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Classification in Para-Swimming

What is Classification? 

In Para-Sport classification provides the structure for fair and equitable competition to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactica abilityand mental focus - the same factors that account for sport for able bodied athletes.

The Para-Sport classification assessment process identifies the eligibility of each Para-Athlete's impairment, and groups them into a sport class according to the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairment.

Classification is sport-specific as an eligible impairment affects a Para Athlete's ability to perform in diffent sports to a different extent. Each Para-Sport has a different classificatiopn system.

Classification Detail

Para-Swimming caters for three impairment groups - physical, visual and intellectual.

Sport Classes
The sport class names in swimming consist of a prefix S, SM or SB and a number. The prefixes stand for the event and the number indicates the sport class the athlete competes in during the respective event.

The prefixes stand for:

  • S: Freestyle, Butterfly and Backstroke events
  • SM: Individual Medley
  • SB: Breaststroke

Sport Classes 1-10: Physical impairment
There are 10 different sport classes for athletes with physical impairment, numbered 1-10. A lower number indicates a more severe activity limitation than a high number. Note that athletes with different impairments compete against each other, but the impact of their impairment on swim perfromance is similar.

Sport Classes 11-13: Visual impaiment
Swimmers with visual impaiment compete in sport classes 11-13, with 11 meaning a complete or nearly complete loss of sight and 13 describing the minimum eligible visual impairment. Athletes in sport class 11 compete with blackened goggles. 

Sport Class 14: Intellectual impairment
Swimmers with intellectual impairmnet who also meet the sport-specific criteria compete in sport class 14.

Here are some useful links for further information:

Para-Swimming Cheat Sheet