Swimming, suitable for people with various types of impairment, can strengthen body muscles. It comprises Freestyle, Breaststroke, Butterfly Stroke and Backstroke. Swimming has been a Paralympic sport since the first Paralympic Games held in Rome in 1960.
Para swimming is categorized into three main groups with physical, visual and intellectual impairment. Visually impaired athletes are classified into S11, S12 and S13 according to their degree of vision loss. Intellectually impaired athletes are classified under S14. Physically impaired athletes are classified into S1-S10 in Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly Stroke, SB1-SB9 in Breaststroke and SM1-SM10 for Individual Medley. A higher class number indicates a lower level of impairment.
Para swimming competitions shall be held in pools meeting the standards set by FINA. Athletes can either start their race on the starting platform or in the water with one hand touching the pool wall according to their degree of impairment. Visually impaired athletes are required to have an assistant to help him/her as he or she approaches the swimming pool end wall (either to make a turn or for the finish of the race) by touching the back of the athlete with a tapper. Events of different swimming styles are competed by gender and organized in the terms of individual, relay and medley. The shortest competition distance is 50m and the longest is 400m.
For more details, please visit the website of World Para Swimming: https://www.paralympic.org/swimming.