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Introducing para-swimming competitions

From school-based competitions right up to the Paralympic Games, there is a wide range of para-swimming competitions available for swimmers with disabilities.

The first step for many swimmers is to compete in impairment-specific swimming championships, run by National Disability Sport Organisations such as British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sports Association, Wheelpower and LimbPower.

These are the perfect place for newcomers to get a taste of competition, swimming alongside athletes with similar impairments.

If they are members of Swim England through a club, swimmers with disabilities will be encouraged to compete alongside non-disabled swimmers in open meets from the Swim England Licensed Meets calendar.

Multi-Classification Races

It is a requirement of county, regional and national meets in the Swim England calendar to include multi-classification para-swimming competitions for classes S1 – S14.

Multi-classification races, known as MC races, are where para-swimmers compete against rivals from different classifications and receive a points scored based on how close they are to the existing British record.

Positions are determined based on relative performance rather than time.

Regional and National Para-Swimming Competitions

There are also regional and national para-swimming competitions held specifically for swimmers with disabilities in England.

Each of the Swim England Regions runs Para-Swimming Championships that provide an opportunity for swimmers with a physical, visual, learning or hearing impairment.

Regional and national para-swimming competitions will include MC races, although hearing impaired swimmers (S15) will be awarded separate medals and are not included in the MC points rankings.

British Swimming and the English Federation of Disability Sport also offer national competitions open to swimmers with a current national or international physical, visual or intellectual (S1-14) classification.

Para-Swimmer Competition Pathway

We are proud to provide an inclusive pathway. This means that the swimming pathway provides competitive opportunities for Para-Swimmers to compete alongside their non-disabled peers in Multi-Class (MC) races. MC races are built into county, regional and national competitions.

Swim England and British Swimming also provide a pathway for Para-Swimming competitions this includes:

  • Eight Regional Para-Swimming Championships throughout the season.
  • National Para-Swimming Championships, long course.
  • National Junior Para-Swimming Championships, short course.
  • British Para-Swimming International Meet, long course.

Please note that if a para-swimmer meets the open qualifying time, they can enter that event. If they race and their time allows them to progress to finals they are allowed to compete in the open final and medal.

Certificate of Exception

The purpose of the Certificate of Exception is to ensure that swimmers who are disabled but not classified are not disqualified for performing a stroke incorrectly due to their disability.

To be eligible for a certificate of swimming disability, a swimmer must:

  • Have not yet been classified
  • Not wish to undergo classification
  • Not fit the Physical Classification System

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