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Deaf Swimming Championship at RIT

By Toby Motyka

Henrietta, N.Y. -- From an outsider's perspective, the Judson Pool at RIT looks like it does any other week.

But come Tuesday, this area will be filled with swimmers from all over the world, all of whom are deaf.

One of those competitors is Scott Farrell

"This is not something I take lightly," Farrell said. "I'm very competitive. I really want to show people I'm just like everybody else. I have the same intensity as everyone else."

Scott and his former RIT teammate Scott Matchett are just two of the 100 competitors expected for the first ever deaf international short course swimming championships this week.

"I think it's really great," said Marcus Titus, a swimmer and 2016 U.S. Olympic hopeful from the University of Arizona. "It's a level playing field, and everyone can know where they stand against each other."

The one big difference you'll see at the races here this week is a color-coded lighting system that will be set up on every starting block to help give the swimmers cues. Yellow tells the swimmers to step up. Blue means take your mark, while green simply means go.

But beyond the start, these swimmers said they don't want or need special treatment.

"Once you're in the pool, it's all about who can finish first," Farrell said "You could have a bad start, you could swim a bad race, but once you get into the water, we're all the same. We watch the person who's gonna get on our marks, there's the light to start us off, but other than that everything's always the same."

But this week, it truly is the same for all 100 competitors from all nine countries.

A chance to see where they stack up against their peers.

 
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