Para Swimming is a popular competitive sport that caters to athletes of various disabilities and has been contested across various disability sport competitions around the world. In Singapore, Swimming serves as a form of rehabilitative sport as well as a competitive sport that engages the participant in active movement while enabling them to push themselves to their limits. The governing body for Swimming is World Para Swimming, and it incorporates the rules of the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA).
In Para Swimming, regulations from FINA are adhered to accordingly, except with certain modifications, such as optional platforms, in-water starts for some races or the use of signals or “tappers” for swimmers with visual impairment. However, no prostheses or assistive devices are permitted. Competitors can also start the race in different positions (standing, sitting or in the water) depending on their disability.
Swimming caters to a diverse classification of disabilities and caters for three impairment groups: physical, visual, and intellectual. The classification system in place ensures that swimmers compete with others of the same level of ability. The athletes are tested on their abilities and skills in backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, freestyle, and medley. The name classification for Swimming includes a prefix and a number. The prefix represents the strokes as follows: S for Freestyle, Butterfly and Backstroke events, SB for Breaststroke events and SM for individual medley events.
These prefixes are then followed by a number to indicate the class. Lower class numbers indicate a greater level of impairment for the sport. The sport classes are as follows:
|1 - 3||Athletes with physical impairment
(High support needs)
|4 - 10||Athletes with physical impairment|
|11 - 13||Athletes with visual impairment|
|14||Athletes with intellectual impairment|