- Published on 23 February 2015
Because of the wide array of swimming events offered, aquatics is appropriate for a range of ages and ability levels. Aquatics competition events are based on a variety of strokes. Special Olympics also offers events for lower ability level athletes to train and compete in basic aquatics skills. The development of these key skills is necessary prior to advancing to longer competitive events.
Special Olympics athletes also can participate in Special Olympics Unified Sports® aquatics relay events. Unified Sports is a program that combines Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (partners) on sports teams for training and competition. In Unified Sports Aquatics, a relay team would consist of two Special Olympics athletes and two partners.
As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are grouped in competition divisions according to ability level, age and gender.
- Aquatics was an event at the first Special Olympics International Games held in Chicago, Illinois, USA in 1968.
- At the 1999 Special Olympics World Summer Games, held in North Carolina, USA, 682 athletes representing 144 Special Olympics Programs competed in Aquatics.
- At the 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games held in Dublin, Ireland, 573 athletes representing 97 Special Olympics Programs competed in aquatics.
- Aquatics was one of the sports featured in the 1999 1st MENA Regional Games in Egypt, Cairo, 144 athletes competed in Aquatics from Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Kuwait, Tunisia and Algeria.
- At the 3rd MENA Regional Games in Lebanon 2002, 22 athletes from Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Morocco competed in Aquatics.
- At the 4th MENA Regional Games in Tunisia 2004, 47 athletes from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Emirates, Lebanon, Tunisia, Oman, Syria and Iraq competed in Aquatics.
- Today 8896 Special Olympics athletes SOMENA Programs compete in aquatics.
- Freestyle Events: 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,500 Meter
- Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly Events: 25 Meter (Breaststroke, Butterfly), 50, 100, and 200 Meter
- Competitions: 50, 100 and 200 Meter
- Individual Medley Events: 200 and 400 Meter
- Freestyle and Medley Relay Events: 4 x 25, 4 x 50 and 4 x 100 Meter 4 x 200 Meter Freestyle Relay
- Unified Sports Relay Events: Freestyle: 4 x 100 and 4 x 200 Meter Medley: 4 x 25, 4 x 50 and 4 x 100 Meter
- Freestyle: 4 x 100 and 4x 200 Meter
- Medley: 4x 25, 4 x 50 and 4 x 100 Meter
The following aquatics events provide meaningful competition for athletes with lower ability levels:
- 25 Meter Freestyle and Backstroke
- 15 Meter Walk
- 15 and 25 Meter Floatation Race
- 10 Meter Assisted Swim
- 15 Meter Unassisted Swim