Marty holding his medals

When Marty Zeamer returned to Lighthouse after competing in the National Special Olympics this June, he walked with a swagger wearing his three medals around his neck; when the Lighthouse staff saw him–we were so proud.

During the week of June 5th -12th, Marty competed in swimming at the Special Olympics USA (SO) games held in Orlando which attracted over 5,000 athletes across 50 states and territories. Representing Pennsylvania for swimming, Marty won a bronze medal in the 50-meter freestyle, placed 7th in the 50-meter backstroke and won a bronze in a relay.

Marty at the SO competition 

This makes him the #3 swimmer in the nation in freestyle for the SO! “I just can’t believe this,” remarked Marty about winning the medal.

When I asked Marty what his favorite part was about competing at this event, he answered without hesitating: “The best part is seeing my parents. My mother reacts when she sees me swim.”

Marty’s mother, Chris Zeamer, admitted, “I’m a crier. Crying my eyeballs off at the race and again, at the ribbon ceremony.”  From that phone conversation with her, it was so evident that his mom and family were proud.

This was Marty’s first time in SO Nationals. But this was not the first time Marty competed at the Special Olympics.

Marty’s career in the Special Olympics spans over 30 years with a variety of sports ranging from soccer, basketball, swimming, and weightlifting.  At a mere eight-years-old, Marty competed in the SO for the first time in soccer. As time went on, Marty realized that he enjoyed individual sports like powerlifting and swimming, which he has been participating in since age 15.  “He had to give up a few sports. It was getting too crazy,” Chris explained.

Since then, Marty has focused on both swimming and especially powerlifting.

Marty dominated in the powerlifting events such the Weight Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift and Combo Metal. “Marty wins a lot of metals in powerlifting (in the Special Olympics). I bet he has over 100 medals in his room,”

As a multi-sport athlete, Marty maintains a busy training schedule throughout the year. In August through November, he trains for powerlifting. From January through June, he focuses his energies on Special Lancaster County Swimming–spending an hour doing laps and also learning technique from coaches. In December and for some of the summer he takes a break.

Even though Marty is technically off in the summer, he works on endurance training— walking three times a week for three miles and biking down the 11-mile Susquehanna River Trail–22 miles down and back.

With that type of year-round intense training, I had to ask Marty – “How has being an athlete changed you?” Marty had four words about what he learned: “Responsible. Work hard. Considerate. Aggressive.”

Outside of sports, Marty enjoys a variety of hobbies. His face lit up when he spoke about taking pictures of beautiful views, powerlines, bodies of water—creeks, lakes, and rivers; Marty lives near the Susquehanna River.  Marty also engages in watching TV, playing with his dog, Ava, and spending time with his cousins. When I asked him what his favorite movies were, he said, “Horror, action, comedy and romance.”

It was Wednesday and Marty was wearing his well-worn orange Dukes of Hazzard tee shirt–as he does every Wednesday. I asked Marty, “Is Dukes of Hazzard your favorite TV show?” “No, I see it on DVD. That’s different than TV,” he informed me (I had to laugh).

The Zeamers

Like his family, Marty enjoys watching football—especially the Miami Dolphins and proudly wears his teal cap as part of his uniform to Lighthouse. When I asked him if his family was athletic like him, he said, “All (his family) are into sports. You know it.”

Marty, a Lighthouse veteran, joined us in 2004 and says his favorite jobs are “corner boards, exercise machines, and fire safety.”  When I asked him his favorite part about Lighthouse: “Coming here to see friends.”

When I asked Chris how Marty had changed by working at Lighthouse, she said, “Almost in every aspect. (He) just enjoys the supervisors. Enjoys co-workers. Just thrives down there.”

We enjoy Marty too!  And we are so proud!


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