Open Water Swimming
Know your facts:
- Open water swimming has been a sport at Special Olympics World Games since 2011
- Unified Sports? Yes
- Estimated number of athletes participating: 20 athletes + 6 Unified partners
Open water swimming is one of the fastest-growing and most challenging sports. Each year, more than 6,500 open water competitions are held worldwide in open waters such as oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Special Olympics feature:
All competitions are freestyle and any swimming style is allowed, including backstroke, breaststroke, or sidestroke. In Special Olympics open water swimming, the swimmers are allowed to walk and stand in the water during the competition. They may rest and hold on to, for example, boats, paddle boards, ropes, and safety personnel in the water if they are tired, nervous, or need help or encouragement. They may not improve their position in the competition while using any of the above means to rest or recover.
In unified open water swimming, athletes and Unified partners must swim within a maximum of 10 meters of each other throughout the race. They may not cross the finish line more than 10 seconds apart. The time of the last member to cross or touch the finish line will count for scoring purposes.
We have two competitions:
- 1500m open water swim
- 1500m Unified Sports open water swim
By the way:
In the water the body is only about 1/7 as heavy as it is on land. That's why we feel almost weightless while swimming.