Para Swimming

Para Swimming is the sport term used for swimmers with a physical, visual or intellectual impairment.  The first step towards being a para swimmer is to join a swimming program.  Once able to swim and race the next step is for a swimmer is to be classified.

If you have questions regarding para swimming, please contact Swim Alberta

Classification Information

Classification identifies the swimmers abilities.  Swimmers must have an eligible impairment in order to be classified.  There are four classification levels; Level 1 (introductory); Level 2 (provincial), Level 3 (national) and International.

The steps to classification are different based on the swimmers impairment (physical, visual or intellectual)

Swimmers with a visual or intellectual impairment can request classification based on a submission of paperwork. Request Classification

The first step for all swimmers with a physical impairment is to complete a level one classification which identifies swimmers as a para swimmer and provides the swimmer rule exceptions when appropriate. Request Classification

For swimmers aged 12 and older with a physical impairment to be classified at Level 2 (provincial) they will need to attend an in person classifications which in Alberta is done every November as a part of the Para Swimming Camp.  These swimmers should be swimming competitively, meaning attending sanctioned swim meets.  Swimmers with a physical impairment should be able to swim a 200m IM in competition.  During classification they will be expected to swim at least 150m of each stroke at race pace broken into skills of kick, pull and swim.  Request Classification

Once a swimmer is classified they will be identified by a series of numbers and letters that relate to their abilities for each stroke.  For more information about each classification go to the Lexi.Global website.

Physical Classifications = 1-10
Visual Classifications = 11-13
Cognitive Classification = 14

S = Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly
SB = Breaststroke
SM = Individual Medley

Once a swimmer is classified their information will be available on Swimming Canada's classification database so that meet managers and officials can confirm any rule exceptions for the swimmer.

Competitions for Para Swimmers

The first competitions for Para swimmers will be club meets.  Once a swimmer has achieves their provincial para time standard they will be eligible to attend Swim Alberta's Spring and Summer Championships.  The next level of competition is the Can-Am level which is the equivalent of Para Nationals.


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