Para Swimming is the sport term used for swimmers with a physical, visual or intellectual impairment. The first step towards being a para swimmer is to join a swimming program. Once able to swim and race the next step is for a swimmer is to be classified.
Competitions for Para Swimmers
The first competitions for Para swimmers will be club meets. Once a swimmer has achieves their Alberta ‘A’ para standard they will be eligible to attend the provincial meets. Age Group swimmers (aged 14 & under) attend the Age Group Championships in March and July. Para Swimmers aged 15 & over attend the Alberta Open Series in January and July. The next level of competition is the Can-Am level which is the equivalent of Para Nationals.
Classification identifies the swimmers abilities. Swimmers must have an eligible impairment in order to be classified. There are four classification levels; Level 1 (introductory); Level 2 (provincial), Level 3 (national) and International.
The steps to classification are different based on the swimmers impairment (physical, visual or intellectual)
In Alberta physical classifications are done every November as a part of the Para Swimming Camp.
Swimmers aged 10 & under may be classified as a Level 1 (introductory) classifiction for the purposes of having rule exceptions.
Swimmers aged 11 and older with a physical impairment may be classified at Level 2 (provincial). These swimmers should already be swimming and be attending sanctioned swim meets. Swimmers with a physical impairment need to be able to swim a 100m IM continuously, for extreme physical impairments this may mean 75m IM continuously. Each of the swimmers strokes must be recognizable.
Once a swimmer is classified they will be identified by a series of numbers and letters that relate to their abilities for each stroke.
|Physical Classifications = 1-10||S = Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly|
|Visual Classifications = 11-13||SB = Breaststroke|
|Cognitive Classification = 14||SM = Individual Medley|
Once a swimmer is classified their information will be available on Swimming Canada's classification database so that meet managers and officials can confirm any rule exceptions for the swimmer.