About us

Canadian Down syndrome swimming Association

The Canadian Down Syndrome Swimming Association (CDSSA) is a member organization under Down Syndrome International Swimming Organization (DSISO) and the National Sport Organization representing swimmers with Down Syndrome in Canada. Our organization was officially incorporated in September 2009 and includes membership from across Canada and internationally.


The mandate of our organization is to provide swim competition opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome regionally, nationally and internationally. Through these opportunities, we aim to showcase the abilities of individuals with Down syndrome and break down barriers and stereotypes.


  • To support the participation of Canadians with Down Syndrome in swimming competitions;
  • To showcase the skills and talents of people with Down Syndrome in and outside of the pool;
  • To foster the development of individuals with Down Syndrome in sport;
  • To organize the Canadian team – athletes, coaches and staff – attendance at swimming competitions both in Canada and internationally.


In order to qualify under the National Sports Organization (NSO) guidelines, each swimmer must provide proof of their disability through a cytogenetic test result. Swimmers are divisioned by age into one of four age groups: Junior, Senior, Masters 1 and Masters 2.


Minimum “A” and “B” qualifying standards are published by DSISO. In order to attend international competition, swimmers must meet the “A” qualifying standard in a minimum of one of the following events:


25m, 50m, 100m, 200m all 4 strokes, 400m, 800m, 1500m in free style, and 100m, 200m, 400m in individual medley

Where It All Began

  • 2006 – 3rd Down Syndrome World Championships, Limerick, Ireland – Kristeen Cooper, as swimmer from British Columbia, attended on behalf of Canada
  • 2007 – Special Olympic Summer Games in Beijing – word of mouth brought together swimmers with Down syndrome interested in further competitions.
  • 2008 – 4th Down Syndrome World Championships, Albufeira – Algarve, Portugal – Five athletes and two coaches attended from CDSSA.
  • 2009 – CDSSA was formed
  • 2010 – 5th Down Syndrome World Championships, Taipei, Taiwan – 7 swimmers and four coaches/support staff from CDSSA attended.
  • 2012 – 6th Down Syndrome World Championships, Loano, Italy – 8 swimmers and 4 coaches/support staff attended from CDSSA.
  • 2014 – 7h Down Syndrome World Championships, Morelia, Mexico – 9 swimmers and 4 coaches/support staff attended from from CDSSA.
  • 2016 – 8th Down Syndrome World Championships, Florence, Italy – 8 swimmers and 3 coaches/support staff attended from CDSSA.
  • 2018 – 9th Down Syndrome World Championships, Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada – 23 swimmers and 5 coaches/support staff attended from CDSSA. First Canadian Female Relay Team!
  • 2022 – 10th Down Syndrome World Championships, Albufeira – Algarve, Portugal – 13 swimmers and 5 coaches/support staff. Six podium medals and numerous age group medals.
  • 2023 – SJL Iceberg Invitational Long Course Meet, St. John’s Newfoundland – 5 swimmers from CDSSA attended.
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What we do for you


Life Mentoring

Get some soul healing and guidance for Down syndrome to achieve their future achievements.


Skill Development

Develop skills for Competitions of various majors including new techniques.



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