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


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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September 20, 2014 | North America: Ohio

Heading to Ohio State Meet in 2014 Winter

By David Tripathy

David Tripathy 14 has all 3 gold medals in M.E. Lyons YMCA.

What happens when you are going to be a star at the Columbus in a State swim meet of Team Ohio and you have a communication disorder? Only one boy who is a gold medalist can answer that question.View Story What happens when you are going to be a star at the Columbus in a State swim meet of Team Ohio and you have a communication disorder? Only one boy who is a gold medalist can answer that question. The Cincinnati Bullet, David Tripathy, qualified for the meet in Princeton High school and M.E. Lyons YMCA. There's something wonderful happening about his life. He got 17 gold medals and 2 silver at Hamilton County Special Olympics swim meets. Which is in Cincinnati, Ohio. When David put those medals all together he had 19 Hamilton County Special Olympics medals in all. When he was practicing at his school, Indian Hill High School, David was looking for school records and best times. His all stroke in School meet did not go so well last winter. However in all of his events, he got personal best to beat his own time. At the end of Winter season he so happy. When he was 12, David swam doggy paddle at I.H. Swim Club in hot season. When he was 13, he was ready.

About David Tripathy:I love People, I love video Games, I want to compete in USA Special Olympics Team. I love the Cincinnati Bengals, I love the Cincinnati Reds, I'm a senior in school, I got Straight A's in my report card, I have goals for practices and trainings and meets, I have a girlfriend, and I love my family.
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September 19, 2014 | Europe Eurasia: Belgium

Special Olympics mean everything to Pieter

By Emilie Bruynbroeck

Pieter Schram

Special Olympics mean a lot to Belgian swimmer Pieter Schram, one of the Belgian ambassadors. Pieter, 17, has autism and has had a rough time at school as well as at home.View Story Special Olympics mean a lot to Belgian swimmer Pieter Schram, one of the Belgian ambassadors. Pieter, 17, has autism and has had a rough time at school as well as at home. He found it hard to structure his life. That is why he was always very fidgety and too shy to make some friends. Swimming has helped him to create some structure as a result of wich he is much more at ease and he can cope with his environment more easily.Pieter is very grateful towards his coach, his school and Special Olympics for giving him this opportunity. The motivation he felt after he qualified has given his self-confidence a real boost.Today he swam the selection round of 25 meters freestyle. At the starting shot, Pieter burst into the water in lane five. He could conquer pole position immediately and didn’t give it away anymore. Evidently he cried a cheer of joy with a time of 17.4 seconds. A time with which he has a big shot on a gold medal.

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


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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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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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