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Swimming

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


February 18, 2015 | North America: Jamaica

Jamaica Observer: Lions film crew captures Special Olympics swim meet

By Lorna Bell

From the article in the Jamaica Observer: The second edition of the Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) swimming competition was held at the University of Technology pool on February 7, and was featured by the Lions International film crew.View Story From the article in the Jamaica Observer: The second edition of the Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) swimming competition was held at the University of Technology pool on February 7, and was featured by the Lions International film crew. The crew was in the island to film a number of our events, including Healthy Athletes Screening, Special Olympics Jamaica unified basketball and unified floor ball. The swimming featured 16 events and SOJ aquatics director Gabriel Heron said athletes provided spirited competition. Female swimmer Kadian Ingleton starred the show by winning all six events she participated in. She was particularly outstanding in the 100-metre freestyle with a time of 1:41.79. The top male athlete was Leon Barclay, who won three events. He was eye-catching in the 50-metre breaststroke with a time of 51.15.

About Lorna Bell:I am the executive director of Special Olympics Jamaica.
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February 09, 2015 | Middle East North Africa: Libya

Libyan swimmer, Noman Al-Sadik Felfel (The World Champion) and his journey of achievements

By Noha Gaballah

Noman was born in 1971 with ID (DS) in a family of 11 members. He started practicing swimming since his early childhood, at the age of 4. He is very sociable and has a sense of humor that takes the heart of whoever sees his kind spirit and cheerful smile that does not leave his lips.View Story Noman was born in 1971 with Down syndrome in a family of 11 members. He started practicing swimming in his early childhood, at the age of 4. He is very sociable and has a sense of humor that takes the heart of whoever sees his kind spirit and cheerful smile that does not leave his lips. He was the first athlete to join Special Olympics Libya in 1998 and from here started the journey of his consecutive achievements:- His first world participation was in the World Summer Games in the United States. He grabs the attention and makes a memorable achievement for Libya after winning 2 silver medals. This success was a superior matter for the advancement of sports of people with disabilities in Libya. After that, he participated in many successive regional and World games whereby he won many gold & silver medals in Tunisia, UAE, Syria, China and Greece. After that, he was chosen as the global messenger for Special Olympics Libya. He took parts in many international conferences where he was introduced as a role model for people with intellectual disabilities.

About Noha Gaballah:I am an editor with Special Olympics in the Middle East-North Africa office in Cairo.
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January 15, 2015 | Asia Pacific: Australia

My Experience

By Frances Joynt

I joined up with Special Olympics Victoria in 1999 at the recommendation of another athlete and I am so glad I did, I love swimming and I never thought that I could do swimming as a sport, but being part of this unique program has been amazing.View Story I joined up with Special Olympics Victoria in 1999 at the recommendation of another athlete and I am so glad I did, I love swimming and I never thought that I could do swimming as a sport, but being part of this unique program has been amazing. I have excelled in many competitions and races, I have been to the ACT, Adelaide, Canberra and also participated in the National games here in Melbourne, in Albert Park 2014. As of last year ( 2014 ) I was also part of the Athletes Leadership Program, encouraging other people with intellectual disabilities to join up, become athletes, volunteers or coaches, I have graduated from a weekend course on this and now I am a spokesperson or Ambassador for Special Olympics. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know the people in my region and in other regions too, I love the experiences I have with other fellow athletes, Coaches, volunteers and families. I would definitely like to encourage others to take up this opportunity to beome a part of SpecialOlympics.

About Frances Joynt:Hello everyone, My name is Frances Joynt, but you can call me Francesca. I grew up in Camberwell but moved to Wattle Glen, and then from there to Watsonia. I am currently a student at TAFE doing a second year doing Certificate 1 in Work education, and I am also trying to find work at the same time, hopefully in office work but before I do that I need to find part time work doing something else to pass the time so I can start saving up my money for other important things. I am a member of Watermarc Leisure centre in Greensborough and go to church at All Saints Anglican church regularly, I take part in services and help with the tea and coffee afterwards. I follow the Melbourne Demons footy club but i'm not a member as yet. My favourite singer of all time is Guy Sebastian because I love his singing and his music, and I would really like to meet him some day.
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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.

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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.

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Videos and Photos

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


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



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