AquaticsIn the fourth of our 'Knowledge' series on the Special Olympics Summer Games, we're diving into aquatic sport and giving you the low down on what you can expect at Bath 2013.

Swimming is one of the most popular sports in world. Unlike other sports, swimming is a life skill that is taught, first, to ensure safety and, secondly, for sports and competition purposes. Aquatics covers a great variety of swimming skills, from short sprints to longer events and relays.

The Meet Referee has the discretion to allow for certain modifications and interpretations of the current technical rules of Aquatics. Standing on the bottom of the pool during freestyle events or during the freestyle portion of the medley events shall not disqualify a competitor, but he/she shall not walk. Assistant starters may be allowed to assist a swimmer during their start if the swimmer has a hearing or vision impairment.

Athletes in every sport and event are grouped by age, gender, and ability –giving everyone a reasonable chance to win. At Special Olympics there are no World Records because each athlete, whether in the fastest or the slowest division is valued and recognized equally.

In every division, all athletes receive an award, from gold, silver, and bronze medals, to fourth through eighth place ribbons. This idea of equal ability groupings is the foundation for competition in Special Olympics and can be witnessed at all events, whether it’s athletics, aquatics, table tennis, football, skiing, or gymnastics.

All athletes are given an equal chance to participate, perform, and be recognized for doing their best by their teammates, family, friends, and fans.

Over the course of the games,Hengrove Park Leisure Centre in Bristol will play host to 390 wonderful, water-borne athletes as they tough it out to win gold in their division. As usual, you can find more information and details on how to support the athletes on the Bath 2013 website.