Aquatics (Swimming)

Local Practice Info

Please check back in early 2016 for Aquatics (swimming) practice information. For more information contact Dawn McCullen at 265-1756. 

We are currently seeking athletes interested in participating in our 2016 Special Olympics North Carolina Summer games.

If you are interested in participating in aquatics (swimming) or would like more information please   Contact Us.

You can also view the information below, beginning with the History of the sport, all of which is available from the Aquatics resource section on the SONC website.

Special Notes

  1. All athletes must have an updated participation form on file in our office and at the SONC state office BEFORE they can begin ANY practice.
  2. All athletes must have a basic knowledge of swimming.
  3. All athletes who hope to advance to state games MUST attend an aquatics qualifier.
  4. Athletes MUST be able to travel and stay with the delegation without parents.
  5. Also, while all athletes interested in aquatics are welcome to train and participate in local events, not all athletes will be selected to attend the state games.


The information below is taken directly from the documents available from the Aquatics download section on the SONC website.


Aquatics was first introduced to Special Olympics North Carolina (SONC) in 1974, making it one of the oldest competition events. Throughout the past 35 years, aquatics has become one of the most popular sports and a staple event at Summer Games.

Events Offered

SONC offers competition in 28 different aquatics events, ranging in distances from 10 meters to 1,500 meters, and featuring all strokes (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and freestyle).

Individual events are offered for all strokes, and relay events are offered to athletes in two of three levels (link to sport notes). SONC offers walking and flotation events for athletes of lower ability.

SONC also offers relay events in the Unified Sports model, featuring athletes with and without intellectual disabilities (called Unified Partners) to compete together.

25y/50y/100y/200y Backstroke
25y/50y/100y/200y Breaststroke
25y/50y/100y Butterfly
25y/50y/100y/200y/400y/800y/1500y Freestyle
100y/200y Individual Medley
4×25/4×50 Medley Relay
4×25/4×50/4×100 Freestyle Relay

Events for lower-ability athletes
15m Walk
25y Flotation Race
10m Assisted Swim
15m Unassisted Swim

Competition Opportunities

Aquatics qualifiers are designed to help division (a competitive grouping by age, gender and ability) athletes for state-level events. Attendance at an aquatics qualifier is mandatory for athletes in order to advance to state-level competition. Qualifiers for aquatics take place typically in April.

SONC Summer Games is the state-level competition features six sports and takes place in Raleigh typically the first weekend in June.

The Special Olympics Multi-State Aquatics Invitational is hosted by Special Olympics Wake County. This event features aquatics athletes from surrounding states, as well as some from as far as Ohio. It is typcially held the last Saturday of March. For more information, contact the Special Olympics Wake County local program coordinator.

Rules & Resources

Please see the Special Olympics of North Carolina Aquatics Page for a full list of current rules and resources.