TRURO, N.S. -The race is on at the community centre in Truro, N.S., as 250 athletes from 27 countries - all with Down syndrome - have come together to compete in the Down syndrome world swimming championships.

The Down syndrome international swimming organization was created to give these swimmers the opportunity to compete on a world stage, and teams have come from every corner of the globe to participate in the weeklong event.

“They have all overcome significant physical and intellectual delays. They have trained as hard as any athlete in any sport for any world championship, and they’re here to celebrate that and try to do their best,” said official Jol Hunter.

The stands were full with cheering parents in all different languages as teams from Japan, Brazil, Australia and Britain enter the water for the race.

Andy Miyares is representing team U.S.A. and has won 51 world records. He has even spent time in the pool learning from American great, Michael Phelps.

“Andy has been, I think, like a pillar for many moms to see that yes, I can do it. Yes I can. Yes I will succeed,” said Andy’s mom, Anna Maria Miyares.

This tournament takes place just ahead of the National Special Olympics, where many of these athletes will be headed to showcase their skill in Antigonish next week.

Matthew Hunter of Truro is one of the athletes competing in both events, he has won four medals at previous international competitions, and he tells CTV News he is proud to have this event in his hometown.

“If we can inspire this community and help people understand the capabilities and the level of ability that these individuals have, then it’s magical,” said his mother, Maura Hunter.

This is the first time the Down syndrome competition has been held in Canada, and in two years’ time they’ll meet again in the country of Turkey.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh