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.

Competitions for Para Swimmers

The first competitions for Para swimmers will be club meets.  Once a swimmer has achieves their Alberta ‘A’ para standard they will be eligible to attend the provincial meets.  Age Group swimmers (aged 14 & under) attend the Age Group Championships in March and July.  Para Swimmers aged 15 & over attend the Alberta Open Series in January and July.  The next level of competition is the Can-Am level which is the equivalent of Para Nationals.

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)

In Alberta physical classifications are done every November as a part of the Para Swimming Camp.

Swimmers aged 10 & under may be classified as a Level 1 (introductory) classifiction for the purposes of having rule exceptions.

Swimmers aged 11 and older with a physical impairment may be classified at Level 2 (provincial).  These swimmers should already be swimming and be attending sanctioned swim meets.  Swimmers with a physical impairment need to be able to swim a 100m IM continuously, for extreme physical impairments this may mean 75m IM continuously.  Each of the swimmers strokes must be recognizable.

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.

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.


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