Crafton Hills College to Host California Classic Para Swim Meet Including Yucaipa Brother/Sister Team

By on October 26, 2019

Yucaipa’s Crafton Hills College (CHC) will again host the two-day California Classic Para Swim Meet for para-athletes in hopes of beating records, improving times, and working to secure a spot in the upcoming Paralympics in Tokyo next year. The California Classic runs from 9 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, October 26, and from 9 to 11 a.m. Sunday, October 27. Although admission is free there is a $5 charge for parking.

The Classic features swimmers with a physical, visual or intellectual impairment from all nations. Unique to this year’s Classic is the brother/sister team from Yucaipa, Austin and Dakota Olive. Austin is a recent 2019 Yucaipa High School (YHS) graduate and current CHC student who is on the Men’s Water Polo team as their Starting Set. He is hoping to be a Radiology Technician. Dakota is a current 9th grader at YHS and swims with the Yucaipa Swim Team. She is also a Senior Girl Scout. Both hope to be in the 2024 Paris Paralympics.

Both Austin and Dakota have Autism, Intellectual Disabilities and Cerebral Palsy.  They are the only ones in the world known to have their combination of genetic conditions — Chromosome 15q13.2-15q13.3 microdeletion syndrome and Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia. Austin’s Cerebral Palsy affects his right side yet he uses his right arm to shoot in Water Polo and he’s made five goals for CHC thus far this year. In spite of his disabilities, Austin graduated from YHS with a 3.0 GPA and is currently taking a full load at CHC.

The annual California Classic found a home in the Yucaipa-based college’s Aquatics Center a few years ago and has since become a favorite of CHC staff, students and faculty.

“It is certainly one of the events I look forward to the most,” said Heather Chittenden, Crafton’s aquatics director. “It’s just a positive event for the campus and the community, and every year we have a good time.”

“It is an honor to continue the tradition of hosting the California Classic Para Swimming Open for 2019,” said Kevin Horan, president of CHC. “This year is extra special as one of our own Roadrunner athletes is participating. To have top para-athletes from all over the country competing on our campus is humbling. We invite the entire Inland Empire community to come out for the event. You will see great competitors and have an opportunity to experience the beauty of Crafton Hills College.”

The Classic comes at a perfect time for Crafton as the inaugural men’s and women’s water polo season winds down. It is also a great event for those looking for a boost of motivation as it is the real-life example of the adage, “Never Give Up.”

“When you see these athletes in the water, you wouldn’t know they have a disability. You wouldn’t ever guess it,” said Chittenden. “It definitely puts things into perspective.”

Crafton Hills College is at 11711 Sand Canyon Road in Yucaipa. The Aquatics Center is at the north-east side of campus just below parking lot J.