Aquatics is one of Special Olympics= original sports, and has been included in the Special Olympics World Games since 1968.
Because it is easy to learn, aquatics is appropriate for a wide range of age and ability levels. Walking and floatation events are offered for athletes of lower ability. As in all Special Olympics sports, athletes are placed in divisions according to ability, age, and gender. An athlete may begin training at age 6 but cannot compete until age 8. An application/medical is required for eligibility to compete in Special Olympic events.
Athletes who participate in aquatics are able to improve their overall physical fitness through training and competition. In addition to improving their own skills, athletes also experience the benefits of being part of a team. This promotes communication, friendships and social interactions.
An athlete with Down syndrome cannot compete in the butterfly, individual medley events or dive starts without certification from physician regarding Atlanto axial Instability.
The Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA) is the governing body for rules.
A certified Special Olympic Aquatics coach is required for an athlete to train and compete. The coach=s certification involves a General Orientation, a Sports-specific Training Clinic, and a 10 hour practicum with athlete/team. A head coach must be 18 years of age and assistant coach may be 15 years of age with parent consent.
Unified Sports relay teams consist of two athletes and two non-Special Olympic partners. Special Olympic Unified Sports integrates Special Olympic athletes with non-Special Olympic partners in training and competition to enhance social development and improve skills.
Individual Skills: (for athletes with lower ability levels)
15 mtr. Walk
15 mtr. Unassisted Swim
15 mtr. Floatation Race
10 mtr. Assisted Swim
25 mtr. Floatation Race
Freestyle - 25, 50, 100, 200 and 400 meter
Backstroke - 25, 50, and 100 meter
Breaststroke - 25, 50, and 100 meter
Butterfly - 25, 50 and 100 meter
Individual Medley - 100 meter
Relay Events and Unified Relays:
Freestyle Relay - 4 x 25 and 4 x 50 meter
Medley Relay - 4 x 25 and 4 x 50 meter
For more Information
This content was created by Dennis Wyatt,
Master's Student in Adapted Physical Education at TWU
and Adapted Physical Educator, McKinney ISD
page last updated 1/2/2013 4:34 PM