Swimming Recertification is available to those coaches who have been previously certified in the Sport of Swimming. If you have not been to a coach’s certification class in athletics you do not qualify to re-certify. To Re-certify, a coach must make sure that the Volunteer application and protective behaviors training is up to date. Please check the Certified Coaches List found on the Coach’s Corner page. Re-certification is not valid without an up to date volunteer application, protective behaviors class and concussion awareness.

Re-certification should only be done when you are close to expiration of your original certification. Please do not take the course until you have less than 3 months to go on your certification. Please check the Certified Coaches List found on the Coach’s Corner page. Certification is good for 4 years.


Special Olympics Swimming is available to all persons age 8 and above, having been identified by an agency or professional as having an Intellectual disability, or a closely related disability which means having functional limitations in both general learning and in adaptive skills (such as recreation, work, independent living, self-direction, or self-care), and having registered to participate in Special Olympics.

Application for Participation

The Application for Participation in Special Olympics is commonly referred to as the Medical Release.  This form is good for a specific 3 year period.  The dates of the forms effectiveness is printed on the top center of the form.  It is only good for this time period.  Example –  May 30, 2016 through June 1, 2019.  Coaches should make copies of this form after completing all information.  Please do not leave off any information.  If there is information that does not apply please write does not apply in that space.  This form must be signed by a Physician, Physician’s assistant, Nurse Practitioner or a Clinical Nurse Specialist.  It must also be signed by either an adult athlete ( with witness signature) or a Parent/ Guardian.  Athletes will not be able to train or compete without the release.  Coaches should have a copy of the medical release with them any time they have an athlete with them.  Coaches are also responsible for updating the forms whenever a change has taken place, such as, medicine changes.

Coaches Responsibilities

Coaches have a lot of responsibility. It is imperative that coaches find enough assistant coaches to help cover all of the duties of a coach. The following is a list of responsibilities of the coach. This list will not cover everything a coach has to do in order for the team to be successful.

  1. Coaches must have enough help to supervise athletes at all times.
  2. Coaches must have a proper practice facility that is both safe and meets the needs of the athletes.
  3. Coaches must have medical releases with them at all times. Coaches must be aware of all medical issues of their athletes.
  4. Coaches must know first aid and have a phone available to call for help if needed.
  5. Coaches must train their athletes for no less than 8 weeks prior to competition. The training must be appropriate.
  6. Coaches must select sports and events that are appropriate for their athletes age and abilities.
  7. Coaches must insure that all athletes are uniformed appropriately.
  8. Coaches must know how to complete entry forms and do so on a timely basis.
  9. Coaches will be a positive influence on their athletes.
  10. Coaches must keep a written training plan for all of their practices.


Special Olympics divisions athletes based upon their age, sex, and ability, with ability being the primary indicator. This aspect of Special Olympics is what separates Special Olympics from all other sports organizations. Every athlete will receive an award, however, it could be a participation award.


All Special Olympics paperwork is now available on-line.  Coaches may complete the entry forms, medical release and athlete Registration, down’s addendum, and coaches card on-line, then print the forms and submit.  The medical release and down syndrome addendum must be signed by an authorized person.  All entry forms are due by the deadline that you will see on the schedule.  Most can be mailed in but some must be hand delivered.  You must pay attention to the directions in the schedule.  The deadline is the date that paperwork must arrive, not when it is to be mailed.  Mail your forms in time for the paperwork to reach the Event Director by the deadline.

It is the coaches’ responsibility to submit all forms required.  If you do not understand please call your area director or the state office for help.  Do not wait until the deadline to ask for help.  Forms are due to the event director by the deadline.  They are not to be mailed on the deadline.

General Rules For Swimming
  1. An athlete must practice a minimum of 8 weeks/hours prior to competition.
  2. Athletes must swim the full distance with no physical assistance.
  3. An athlete who exceeds a time of 25 percent better than the time recorded for divisioning or a reported time shall be disqualified. An athlete who is disqualified for a violation of the Maximum Effort rule shall be presented with a participation ribbon.  The coach is responsible for ensuring that all times submitted are the fastest time recorded for the swimmer at the time of submission.
  4. An athlete with Down syndrome who has been diagnosed with Atlanto-Axial Instability may not participate in Butterfly events, Individual Medley events, diving starts or diving.
  5. All starts are from the water starts. For in-water starts the athlete shall place one hand on the end of the pool or hold the starting block with one hand. Two hands shall be used for backstroke starts.
  6. For flotation events, each athlete is responsible for his/her own flotation device. The device must be of the body wraparound type such that if the athlete were to not be able to hold onto the device, the device would still support the athlete with his/her face out of the water. (Flotation devices such as inner tubes or floats that wrap around the arms are not acceptable for use at any time).
  7. No flotation device is allowed for any event other than the specified flotation events.
  8. Proper swim attire is required- one piece swimsuits for the girls. Goggles and swim caps are encouraged.
  1. All Special Olympics swimming training, recreational sessions and competition events shall be conducted in accordance with the following practices, rules and procedures in order to ensure the safety and well-being of all Special Olympics athletes, coaches and volunteers:
  2. Basic Rules –  There shall be at least one certified lifeguard on duty for every 25 swimmers in the water.   The sole function of the lifeguard shall be to guard. If no relief lifeguard is available, the pool must be cleared, even for a short duration, when a lifeguard must leave the pool side.
  3. Athlete medical history forms shall be on site and relevant.
  4. Every coach should have an emergency action plan.
  5. Pool depths must be marked and easily visible.
  6. Safety lines must be in place to divide shallow and deep water areas during recreational aquatic activities.
  7. A pool facility shall not be used unless a satisfactory inspection rating is received prior to any Special Olympics participant entering the water.

The range of events, including- individual events, and relay events, is intended to offer competition opportunities for athletes of all abilities.  Coaches are responsible for providing training and event selection appropriate to each athlete’s skill and interest.  The following is a list of official events available in Special Olympics Oklahoma:




25FLF              25 Meter Front Flotation

25FLB              25 Meter Back Floatation

25F                  25 Meter Freestyle

25BK                25 Meter Backstroke

25BS                25 Meter Breaststroke

25BF                25 Meter Butterfly

25MED            25 Meter Individual Medley

50F                  50 Meter Freestyle

50BK                50 Meter Backstroke

50BS                50 Meter Breaststroke

50BF                50 Meter Butterfly

50MED            50 Meter Individual Medley

100F                100 Meter Freestyle

100BK              100 Meter Backstroke

100BS              100 Meter Breaststroke

100BF              100 Meter Butterfly

200F                200 Meter Freestyle

4x25F               4×25 M Free Relay

4x25MED        4×25 Medley Relay

4x50F               4×50 M Free relay

4x50MED        4×50 M Medley Relay

4×25 FLR          25 meter unassisted Floatation Relay

  1. Prior to the starting signal, the swimmers shall line up in the water facing the starting end, with both hands holding the wall. Standing in or on the gutter or bending the toes over the lip of the gutter is prohibited. When using a backstroke ledge at the start, the toes of both feet must be in contact with the end wall or face of the touchpad.  Bending the toes over the top of the touchpad is prohibited.
  2. Upon the finish of the race the swimmer must touch the wall while on the back in his/her respective lane.
  1. From the start and throughout the race the stroke cycle must be one arm stroke and one leg kick in that order. All movements of the arms shall be simultaneous and on the same horizontal plane without alternating movement.
  2. The hands shall be pushed forward together from the breast on, under, or over the water. The elbows shall be under water except for the final stroke before the turn, during the turn and for the final stroke at the finish. The hands shall be brought back on or under the surface of the water. The hands shall not be brought back beyond the hip line, except during the first stroke after the start and each turn.
  3. The feet must be turned outwards during the propulsive part of the kick. Alternating movements or downward butterfly kicks are not permitted.   Breaking the surface of the water with the feet is allowed unless followed by a downward butterfly kick.
  4. At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously at, above, or below the water level. At the last stroke before the turn and at the finish an arm stroke not followed by a leg kick is permitted.
  5. “Separated” means that the hands cannot be stacked one on top of the other. It is not necessary to see space between the hands. Incidental contact at the fingers is not a concern.
  1. Both arms shall be brought forward simultaneously over the water and brought backward simultaneously under the water through-out the race.
  2. All up and down movements of the legs must be simultaneous. The legs or the feet need not be on the same level, but they shall not alternate in relation to each other. A breaststroke kicking movement is not permitted.
  3. At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands separated and simultaneously, at, above or below the water surface.
  4. “Separated” means that the hands cannot be stacked one on top of the other. It is not necessary to see space between the hands. Incidental contact at the fingers is not a concern.

In individual medley events, the swimmer covers the four swimming strokes in the following order:  Butterfly, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Freestyle. Each of the strokes must cover one quarter (1/4) of the distance.

  1. There shall be four swimmers on each relay team.
  2. Each swimmer shall swim one-fourth the distance of the total relay. No swimmer shall swim more than one leg of any one relay.
  3. A relay team which combines genders to include both male and female swimmers shall compete as a male relay.
  4. In medley relay events, swimmers will cover the four swimming strokes in the following order: Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Freestyle.
  5. In relay events, the team of a swimmer who leaves the wall, before the preceding team-mate touches the wall shall be disqualified.
  1. In all events, a swimmer when turning shall make physical contact with the end of the pool or course. The turn must be made from the wall, and it is not permitted to take a stride or step from the bottom of the pool.
  2. Pulling on the lane rope is not allowed.
  3. Obstructing another swimmer by swimming across another lane or otherwise interfering shall disqualify the offender. Should the foul be intentional, the referee shall report the matter to the Member promoting the race, and to the Member of the swimmer so offending.
  4. No swimmer shall be permitted to use or wear any device or swimsuit that may aid his/her speed, buoyancy or endurance during a competition (such as webbed gloves, flippers, fins, power bands, or adhesive substances, etc.).  Goggles may be worn.
  5. When all swimmers are stationary, the starter shall give the starting signal.


Athletes must practice a minimum of 8 weeks prior to competition. Practice should consist of warm-ups, stretching, competitive experience and a proper cool down.

Swimming Re-certification Test

Note: If you have not been to a coach’s certification class in swimming you do not qualify to re-certify. To Re-certify, a coach must make sure that the Volunteer application and protective behaviors training is up to date. You cannot re-certify without an up to date volunteer application and protective behaviors class. SOOK only allows a limited number of attempts to take the swimming re-certification test as we are charged for each test that is taken.