Paralympic Sport A-Z: Swimming

Paralympic Sport A-Z: Swimming

Swimming has featured at every Paralympics
since the first Games in 1960. The Paralympic pool is the same as the Olympic
pool measuring 50m in length and 25m wide. There are 10 lanes but only eight are used
in competition. Race distances range between one length of
the pool – 50m – to 8 lengths in the 400 metres and the relay. Sensitive touch pads are used at either end
of each lane to record finishing times. Athletes compete in freestyle, backstroke,
butterfly, breaststroke, medley and relay events. Competitors can start the race in various
positions including standing or sitting on or beside the block, or starting in the water,
depending on their impairment. Unlike in athletics, no prosthetics are allowed
during competition. Swimming is open to athletes with a diverse
range of impairments. They are categorised in three groups:
Physical impairment. Visual impairment
Intellectual impairment The physical impairment group is sub-divided
into ten classes. Lower numbers indicate a greater impact on swimming performance. Visually impaired swimmers have assistance
from “tappers” who warn about the approaching wall and the need to turn or to make certain
of a firm contact at the finish. They are classified S11-13, the lower the
number, the greater the loss of vision. Watch out for those in class S11 – they
are required to use blackened goggles in all their events to ensure fair competition Different strokes require different skills.
For that reason, the sport is subdivided into S events (for freestyle, backstroke and butterfly)
and SB events for breaststroke. SM stands for the medley events. Athletes require speed, strength and immense
determination to compete at the highest level.

6 thoughts on “Paralympic Sport A-Z: Swimming

  1. Great video! Is anyone here on Facebook? If you are come and join us to socialize at the International disABILITY Forum (

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