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A new world

Swimming

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One of the blue-riband sports, swimming has been part of the Paralympic Games since Rome 1960, the first edition. Swimmers use four strokes and in Rio there are 151 medal events for men, women and mixed relay teams
Spectator's Guide - Swimming
  • Swimming

Countries

Athletes

Events

79 593 152

Schedule & Results

Schedule & Results

Swimming

Select the time zone:
Rio Time
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September18
Date Event Status
  • WRWorld Record
  • PRParalympic Record

About

About

Aim of the game

The swimmer must complete a set distance inside the pool, in some cases using a specific swimming style, in the shortest possible time

Why should you watch this?

You will be amazed at how the Paralympic swimmers overcome their impairments to put on spectacular, inspiring displays

International Federation

IPC

Paralympic debut

Rome 1960

Rules
  • Anchor

    Anchor

    The last member of a relay team to swim

  • Drafting

    Drafting

    When one swimmer is just behind another in an adjacent lane and uses the slipstream generated by their adversary to gain an advantage

  • Tapper

    Tapper

    Assistant who uses a pole with a cushioned end to warn visually impaired swimmers of an imminent turn or the end of the race

Impress your friends

  • Swimming has featured in the Paralympic Games since their inception in Rome in 1960, when only athletes with spinal cord injuries competed

    Swimming has featured in the Paralympic Games since their inception in Rome in 1960, when only athletes with spinal cord injuries competed

  • At the Heidelberg 1972 Games, visually impaired swimmers competed for the first time in demonstration events

    At the Heidelberg 1972 Games, visually impaired swimmers competed for the first time in demonstration events

  • Gradually other impairment classes were introduced, and Paralympic swimming events are now open to athletes with physical, visual and intellectual impairments

    Gradually other impairment classes were introduced, and Paralympic swimming events are now open to athletes with physical, visual and intellectual impairments

  • Australia's Maddison Elliott won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the London 2012 Games, aged just 13 years old

    Australia's Maddison Elliott won one gold, one silver and two bronze medals at the London 2012 Games, aged just 13 years old

  • Also at London 2012, local favourite Ellie Simmonds, 17, rose to stardom by winning two gold medals and breaking two world records

    Also at London 2012, local favourite Ellie Simmonds, 17, rose to stardom by winning two gold medals and breaking two world records

  • Having learned to swim only a year before the Games, Rim Ju Song was the first ever athlete from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to compete in the Paralympic Games

    Having learned to swim only a year before the Games, Rim Ju Song was the first ever athlete from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to compete in the Paralympic Games

  • Australia's Matthew Cowdrey has won 23 Paralympic medals from Athens 2004 to London 2012

    Australia's Matthew Cowdrey has won 23 Paralympic medals from Athens 2004 to London 2012

  • Britain's Sarah Storey won five gold, eight silver and three bronze medals in swimming (1992-1996), before switching to cycling and winning six golds (2008-2012)

    Britain's Sarah Storey won five gold, eight silver and three bronze medals in swimming (1992-1996), before switching to cycling and winning six golds (2008-2012)

  • Belarus Ihar Boki has only competed in one Paralympic Games, London 2012, but it was enough for him to win five gold medals and one silver

    Belarus Ihar Boki has only competed in one Paralympic Games, London 2012, but it was enough for him to win five gold medals and one silver

  • The USA's Jessica Long (17 medals) and New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe (10 medals) are stars in women's Paralympic swimming

    The USA's Jessica Long (17 medals) and New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe (10 medals) are stars in women's Paralympic swimming

  • André Brasil and Daniel Dias are Brazil's greatest Paralympic swimmers, with 10 and 15 medals respectively, won at Beijing 2008 and London 2012

    André Brasil and Daniel Dias are Brazil's greatest Paralympic swimmers, with 10 and 15 medals respectively, won at Beijing 2008 and London 2012

  • Trischa Zorn (USA) is the most decorated Paralympian of all time – she won 55 medals (41 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze) over the seven Games from Arnhem 1980 to Athens 2004

    Trischa Zorn (USA) is the most decorated Paralympian of all time – she won 55 medals (41 gold, 9 silver and 5 bronze) over the seven Games from Arnhem 1980 to Athens 2004

  • Athletes are only allowed to use their bodies to compete – orthotic and prosthetic devices are not allowed

    Athletes are only allowed to use their bodies to compete – orthotic and prosthetic devices are not allowed

  • Married couple Nyree and Sascha Kindred won silver medals for Great Britain at London 2012, her in the 100m backstroke and him in the 200m medley

    Married couple Nyree and Sascha Kindred won silver medals for Great Britain at London 2012, her in the 100m backstroke and him in the 200m medley

  • Class S11 competitors wear opaque goggles to ensure that all swimmers compete under the same conditions

    Class S11 competitors wear opaque goggles to ensure that all swimmers compete under the same conditions

Stroke

Freestyle: in freestyle events, swimmers can use any stroke they wish, but in practice they all opt for the crawl, which is the fastest style.

Backstroke: lying on their backs, swimmers count their strokes to stay aware of where they are in the pool, and towards the end of the length glance over at flags positioned 5m from the end wall.

Breaststroke: a slower swimming style in which an athlete's movements are similar to those of a frog.

Butterfly: the swimmer rotates both arms simultaneously and flexes the body up and down in a manner reminiscent of a dolphin: indeed, the leg movement is known as a 'dolphin kick'.

Relay and Medley

In addition to individual events for each of the four swimming styles, there are relay events contested by teams of four swimmers.

Medley events (individual and relay) which combine freestyle, butterfly, breaststroke and backstroke in a single race (medley events in the SM3 and SM4 classes do not include butterfly).

Lanes

The pool is divided into 10 lanes, each 2.5 m wide, with eight used in the finals.

Electronic sensors

Sensitive to the lightest touch, they are fixed onto the end walls of the pool and provide precision timing to within a hundredth of a second.

Kit

All swimmers wear a cap, goggles and a swimsuit – normally swimming trunks for men and swimming costumes for women.

Classification

Classifications are divided into three groups based on the swim stroke and impairment. ‘S’ represents freestyle, butterfly and backstroke. ‘SB’ represents breaststroke, and ‘SM’ is medley (races with all four strokes).

There are 14 classes which denote the impairment of the athlete. The lower the number, the more severe the impairment.

1-10 – Physical impairments.
11-13 – Visually impaired.
14 – Intellectually impaired.

Updates

Athletes

Athletes & Teams

Gender

Gender
Woman 45
Men 55
Women
Men

Age Range

Age Range
Under 15 4
16 - 20 26
21 - 25 34
26 - 30 18
31 - 40 13
Over 40 5
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