light up, her smile broadens wider. “Dolphins!” she exclaims. “One day,” her mom says, “one day, we’ll swim with the dolphins.” Jill nods, her smile still radiant, her eyes alive with the thought of it.

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