Introducing para-swimming competitions

From school-based competitions right up to the Paralympic Games, there is a wide range of para-swimming competitions available for swimmers with disabilities.

The first step for many swimmers is to compete in impairment-specific swimming championships, run by National Disability Sport Organisations such as British Blind SportCerebral Palsy SportDwarf Sports AssociationWheelpower and LimbPower.

These are the perfect place for newcomers to get a taste of competition, swimming alongside athletes with similar impairments.

If they are members of the ASA through a club, swimmers with disabilities will be encouraged to compete alongside non-disabled swimmers in open meets from theASA Licensed Meets calendar.


Multi-Classification Races

It is a requirement of county, regional and national meets in the ASA calendar to include multi-classification para-swimming competitions for classes S1 – S14.

Multi-classification races, known as MC races, are where para-swimmers compete against rivals from different classifications and receive a points scored based on how close they are to the existing British record.

Positions are determined based on relative performance rather than time.


Regional and National Para-Swimming Competitions

There are also regional and national para-swimming competitions held specifically for swimmers with disabilities in England.

Each of the ASA Regions runs Para-Swimming Championships that provide an opportunity for swimmers with a physical, visual, learning or hearing impairment.

Regional and national para-swimming competitions will include MC races, although hearing impaired swimmers (S15) will be awarded separate medals and are not included in the MC points rankings.

British Swimming and the English Federation of Disability Sport also offer national competitions open to swimmers with a current national or international physical, visual or intellectual (S1-14) classification.


Certificate of Swimming Disability

The purpose of the certificate of swimming disability is to ensure that swimmers who are disabled but not classified are not  disqualified for performing a stroke incorrectly due to their disability.

To be eligible for a certificate of swimming disability, a swimmer must:

  • Have not yet been classified
  • Not wish to undergo classification
  • Not fit the Physical Classification System

Certification will only be given to swimmers who are ASA/SASA/WASA members with a permanent disability and not to swimmers suffering from short term incapacity.

The certificate is valid for two years and will need to be reapplied for.

To obtain a certificate a swimmer should download the application form and return to the address stated along with a record of the problem and proof of the disability from a physiotherapist, GP or hospital consultant.

A laminated certificate will then be issued for presentation to the referee before the start of a race.

  • Click here to download the application form for a certificate of swimming disability.