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Para Swimming

Since the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960, swimming has been one of the main sports of the Paralympics. As in the Olympic Games, competitors measure their skills in freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and medley events. In 2009, athletes from more than 80 countries practice the sport, with male and female competitors having either a physical disability or blindness/visual impairment. Athletes are classified based on their functional ability to perform each stroke.

Swimming is governed by the IPC and co-ordinated by the IPC Swimming Technical Committee, which incorporates the rules of the International Swimming Federation (FINA). The FINA rules are followed with a
few modifications, such as optional platform or in-water starts for some races and the use of signals or ‘tappers’ for swimmers with blindness/visual impairment; however, no prostheses or assistive devices are permitted.


Paralympic Swimming Programme Contact:


Head Performance Coach - Swim

Jon Shaw





Paralympics New Zealand


IPC Swimming







Classification provides a structure for competition. Athletes competing in Paralympic sports have an impairment that leads to a competitive disadvantage in sport.

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Exception Codes

The current codes for exceptions are as follows

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IPC Swimming Rules and Regulations

Following the 2013 Sport Forum, Fina rule changes and input received from various members at different competitions as well as from the Sport Technical Committee, IPC Swimming is proud to present the Rules and Regulations 2014-2017.

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