Countdown to the Games
19-24 June 2022

Open Water Swimming

Know your facts:

  • Unified Sports? Yes
  • Estimated number of athletes participating: 25 athletes + 4 Unified partners

Open water swimming takes place in the sea, a lake, or a river. The courses are always well marked. In open water competitions athletes can choose the style of swimming.

Special Olympics feature:

During Special Olympics competitions, open water swimmers are allowed to walk and stand in the water. They may rest and touch, for example, boats, paddles 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 Sports, athletes and Unified partners must swim within 10m of each other throughout the race. They may not cross the finish line more than 10 seconds apart. The time of the last team member to cross or touch the finish line will count for scoring purposes.


We have four disciplines at National Games:

  1. 500m open water swim
  2. 1,000m open water swim
  3. 1,500m open water swim
  4. 1,500m Unified Sports open water swim


Find all information about timings in the competition schedule.



For our open water swimming competitions tickets are required.

On the photo, there are two athletes in action during a Open Water Swimming competition.
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The photo shows a scene of the start of an Open Water Swimming competition. The athletes are running into the water.
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The photo shows an athlete during an open water swimming competition.
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The photo shows a scene during an Open Water Swimming competition. Three athletes are visible.
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The photo shows an athlete during an open water swimming competition. She looks very concentrated.
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Open Water Swimming takes place at Grünau.