Learn all about the classification system in Para-Swimming
Classification is the grouping of athletes in swimming to ensure that there is a fair playing field. There are two types of classification: physical (S1-S10) and disability specific (S11-S14).
Learn all about classification
Athletes competing in Paralympic sports have an impairment that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport. Consequently, a system has to be put in place to minimize the impact of impairments on sport performance and to ensure the success of an athlete is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. This system is called classification.
Ten eligible impairments:
There are eight different types of physical impairments:
Impaired muscle power
Impaired passive range of movement
Loss of limb or limb deficiency
In addition to athletes with physical impairment, athletes with a visual or intellectual impairment are also included in the classification system.
Click here for further information on Physical classification.
Visual Impairment occurs when there is damage to one or more of the components of the vision system, which can include:
impairment of the eye structure/receptors
impairment of the optic nerve/optic pathways
impairment of the visual cortex
Click here for further information on Visual classification.
Athletes with an intellectual impairment/learning disability are limited in regards to IQ and their adaptive behaviour, which is diagnosed before the age of 18 years.
Click here for further information on Intellectual classification.
Further details regarding eligibility can be found on the IPC website.
Once classified, swimmers are allocated a classification status.
Where a swimmer is allocated a classification (S1-14) they will also be allocated relevant exception codes.
There are a number of conditions that do not meet the eligibility criteria as follows*:
ADHD Ehlers’ Danlos Syndrome
Autistic spectrum Obesity
Cystic Fibrosis Learning Difficulties
RSD (Reflex Symphatetic Dystrophy including CRPS - Complex Regional Pain Syndrome)
* Please note that this list is not exhaustive, however provides a guide.
It must be noted that even swimmers that have a diagnosis that meets the eligibility criteria for classification may still not be sufficiently impaired to gain a classification.