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.



Events Offered

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

Competition Opportunities

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.

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

Swimming Invitationals

The following invitationals are hosted by the local program as indicated. Information will be posted as soon as it is received. Please note that these events may have a per person registration fee for the local program to cover expenses for the event.

  • Mecklenburg County Swimming Invitational – Huntersville – March 18, 2017
  • Wake County Swimming Invitational – Raleigh – March 18, 2017
  • Special Olympics Southeast Swim Meet – Greensboro Aquatics Center – April 9, 2017
  • McDowell County Swimming Invitational – Marion – May 6, 2017


All forms must be submitted by the local program coordinator.

Summer Games Sport Registration 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