Swimming is the only sport that combines the conditions of limb loss, cerebral palsy (coordination and movement restrictions), spinal cord injury (weakness or paralysis involving any combination of the limbs) and other disabilities (such as Dwarfism (little people); major joint restriction conditions) across classes.
The Prefix S to the Class denotes the class for Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly
The Prefix SB to the class denotes the class for Breaststroke
The Prefix SM to the class denotes the class for Individual Medley.
The range is from the swimmers with severe disability (S1, SB1, SM1) to those with the minimal disability (S10, SB9, SM10)
In any one class some swimmers may start with a dive or in the water depending on their condition. This is factored in when classifying the athlete.
The examples are only a guide – some conditions not mentioned may also fit the following classes.
Functional Classification System
S1 SB1 SM1 – Swimmers in this class would usually be wheelchair bound and may be dependent on others for their every day needs.
Examples: Swimmers with very severe coordination problems in four limbs or have no use of their legs, trunk, hands and minimal use of their shoulders only.
Usually only swim on their back.
S2 .SB1 SM2
Examples: Swimmer able to use their arms with no use of their hands, legs or trunk or have severe co-ordination problems in 4 limbs.
S3 SB2 SM3
Examples: Swimmers with reasonable arm strokes but no use of their legs or trunk; swimmers with severe coordination problems in all limbs and swimmers with severe limb loss to four limbs.
S4 SB3 SM4
Examples: Swimmers who use their arms and have minimal weakness in their hands but have no use of their trunk or legs; swimmers with coordination problems affecting all limbs but predominantly in the legs; swimmers with limb loss to 3 limbs.
S5 SB4 SM5
Examples: Swimmers with full use of their arms and hands but no trunk or leg muscles; swimmers with coordination problems;
S6 SB5 SM6
Examples: Swimmers with full use of their arms and hands with some trunk control but no useful leg muscles; swimmers with coordination problems (usually these athletes walk); swimmers with major limb loss of 2 limbs; Little People (< 130cm)
S7 SB6 SM7
Examples: Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with some leg function; coordination or weakness problems on the same side of the body; major limb loss of 2 limbs.
S8 SB7 SM8
Examples: Swimmers with full use of their arms and trunk with some leg function; limb loss of 2 limbs; swimmers with the use of one arm only
S9 SB8 SM9
Unless there is an underlying medical condition usually all of these athletes will start out of the water.
Examples: Swimmers with severe weakness in one leg only; swimmers with very slight coordination problems; swimmers with one limb loss
S10 SB9 SM10
Examples: Swimmers with very minimal weakness affecting the legs; swimmers with restriction of hip joint movement; swimmers with both feet deformed; swimmers with minor limb loss of part of a limb.
Visually Impaired Classes
S11 = These swimmers are unable to see at all and are considered totally blind. They must wear blackened goggles if they swim in this class. They will also require someone to tap them when they are approaching a wall.
S12 = These swimmers can recognise the shape of a hand and have some ability to see. There is a large range of vision ability within this class.
S13 = Swimmers who are the most sighted but are legally considered to be blind.
S14 = Swimmers who have a recognised intellectual impairment according to international standards as recognised by the World Health Organisation i.e. IQ testing of 75 and below.
S15 = Swimmers with a hearing impairment of 55 db and better in the better ear.
S16 = Swimmers with an organ or bone transplant
Swimmers With A Disability