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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

October 09, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Ukraine

First Open Games in Ukraine

By Andriy Porodko​

The first Special Olympics Open Games took place on October 3-5 in Lviv, Ukraine. During 2-days of competition 54 sets of medals were awarded to athletes that competed in swimming, table-tennis, football and floorball.View Story The first Special Olympics Open Games took place on October 3-5 in Lviv, Ukraine. During 2-days of competition 54 sets of medals were awarded to athletes that competed in swimming, table-tennis, football and floorball. 22 delegations from 10 regions of Ukraine took part in the Games including athletes from Poland and Kazakhstan totalling more than 250 athletes and dozens of volunteers. Hosted by Special Olympics Lviv Region the Games were co-organized with the public youth organisation NGO SAMI and supported by the Lviv City & Regional Councils, Lviv Regional State Administration and Lviv State University of Physical Culture, which provided student volunteers. The success of these first Games hosted by Lviv leads the way for next year’s II SO Open Games to be held in May 2015 in West Ukraine.

About Andriy Porodko​:I am with Special Olympics Ukraine.
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October 02, 2014 | North America: Indiana

A Heart of A Champion...

By Kathleen Williams

Hello my name is Katie Williams. I'm 36 years old. I've been involved in Special Olympics 25 years and during the 25 years I've been competing in swimming.View Story Hello my name is Katie Williams. I'm 36 years old. I've been involved in Special Olympics 25 years and during the 25 years I've been competing in swimming.. I've also attended the 2011 World Summer Games. I was the first female at my first World Games to win gold for Team USA in Athens, and I also went to the National Games, and I won the national title in the 100 freestyle in a personal lifetime best. Special Olympics has changed my life. I've accepted to be a champion and I also take losing with pride and with a smile. I've been able to meet Olympic Gold medalist Ryan Lochte and show him my medals as well as his Florida coach Greg Troy. It's been my honor to be part in such a wonderful thing. I'll be helping welcome the 500 athletes to Indianapolis camp for 2015 World Games soon. I'm thrilled and excited and can't be more proud of Special Olympics. It's been my honor being a part of something great. Thank you all...

About Kathleen Williams:My Name is Katie Williams I'm 36 And I'm a Proud World Games Olympic Champion and Proud USA Games National Champion... I've been Involved in Special Olympics 25 years and I can't be More Proud to be apart of it and I Love the Athletes as they're Family to me I Thank the Coaches I've met along the way Who have given me So Much Pride it's been My Honor thank u all :)
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September 20, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

Special Olympics, a love story: Gitte en Dries

By Emilie Bruynbroeck

Among many athletes who are competing at the Special Olympics, we found Gitte Van De Poel and Dries Vangeel.View Story Among many athletes who are competing at the Special Olympics, we found Gitte Van De Poel and Dries Vangeel. These two Belgian athletes have found each other and are together since the 3th of August. They've known each other since primary school. Gitte only lives a few houses away from Dries. “It means a lot for us to be able to participate here together. We support each other through thick and thin,” Dries says. “We brought our cell phones to the Games so we can tell each other about our performances.” Gitte will be participating in the aquatics competition, while Dries will be competing in the badminton competition. In the near future Dries also wants to make the swimming team for the next Special Olympics games. That way he can spend even more time with his girlfriend. Dries puts all his efforts in making Gitte proud of him. He wants to go to the World Summer Games one day. In order to achieve his dream he trains four hours per week.

About Emilie Bruynbroeck:I am a volunteer contributor at the media desk in Antwerp Expo. I study journalism.
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Aquatics Events




Jun 5 - 7 2015

2015 Maryland Summer Games

Join us 5-7 June 2015 at Towson University in Towson, Maryland as our athletes compete in 3 days of exciting summer sports competition. Events will include: Aquatics – traditional individual events and team relays, Unified team relays; Athletics – traditional and Unified track, mini-javelin, high jump, long jump, pentathlon, softball throw, shot put, standing long jump, tennis ball throw; Bocce – singles, doubles, Unified doubles; Cheerleading – traditional and Unified team competition; Softball – traditional team competition, Unified team competition, individual skills competition. For schedule details please refer to the link, below.
For more information
Schedule Details
Mike Czarnowsky
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Towson University
8000 York Ave

Towson, Maryland

Jun 12 - 14 2015

Illinois Summer Games

Summer Games is Special Olympics Illinois premiere sports competition with more than 4,000 athletes and Unified Partners competing in 6 different sports, along with 1,600 coaches, 2,500 volunteers and 3,300 family members. That totals more than 11,400 people who attend Summer Games! The Summer Games are held at Illinois State University in Normal and the Illinois Wesleyan University campus in Bloomington. A variety of activities are provided for the participants in addition to the sports competitions. Competition will be offered in athletics, aquatics, bocce, Unified bocce, gymnastics, football (soccer) and powerlifting. The public is invited and encouraged to attend any and all parts of Special Olympics Illinois Summer Games. Hope to see you there!
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David Shindley
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ISU & IWU Campus
Bloomington-Normal, Illinois

Jul 24 - Aug 2 2015

World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015

In July of 2015 more than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will come to Los Angeles, California for the Special Olympics World Summer Games and enjoy 10 days full of joy, friendship and competition. Athletes will compete in 22 sports. The event expects to attract 500,000 spectators and 30,000 volunteers and 3,000 coaches.
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World Summer Games Los Angeles 2015
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Various Locations, Los Angeles
Los Angeles , California

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Aquatics/Swimming Competitions

2014 European Summer Games

The Special Olympics European Summer Games featured 10 sports and 58 delegations, making the 2014 Games one of the largest ever. See stories and results

2014 Canada Summer Games

The Special Olympics 2014 Canada Summer Games was the largest Canadian Games ever. 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 competed in Los Angeles. See results and teams.

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. See results from the competition.

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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Videos and Photos

Coaching in SerbiaCoaches from three countries met in Serbia to hone their skills.See slideshow »

Videos and Photos

In Deep WaterGo feet first for one of the newest Special Olympics sports.See Slideshow »

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Summer SportsOur athletes run, jump, swim and score in summer.See Slideshow »

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Power of SportsSports are a powerful way to change our athlete’s lives.See Slideshow »

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First Unity CupSpecial Olympics uses football to promote understanding.See Slideshow »

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What We DoSports, health, education, community and more.See Slideshow »


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