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Because of the wide array of events offered, swimming is appropriate for a range of ages and ability levels. Swimming competition events are conducted with a variety of strokes. Special Olympics also offers events that provide a meaningful competition environment for athletes who thrive in shorter events, and/or are building toward more capacity. The development of these basic skills are necessary to progress to other competitive events.

In addition to traditional events, athletes can participate in Unified Sports® relays. Unified Sports® is a program that assigns Special Olympics athletes and athletes without intellectual disabilities (partners) to the same teams for training and competition. On a Unified relay, a team consists 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.

Tentative schedule

9:30 a.m – Delegation check-in and registration. Warm-up in the pool. Lifeguard must be present.
10 a.m. – Coaches meeting (location TBD)
10:15 a.m. – Opening Ceremonies (on the pool deck)
10:30 a.m. – Competition begins
Lunch and awards follow competition.


15M Walk (Area Event Only)
15M Freestyle Swim
15M Flotation
15M Assisted Swim
30M Walk (Area Event Only)
30M Freestyle Swim
30M Flotation
30M Assisted Swim
(Put in Lane Lines)
200 M Backstroke
400M Freestyle
25M Flotation
25M Assisted Swim
25M Freestyle
25M Breaststroke
25M Butterfly
50M Butterfly
100M Butterfly
100M Freestyle
50M Flotation
50M Backstroke
200M Freestyle
50M Freestyle
50M Breaststroke
100M Breaststroke
100M Individual Medley
25M Backstroke
100M Backstroke
4x25M Freestyle Relay
4x25M Unified Freestyle Relay
4x50M Freestyle Relay
4x50M Unified Freestyle Relay

Sport-specific guidelines

1. Athletes may enter three individual events and one relay.
2. The tentative order of events run as listed below. Changes may be necessary depending on registration.
3. Unified Relay Teams: All Unified Relay Teams must compete as a relay at the area competition. Substitutions for Unified Partners will not be allowed at the State Competition.
4. The 15M Walk & 30M Walk will not be offered at the State Competition and will be done cross-pool.
5. Dive starts are not allowed.
6. One hand touch (turns and finishes) for freestyle and backstroke
7. Two hand touch (turns and finishes) for breaststroke and butterfly
8. Relays: Each athlete must touch the wall to indicate the next athlete can go. It is not a hand-to-hand touch relay.
9. Start commands: “name of race” (ie. 15 meter float); “swimmers take your mark;” “beep.”