Parapan Swimming

Swimming - Parapan Am

Swimming - Parapan Am

Medal Events

Men's - 50m Freestyle

S3 (S1-3)S4S5S6S7S8S9S10S11S12S13

Men's - 50m Butterfly


Men's - 50m Backstroke

S4 (S1-4)S5

Men's - 50m Breaststroke

SB3 (SB1-3)

Men's - 100m Freestyle

S4 (S1-4)S5S6S7S8S9S10S11S12S13

Men - 100m Butterfly

S8S9S10S13 (S11-13)

Men's - 100m Backstroke

S6S7S8S9 (S9-10)S11S13 (S12-13)S14

Men's - 100m Breaststroke

SB4SB5SB6SB7SB8SB9SB11SB13 (SB12-13)SB14

Men's - 150m Individual Medley

SM4 (SM1-4)

Men's - 200m Freestyle

S5 (S1-5)S14

Men's - 200m Individual Medley

SM6 (SM5-6)SM7SM8SM9SM10SM11SM13 (SM12-13)SM14

Men's - 400m Freestyle

S6S7S8S9S10S13 (S11-13)

Men's - 4x100m Freestyle Relay


Men's - 4x100m Medley Relay


Mixed - 4x50m Freestyle Relay


Women's - 50m Freestyle

S4 (S1-4)S5S6S7S8S9S10S12 (S11-12)

Women's - 50m Butterfly

S5 (S1-5)S7 (S6-7)

Women's - 50m Backstroke

S4 (S1-4)S5

Women's - 50m Breaststroke

SB3 (SB1-3)

Women's - 100m Freestyle

S4 (S1-4)S5S6S7S8S9S10, S12 (S11-12)S13

Women's - 100m Butterfly

S10 (S8-10)

Women's - 100m Backstroke

S6S7S8S9S10S13 (S11-13)S14

Women's - 100m Breaststroke

SB5 (SB4-5)SB6SB7SB8SB9SB13 (SB11-13)SB14

Women's - 150m Individual Medley

SM4 (SM1-4)

Women's - 200m Freestyle

S4 (S1-4)S14

Women's - 200m Individial Medley

SM6 (SM5-6)SM8 (SM7-8)SM10 (SM9-10)SM14

Women's - 400m Freestyle

S6S8 (S7-8)S9S10S13 (S11-13)

Photo Gallery

Sport Overview

Swimming is one of the longest-standing sports for athletes with a disability, and has been part of the Paralympic Games since their inception in 1960 and the Parapan Am Games in 1999.

Athletes can have a physical, visual or intellectual impairment. Rules are modified to include optional starting platforms, in-water starts for some athletes or the use of signals or “tappers” with knowing where the end of the lane is (for turning and for the end of the race) for those athletes with visual impairments. No prostheses or assistive devices are permitted in the pool.

Brazil came first and Mexico second in the total swimming medal count at the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan Am Games.


History has shown that the sport of aquatics 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 a disability, and has been part of the Paralympic Games since their inception in 1960 and the Parapan Am Games in 1999.

How it works

Swimming races incorporate the techniques of breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke and freestyle, and are contested at distances of 50 metres, 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres. Swimming is a timed competition—the first athlete or team (relay) to touch the timing pad at the end of the last lap wins.

Swimmers may begin in the water, sitting on the starting platform or standing. Swimmers who are blind wear blackened goggles to ensure a level playing field. They also have assistance with knowing where the end of their lane is (for turning and for the end of the race) by tappers. Athletes are classified based on their degree of function to perform each stroke. Prosthetic devices are not permitted.



A combination event in which the swimmer or team swims legs of butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle (usually front crawl).

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.



Physical impairment
Visual impairment
Intellectual impairment

Sport classes

The sport class names in swimming consist of a prefix “S,” “SM,” or “SB” and a number. The prefixes stand for the strokes and the number indicates the sport classes.

  • S: freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events
  • SB: breaststroke
  • SM: individual medley

Sport Classes S/SB/SM1 to S/SB/SM10: physical impairment

There are ten different sport classes for athletes with physical impairment, numbered 1-10. A lower number indicates a more severe activity limitation than a higher number.

Athletes with different impairments compete against each other, because sport classes are allocated based on the impact the impairment has on swimming, rather than on the impairment itself.

To evaluate the impact of impairments on swimming, classifiers assess all functional body structures using a point system and ask the athlete to complete a water assessment. The total number of points then determines the athlete’s S and SB sport classes. Due to the different demands of S and SB events, swimmers are often allocated different S and SB sport classes. The SM sport class is calculated from the S and SB sport class.

Sport Classes 11 -13: Visual Impairment

Classes 11-13 are allocated to swimmers with a visual impairment. Class 11 will have little or no vision; Class 12 can recognize the shape of a hand and have some ability to see; Class 13 will have greater vision than the other two classes but less than 20 degrees of vision.

Sport Classes 14: Intellectual impairment

S14 swimmers have an intellectual impairment, which typically leads to the athletes having difficulties with regards to pattern recognition, sequencing, and memory, or having a slower reaction time, which impact on sport performance in general. Moreover, S14 swimmers show a higher number of strokes relative to their speed than able-bodied elite swimmers.

Additional Information

Additional Information