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Special Olympics Puerto Rico swimmer Jose Cubilette competes in the 2012 Special Olympics World Aquatics Invitiational in Puerto Rico. Photo by Will Schermerhorn.

Special Olympics swimming is popular world wide. Stay up to date with swimming news, events and competition results on this page. You'll find links to coaching resources, too. It's all here.

00x200 Unified Sports Aquatics

Get an overview of the sport of Special Olympics swimming.  View the Aquatics Fact Sheet

Swimming is one of the most popular sports in world. Unlike other sports, swimming is a life skill that is taught, first, to ensure safety and, secondly, for sports and competition purposes. Aquatics covers a great variety of swimming skills, from short sprints to longer events and relays. And the Aquatics coaching guide (below) gives coaches advice and approaches to successfully coach swimmers of all abilities, from strong, fast competitors to swimmers who find it hard to swim at all.

Open Water Swimming
Special Olympics has a growing number of athletes around the world taking part in open water swimming, a sport in which swimmers race in bodies of water such as lakes, rivers and oceans instead of pools.  Read the coaching guide and see stories and upcoming events by visiting the Open Water Swimming page.

Partnership with the Michael Phelps Foundation
Special Olympics has a partnership with the Michael Phelps Foundation and has appointed the international swimming legend as a Special Olympics Global Ambassador. The Michael Phelps Foundation will expand its signature “IM” with Special Olympics that will bring water safety, recreational aquatic activities, and health, wellness and goal-setting instruction to Special Olympic athletes across the world.

Swimming Stories and News

mars 18, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Hellas (Greece)

Living and playing unified in Attica

By Joanna Despotopoulou

Special Olympics Hellas athletes receive certificates of appreciation for their participation in the Mainstream Schools National Games.

There was amazing energy and excitement in Attica 22-23 February 2014 as young people from Athens met up with Special Olympics Hellas athletes in so-called Mainstream Schools National Games in Aquatics.View Story There was amazing energy and excitement in Attica 22-23 February 2014 as young people from Athens met up with Special Olympics Hellas athletes in so-called Mainstream Schools National Games in Aquatics. The Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs included, for the first time, Special Olympics athletes in Mainstream Schools National Games in Aquatics. The result was a celebration of youth activation that gathered youth together so they could all proclaim “Ime Mesa!” (I’m in!). The President of Special Olympics Hellas, Mrs Joanna Despotopoulou, concluded the day’s events by thanking all those involved, saying “When we play and live unified we create a society where everyone is respected and valued, regardless of their abilities.” At the closing, Mrs Despotopoulou was joined by the President of the Hellenic Federation of Aquatics, Mr Diathesopoulos Dimitrios, to present Certificates of Appreciation to all Special Olympics Hellas athletes.

About Joanna Despotopoulou:Joanna Despotopoulou is president of Special Olympics Hellas.
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mars 18, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Spain

Coach Unified Sports

By Manel Celeiro

I have been involved in Special Olympics competitions for years, I’m a football and aquatics coach for athletes with ID. Working with them is a privilege.View Story I have been involved in Special Olympics competitions for years, I’m a football and aquatics coach for athletes with ID. Working with them is a privilege. I can blend my two passions in: sports and being a coach, by guiding, helping and managing to increase my athletes’ habilites. And never forgetting that they are a group of people who are constantly teaching you values, principles and experiences. With them, it’s always about new emotions, feelings and realities. Besides, this year I have gone one step forward and I have trained a Unified Football team: I have trained athletes with and without ID and witnessed the relationships, complicities and mutual help that have been established among them. They support each other, they understand each other and they communicate with each other, which works in favour of the integration of athletes with ID within the group and the society, in an environment of equality. The results of the competition are not that important, but should someone ask, we got a silver medal.

About Manel Celeiro:I have been involved in Special Olympics competitions for years, I’m a football and aquatics coach for athletes with ID. Working with them is a privilege.
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septembre 20, 2012 | North America: Virginia

Quel moment!

By Will Schermerhorn

Rose attend que sa partenaire de relais touche le mur.

J'étais près de la piscine à Puerto Rico, et je prenais des photos tout en regardant les nageurs qui s'efforçaient, et faisaient les courses de natation avec succès, et des fois devenaient excités en montrant leur déception.
View Story Je prenais des photos au bord de la piscine à Porto Rico, et je regardais les nageurs faire de leur mieux, faire la course, réussir, s’enthousiasmer et montrer leur déception. C'était un mélange d'émotions pour les nageurs, mais pas tellement pour moi - j'étais plus occupé par les détails du cadrage, des angles et de l’instant à capturer. Mais quand j'ai vu l’athlète de Virginie Rose Pleskow de Special Olympics Virginia se mettre en place au départ, pour attendre que sa partenaire de relais touche le mur, mes yeux ont commencé à piquer et j'ai senti une vague d'émotion. Sa partenaire de relais était Susan, sa mère. Je me suis dit que seul lors d’un événement de Special Olympics, une mère et sa fille pouvaient faire équipe ensemble à une compétition internationale de natation. Elles étaient dans le feu de l’action, nageant avec courage, en unissant la force de leurs bras, leurs jambes et leurs poumons, et elles faisaient tous ces efforts en tant que co-équipières. Il y a quelque chose de fondamentalement grandiose dans cela. C'est ce qu'on appelle Sports Unifiés, une initiative de Special Olympics qui permet de réunir des personnes avec et sans déficience intellectuelle. Qui d’autre dans le monde peut éprouver autant d’empathie qu’une mère pour sa fille : Rose et Susan forment certainement une équipe naturelle. En tout cas, quel moment !

About Will Schermerhorn:Je suis photographe et directeur du web Special Olympics. Mon fils Mason est un athlète Special Olympics. Mon fils, Mason est athlète Special Olympics.
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Aquatics Events




août 10 - oct. 10 2015

2015 Fall Classic

Come and cheer on our athletes during our Fall Classic Games as they demonstrate their courage and determination for 2 days of aquatics, bocce, golf and softball competition. This event will be held October 8-10 at various locations throughout Bryan-College Station, Texas. Support our athletes and experience sports in its truest form. For more details please use the contact information below.
For more information
Sidny Harker
Email:[email protected]
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Various Locations
Bryan-College Station, Texas

mars 16, 2016

Aquatics Competition

Join us on March 16th at Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina as our athletes compete and show their skill in aquatics competition. Come and cheer on our athletes and witness the power of sports. For more details please use the contact information below. (Inclement weather date is March 18.)
For more information
Paula White
Email:[email protected]
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Limestone College
1115 College Drive

Gaffney, South Carolina

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Aquatics/Swimming Competitions

2014 European Summer Games

Jeux canadiens d'été 2014

The Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, was the largest Canadian Games ever. Athletes competed in aquatics, athletics, basketball, bocce, bowling, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, powerlifting and softball. See results and teams.

2014 USA Games

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games ran June 14-21. See results and stories.

2014 Southern California Summer Invitational Games

Special Olympics athletes from Southern California and from around the world compete in Los Angeles.

2013 Asia Pacific Games

Athletes from 30 Asia Pacific and East Asia regions compete in the inaugural Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games. Get schedules and results.

World Aquatics Invitational 2012

The first Special Olympics World Aquatics Invitational took place in September in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was the most important sports event in the Special Olympics competition calendar during the second half of 2012.

2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games

Athens, Greece, was the home of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. That year, it was the world’s largest sporting event for athletes with intellectual disabilities. See results by athlete, delegation and bib number.

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.

Special Olympics near you»

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.


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