Parapan American Games

Para swimming

Para swimming

Para swimming

Para swimming is a sport for athletes with different kinds of impairments. Para swimmers are classified based on their degree of function to perform each stroke. Men and women compete in different events. Swimming races include distances of 50 m and 400 m freestyle, as well as 50 m to 100 m butterfly. Medley events feature 150 m and 200 m races. The winning teams on relay competitions are chosen by their score and a limitation in the pre-established points in the classification stage.

Some details

Swimming races include the techniques of breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke and freestyle, and are contested at distances of 50 m, 100 m, 200 m and 400 m. Moreover, competitions are timed: the first Para athlete or team (relay) to touch the timing pad at the end of the last lap wins.

Para swimmers may begin in the water, sitting on the starting platform or standing. Contestants who are blind wear blackened goggles to ensure a fair competition. In order to help them know where their lane ends and turn around or finish the race, they have the support of a tapper (support staff that provides them with signals). Para athletes are classified based on their degree of function to perform each stroke. Prosthetic devices are not allowed.

History

History has shown that aquatic sports had an early start: Egyptian hieroglyphics discovered from the Stone Age showed people swimming. Swimming is one of the longest-standing sports for athletes with impairments and has been part of the Parapan Am Games since 1999.

Terminology

Medley: A combination event in which the swimmer or team swims legs of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle (usually front crawl).
Tapper: A tapper may be required by a swimmer with a visual impairment to let them know they are approaching the end of the lane. The tapper uses a long stick to tap the swimmer when they get close to the end of the lane.

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