Impairment Specific Information

Here you will find more information on the classification impairment groups within Disability Swimming.

For those with a physical impairment (S1-S10) classification is co-ordinated by British Para-Swimming.

Download the Physical Classification Application Form here

Swimmers with a Visual Impairment (S11-S13) can apply for a national classification through British Blind Sport (BBS).

Download the Sight Classification Form here

For athletes with an intellectual impairment (S14) in Scotland classification is co-ordinated by Scottish Disability Sport (SDS).

Download the SDS Classification Policy here

Deaf swimmers (S15) can apply for national classification through the GB Deaf Swimming Club

For more information regarding S15 classification contact the GB Deaf Swimming Club directly

If you still have a query, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help.

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S1-S10, SB1-SB9, SM1-SM10

In the case of swimmers with a physical impairment, classification is based on several factors including; muscle strength, movement co-ordination, joint range of movement and/or limb length.

Functional classification involves assessment through:

A physical bench test (carried out by a medical classifier)
A technical water test (assessed by a technical classifier), and
Observation in a competitive environment.

Functional classification is co-ordinated nationally by British Para-Swimming and internationally by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The national system mirrors IPC's classification process to ensure continuity throughout the sport.

There are ten classes allocated for swimmers with a functional impairment ranging from severe impairment (S1) to minimal impairment (S10).

Swimmers with different impairments will compete against each other however the impact of their impairment on swim performance will be similar.

Swimmers with a visual impairment are classified nationally by British Blind Sport (BBS) and internationally by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). There are three classes of visually impaired swimmers categorized by visual acuity and/or field of vision.

S11, SB11, SM11

These swimmers are unable to see at all or have a visual acquity of up to LogMAR = 2.60. Swimmers in the S11 class must wear blackened goggles during competition, they will also require someone to tap them when they are approaching a wall for turning and finishing.

S12, SB12, SM12

These swimmers are unable to recognize the orientation of a 40M Single Tumbling E ata distance of 1m (STE LogMAR=1.60) or has a visual field constricted to a diameter of 10 degrees or less. These athletes may choose to have someone who taps them as they approach the wall at the turn and the finish.

S13, SB13, SM13

Swimmers in the S13 classification will have a visual acquity less than or equal to LogMAR=1.00 (6/60) presented at a distance of 1m or have a visual field constricted to less than or equal to 40 degrees. Athletes in the S13 classification are not permitted to use tappers at turns or the finish.

S14, SB14, SM14

Swimmers who have a recognised intellectual impairment , as recognised by the World Health Organisation, of an IQ less than 75 and sport specific eligibility criteria requiring evidence of significant limitations in adaptive behaviour and proof of onset pre 18 years of age may be eligible for the S14 classification.

Swimmers with an intellectual impairment have their international classification issued by the International Sports Federation for Persons with an Intellectual Disability (INAS-FID) or nationally by UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability (UKSAPLD) or (UKSA). In Scotland the classification process is managed by Scottish Disability Sport working in partnership with British Para-Swimming.

S15, SB15, SM15

Swimmers who have a recognised hearing impairment according to international standards i.e. minimum hearing loss of 55db, averaged over 500/100/2000 hertz in the better ear.

Classification is done on a national basis by UK Deaf Sport (UKDS) and internationally by the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD).