Bowen’s big swim

Bowen’s big swim

For months, Bowen Ketarkus practiced with the Westside Swim Club Dolphins with one goal in mind: to compete in a home meet and swim from one end of the pool to the other.

But that would be no easy task as 6-year-old Bowen has achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.

“Bowen’s torso is regular, and his arms and legs are shorter than an average-height kid. So learning to swim for him was a little bit different,” said Becky Ketarkus, Bowen’s mom.

Swimming is a big part of the Ketarkus family. Of their 11 children, eight are on the Westside Swim Club team.

“We have kids who are really excited to get in there and beat their time and see if they can win that ribbon, and then we have a little boy who, his whole goal this summer was to just make it from one end of the pool to the other,” Ketarkus said.

At the last home meet of the summer Bowen got his chance.

“He’s jumping in the water and you’re thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve practiced so hard for this. Please just make it, just make it to the other end,’ because that’s all he wanted,” Ketarkus said.

When Bowen completed his swim the spectators all cheered.

He is now setting a goal to compete in three swim meets next year, which would qualify him to participate in the All-City Swim Meet.

This year’s All-City Swim Meet starts on Thursday and runs through Saturday. Nearly 2,000 swimmers are expected to compete. The All-City Swim Meet takes place at the Seminole Pool and Tennis Club in Fitchburg. Admission is free and parking is available in the Seminole pool neighborhood.