Open Water Swimming
This page draws together open water swimming-related information for all of Special Olympics. The coaching materials and other links will help you get a good sense of how this sport contributes to Special Olympics.
A swimmer in the first Special Olympics open water swimming competition in Greece. See a video about the exciting race.
About Open Water Swimming
Open water swimming is new to Special Olympics. It debuted at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece as a demonstration sport. Open water swimming involves swimming in rivers, lakes, seas or the ocean, where deep water, lack of lane markings, waves, currents, wind and other natural elements test the swimmer.
Into The Water. The start of the first Special Olympics open water swimming competition, July 1, 2011, in Greece. Photo by Diego Azubel
2011 Performance of the Year Award
Special Olympics introduced open water swimming at the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, on 1 July, 2011. That demonstration event has been nominated for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year.
The nomination is for the entire group of 35 Special Olympics open-water swimmers who took part in that demonstration event in the the Aegean Sea. The 1.5 kilometer competition was held at the Schinias Sailing Center in the Bay of Marathon.
The mens winner of the July 1 demonstration event was Andrew Smilley of the Cayman Islands. He won the 2009 Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year for an open-water swim he completed in San Francisco Bay, California.
The Open Water Swimming Coaching Guide
Special Olympics coaching guides are the key source of coaching information for our volunteer coaches worldwide. The guides are written by experts in the sport who understand that people with intellectual disabilities need extra time and attention to master new skills. The guides are helpful to anyone teaching a sport but are especially valuable when coaching Special Olympics athletes.
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Related Coaching Resources
How to Get Involved in Special Olympics
Special Olympics sports training, coaching and competitions go on in more than 170 countries around the world. You can get involved by getting in touch with the closest Special Olympics office.
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Made Possible by The Annenberg Foundation
The Special Olympics movement is profoundly grateful for the support of the Annenberg Foundation which has underwritten the production of the coaches’ guides and resources, supporting our global goals for coaches’ excellence.