Decatur Special Olympian brings gold to central Illinois


DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) — Molly Duesterhaus has coached dozens, if not hundreds of swimmers over the course of her career.

But none of them are like Brandon Williams.

"He wants to get faster," Duesterhaus said. "He wants to get better."

Williams has autism. But in the pool there are no roadblocks, no naysayers, no limitations — just you and the open water in front of you.

"I thought it was pretty awesome that I got to compete in the USA Games for the first time," Williams said.

Compete might be an understatement. Williams won four medals — three of which were gold — at the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle.

"My mom and dad have really helped me through my swimming years," Williams said.

Duesterhaus has coached Williams for the past two years, putting him through rigorous workouts two to three times a week.

"He's been swimming since he was 11 to go do this — to have the opportunity to swim in the national games," she said.

Williams hopes his example will inspire other swimmers — no matter their skill level — to follow in his footsteps...or maybe his swimming strokes.

"Try to be brave and do your best," Williams said. "That's all that counts."

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