There are events for competitors with a physical disability or visual impairment, making Paralympic Swimming one of the biggest participation sports at the Games.
Venue: Aquatics Centre
Dates: Friday 31 August – Saturday 8 September
Gold medals up for grabs: 140
Swimming has been part of the Paralympic programme since the first Games in Rome 1960. More than 500 swimmers compete at modern Paralympic Games and at Sydney 2000 more than 200,000 spectators attended the swimming events over the nine days of competition.
At the Paralympic Games, swimmers compete in all four strokes - Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly and Breaststroke.
Races take place in a 50m long pool divided into 10 lanes, with only the middle eight lanes used by swimmers.
Swimmers are classified according to their functional ability to perform each stroke. Classifications S1-S10 are for athletes with a physical disability (S1 being the most physically disabled athletes and S10 the least) and classifications S11-S13 refer to blind athletes (S11) and those with visual impairments (S12 & S13).
Swimmers compete against athletes in their own classification and the fastest eight from the heats progress to the finals.
There are various ways for Paralympic swimmers to start their race: in the water, from a standing start, or a dive start sitting on the starting platform.
Blind swimmers and some with a visual impairment use an assistant to help them as they approach the end of the pool, either to make a turn or for the finish of the race. This process is called ‘tapping’, and is performed by a ‘tapper’.
For more information contact International Paralympic Association.
National Performance Director Tim Reddish believes that his squad is looking in good form and the athletes are on target to be at their best in 2012. The athletes have built on what they learned in Beijing, he says:
2009 was year one in our four year cycle and has been about getting the basics right. I believe this is important to a successful four year cycle. We have seen athletes progress at major Championships in 2009 which has been pleasing. “The next few years are going to be about developing essentials and building on our basics and we want to see progression from this year to next. This will be the basis of our work towards London 2012
Content courtesy of London 2012