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 17, 2014 | North America: Washington

No Athlete to Super Athlete

By Elise Skovmand

When I turned 25 I joined Special Olympics. I have Cerebral Palsy. I liked water but didn't know how to swim. I wasn't doing well with sports when I was young, now I swim every day.View Story I am a swimmer. When I turned 25 I joined Special Olympics. I have Cerebral Palsy. I liked water but didn't know how to swim. I wasn't doing well with sports when I was young, now I swim every day. I have a friend who keeps me on task and reminds me to "Just keep swimming" in Nemo's world! Swimming has kept me active and helps me to be confident in the water and not be afraid. I strive for the Gold medals! Having good sportmanship is also part of the key to having fun. Now I am a super athlete!

About Elise Skovmand:I am a athlete. I like to Swim. I practice everyday!
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September 11, 2014 | North America: Maryland

Andy Miyares, Swimming with Olympic History

By PHIL WETZLER (HEAD COACH, BALTIMORE CITY AQUATICS TEAM)

In 2008, as head coach of the Baltimore City Special Olympics Maryland swim team, I brought to Baltimore a talented swimmer with Down syndrome, who owned, at that time, over 15 world records for "special needs" athletes.View Story In 2008, as head coach of the Baltimore City Special Olympics Maryland swim team, I brought to Baltimore a talented swimmer with Down syndrome, who owned, at that time, over 15 world records for "special needs" athletes. He was there to swim an exhibition with world and Olympic champions Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff. The athlete is Andy Miyares, who I coached during the Special Olympics World Games in China in 2007. The has been held event during one of our swim practices, at Meadowbrook, "our swim home," for the past nine years. The crowd, our swim team of 48 athletes, and Michael, Katie, and their coach, Bob Bowman, were ecstatic, as Andy Miyares performed, so perfectly,with Michael and Katie. This was, truly, one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, seeing the joy and satisfaction on everyone’s face, and understanding just how meaningful it was and continues to be, in the ongoing competitive, wholesome life of Andy Miyares and his entire family. Andy will never forget that day, nor will I.

About PHIL WETZLER (HEAD COACH, BALTIMORE CITY AQUATICS TEAM):Committed to serving Special Olympics. I coached aquatics in China and Greece world games, 2007 and 2011. Graduated Duke University. Varsity swimming/lacrosse. U.S. Marine Corps. Married 54 years to Marni/2sons/7grandsons.
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September 11, 2014 | Asia Pacific: Singapore

46 Years of Empowerment “Training for Sports Performance” Program

By Kester Edwards

Opening Ceremonies

The Special Olympics Training For Sports Performance program is a Special Olympics sports development program that provides sports-specific coaches education in Open Water Swimming, Beach and Indoor Volleyball.View Story The Special Olympics Training For Sports Performance (TFSP) program is a Special Olympics sports development program that provides sports-specific coaches education in Open Water Swimming, Beach and Indoor Volleyball. There was an emphasis to focused on the following sports science topics; sports injury prevention, sports nutrition and sports psychology. That was held September 28 to 31, 2014 with Special Olympics Singapore. The TFSP drives our global goal to have athletes train multiple times per week! We pilot two new tools that is call Special Olympics Athlete Development Model (ADM) is a support plan designed to empower each of our athletes so they can experience the joy of reaching their full potential. The model promotes motor and skill development as well as health and fitness, while preparing athletes for competition at all levels. The Coach Development Model (CDM) and provide a framework for all SO Programs to certify coaches and recognizes specific coach qualifications. Following the CDM, SO Programs recruit and train coaches to fit into the SOI Athlete Development Model (ADM). Coaches trained under the CDM support a lifelong sport experience for our SO athletes along their different sports development paths. The CDM model also offers guidance and new ideas on how best to work with local sports governing bodies to train and certify coaches. The CDM delivers optimum sports experiences to athletes at all levels and trains coaches to provide excellent instruction, advice, and motivation. It also allows us to develop our unique Unified Sports coaches. The seminar participants came various Programs from around Asia Pacific to Singapore, from as far away as New Zealand, China, Beijing, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Korea and China, Fuzhou. The education was provided through classroom training and discussion, conducted in the morning, and afternoon through Pool and Ocean Open Water Swimming training, Beach Volleyball.

About Kester Edwards:Kester Edwards work in the Sport Department at Special Olympics Inc.
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Aquatics/Swimming Competitions

2014 European Summer Games


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 »


Videos and Photos

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


Videos and Photos

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


Videos and Photos

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


Videos and Photos

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



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