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

SONC offers competition in 28 different swimming 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. 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.

Athletes may select up to three events from Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3, but must stay within their level. Athletes competing in Level 2 or Level 3 events are eligible for on relay team event.

Level 1
10m Assisted Swim
15m Walk
15m Unassisted Swim
25y Kickboard
25y Floatation Device
25y Freestyle
25y Backstroke

Level 2
25y/50y Backstroke
25y/50y Breaststroke
25y/50y Butterfly
25y/50y Freestyle
100y Individual Medley

Level 3
50y/100y/200y Backstroke
50y/100y/200y Breaststroke
50y/100y Butterfly
50y/100y/200y/500y/1000y/1650y Freestyle
100y/200y Individual Medley

Relay Team Events (Traditional & Unified Sports)
4×25/4×50 Freestyle Relay
4×50 Medley Relay

SONC Summer Games takes place in Raleigh typically the first weekend in June.

Many local programs host invitationals in the spring. Check out the listing of invitationals offered on this page. For programs looking to host an invitational, a suggestion for Order of Events can be found here.

Wake County Swim Meet – Raleigh, March 18

SONC – Wake County will host a swimming invitational on Saturday, March 18 at Pullen Aquatics Center in Raleigh. Registration is due by February 21 to Registration fee is $5 per person and includes lunch, and will be deducted from pooled accounts. This is the 22nd year of this event being held at Pullen Aquatic Center – don’t miss out on the fun!

  • Overall Schedule and Information
  • Order of Events
  • Individual Registration Form
  • Relay Team Registration Form

Mecklenburg County Swim Meet – Huntersville, March 18

Mecklenburg County will host a swimming invitational on Saturday, March 18th at the Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics Center. Registration is due by February 21 to Greg Morrill at The registration fee is $5 per person and includes lunch.

  • Schedule and Invitational Information
  • Order of Events
  • Team Roster Form
  • Relay Event Entry Form
  • Individual Entry Form

Burke County Stingray Invitational – Valdese, April 1

Burke County will host a swimming invitational on Saturday, April 1st  at the Valdese Recreation Center in Valdese, NC. Registration and questions should be submitted to Christi Bristol, . The registration fee is $10 per person and includes lunch.

  • Registration Form
  • Individual and Relay Entry Form
  • Order of Events (Coming Soon)

Craven County April Showers Swim Meet – New Bern, April 8, 2017

  • Registration Packet – due March 21 to Steven Aster at
  • $10 registration fee per person (includes lunch)

Special Olympics U.S. Southeast Swimming Invitational – Greensboro, April 9

Don’t miss the premier swim meet of the season! Featuring Special Olympics programs from the southeast U.S., competition will be exciting! Please visit the Special Olympics U.S. Southeast Swimming Invitational web page for more detailed information. The following registration documents are due to by Tuesday, March 7:

  • Delegation Information Summary & Payment Form (registration fee of $20 per person that includes facility costs, dance on Saturday, lunch on Sunday, and event t-shirt)
  • Coach/Chaperone Roster
  • Individual Event Registration Form
  • Relay Team Registration Form

McDowell County Swim Meet – Marion, May 6

McDowell County will host a swimming invitational on Saturday, May 6 at Marion YMCA in Marion, NC. Registration and questions should be submitted to Patti Wilkerson at

  • Registration Form
  • Individual and Relay Entry Form
  • Order of Events (Coming Soon)

Sport Development Team

These volunteers advise SONC staff regarding sport rule modifications, competition and also train coaches in their sport! For more information on the aquatics sport development team, contact one of the members below or the Sports Department.

Colleen Gillan, Swimming SDT Director
Marion, NC

Mary Dwyer
New Bern, NC

Patti Wilkerson
Marion, NC

Find out which sports are offered in your community

Summer Games Swimming Forms

Local program coordinators should submit entries along with the remainder of the Summer Games registration.  Click here for a full list of Summer Games registration forms.

Swimming Improved Performance Form (will be posted after registration is due for Summer Games) – must submit by May 23, 2017. Only submit this form if the time for an event is faster than the one submitted for registration. The decision to change a division for an athlete will be decided by the competition management team, and/or SONC staff.

Certified Clinicians

In addition to the sport development team, these volunteers are able to conduct local sport specific training schools on behalf of SONC. Contact the clinician in your area if you would like to schedule a training (their county of residence is located under their name). For more information on becoming a certified clinician, contact Andrea Stamm.

Peter Cowick