Learn more about Para-Swimming

Swimming has been an event at the Paralympic Games since the event was first held in Rome in 1960. Find out more about this aquatic discipline below.

Para-Swimming is governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Competitors are classified on their functional ability to perform each of the swimming strokes. Athletes are then assigned a category in which they then compete against other swimmers with the same ability. 

The swimmers can be either physically, visually or intellectually impaired and so the rules for Para-Swimming are altered to add starting platforms and in-water starts for athletes that choose to do so. Tappers/signals are also introduced for visually impaired athletes.

Para-Swimming was one of the eight original sports that featured at the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 and has since grown to become one of the largest and most popular sports on the Para-sport calendar. With only 15 countries and 77 participants competing in Swimming at the Paralympic Games in 1960, the sport has seen massive growth and the most recent Paralympic Games in London comprised of 74 countries and 604 participants in the Swimming event. 

Having won 41 gold medals, nine silver and five bronze medals, the USA’s Trischa Zorn is the most successful Paralympian to date. World Championships are also held every two years and the most recent World Para Swimming World Championships was held in Glasgow in 2015. Here, 580 athletes from almost 70 countries competed in 152 medal events.