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Competitive Swimming

With Swimming New Zealand having an inclusive intent, Para swimmers (swimmers with a classifiable impairment) have the opportunity to compete in swim meets at various levels just like their clubmates.


The various levels available to all swimmers range from club, inter-club or regional racing to three national events which have a specific Para swimmer races – which means Para swimmers compete against each other, with medals decided based on the World Para Swimming points system (i.e. who is closest to the world record in their classification).


When you become a member of a swimming club you have the opportunity to join as either a club or competitive swimmer. As a club swimmer you will be able to participate in club and inter-club swim meets to give you a taste of what competitive swimming is like. The competitive swimmer membership is one for those who are interested in following a pathway toward competing at national and international events. 


Club and Inter-club

Once you are part of a club regular club nights are held where swimmers are given the opportunity to try racing in a supportive and friendly environment. Para swimmers can be involved in these club nights as well as inter-club meets, giving them an opportunity to give racing a go. At these types of meets Para swimmers will be racing their able-bodied peers and seeded according to their personal best time. There is no minimum level of classification needed for Para swimmers to take part in this level of competition.

Regional Meets

To compete in a regional meet it is recommended a Para swimmer has a provisional classification. Having a provisional classification done means officials will know the swimmer has an impairment and will officiate using discretion to avoid unnecessary disqualification. Para swimmers with be seeded amongst able-bodied swimmers according to their times. 

National Meets

Swimming New Zealand offers three events throughout the year where medals are presented specifically for Para swimmers. Along with these three events, if a Para swimmer has qualified to swim at the likes of Division II Championships or similar they may do so. Para swimmers may also compete at their respective zonal Junior Festival competitions if a provisional classification or higher is held.


The events below are national level events where multi-class racing and medals take place:

  • New Zealand Secondary School Championships -  there are no qualification times for this but Para swimmers need a minimum of a provisional classification.
  • Aon New Zealand Open Championships - this event has qualification times (long course times only) and Para swimmers will need a national or international classification to be eligible to compete.
  • New Zealand Short Course Championships - this event has qualification times and Para swimmers will need a national or international classification to be eligible to compete.


International Competition

If you seek to follow an international pathway there are several opportunities at a variety of competitions. If this is where you’d like to compete please contact our National Para Swimming Development Coordinator, Cameron Leslie, on cameron@swimming.org.nz. Cameron will be able to advise and assist with choosing the right events to target and at the right time in your swimming journey.


Current New Zealand Para Swimming Records

LONG COURSE - @ 21 JUNE 2019