A look at the swimming rankings at the Paralympic Games

A look at the different swimming classifications contested at the Paralympic Games

With the Paralympic Games underway in Tokyo, athletes will compete in several categories, depending on their disability. The Paralympic Games have provided a guide to understanding which athletes compete in the different classifications. Here is a breakdown of the different categories.

Sports lesson

The names of sport classes in swimming consist of an “S” or “SB” prefix and a number. The prefixes represent the strokes and the number indicates the sport classes. The prefixes mean:

S: Freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events

SB: breaststroke

SM: individual medley. The prefix “SM” is assigned to athletes participating in individual medley events. It is not a sport class, but an entry index and calculated as (3xS + SB) / 4; For classes S1-4 which have a medley in 3 disciplines, the formula is (2S + SB) / 3).

Sports classes S1-S10: Physical disability

There are 10 different sport classes for athletes with a physical disability, numbered from 1 to 10. A lower number indicates a more severe activity limitation than a higher number. Athletes with different disabilities compete against each other, as sport classes are assigned based on the impact of the disability on swimming, rather than the disability itself.

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

The following are general examples of impairments and resulting functional abilities described in each Sport Class Profile. The combinations below of sport classes S and SB are the most common combinations, but it is possible that this athlete has another combination of sport classes, for example S7 and SB 7.

Explanatory guide to the Paralympic classification:

S1 & SB1

Swimmers in this sport class have a significant loss of power or muscle control in the legs, arms and hands. Some athletes also have limited trunk control. This can be caused by quadriplegia, for example. Swimmers in this class typically use a wheelchair in everyday life.

S2 & SB1

Swimmers in this sport class rely primarily on their arms for swimming. Their function of the hands, trunk and legs is limited due to problems with tritraplegia or coordination, for example.

S3 & SB2

This sport class includes athletes who have had their arms and legs amputated. Swimmers with reasonable arm movements but without the use of their legs or trunk and swimmers with severe coordination problems in all limbs are also included in this sport class.

S4 & SB3

Swimmers who can use their arms and have good hand function, but cannot use their core or legs would swim in this sport class. Athletes with a three limb amputation could also swim in this sport class.

S5 and SB4

Small swimmers with an additional handicap, with loss of control on one side of their body (hemiplegia) or with paraplegia compete in this sport class.

S6 and SB5

This sport class includes swimmers who are short or have amputations of both arms, or moderate problems with coordination on one side of the body, for example.

S7 and SB6

This sport class is for athletes who have had an amputation of a leg and an arm on opposite sides, or paralysis of an arm and a leg on the same side. Additionally, swimmers with full arm and trunk control and some leg function can compete in this class.

S8 and SB7

Swimmers who have had an arm amputation are eligible to compete in this sport class. Additionally, athletes with severe hip, knee and ankle joint restrictions could compete in this sport class.

S9 and SB8

Athletes in this sport class, for example, swim with joint restrictions in one leg or with a double amputation below the knee.

S10 & SB9

This class describes the minimum physical impairments of eligible swimmers. These include the loss of a hand or restriction of movement in a hip joint.

Sport classes S / SB 11-13: Visual impairment

Athletes with a visual impairment compete in three sport classes from S / SB11 (B1) to S / SB13 (B3). In order to ensure fair competition, athletes in the S / SB11 sport class must wear blackened glasses. To ensure safety, all S / SB11 swimmers must use a tapper, but swimmers in the S / SB12 and S / SB13 sport classes can choose whether or not they wish to use one.

Sport Classes S / SB 14: Intellectual Disability

S14 swimmers have an intellectual disability, which typically leads athletes to have difficulty with pattern recognition, sequencing and memory, or slower reaction time, which impacts athletic performance. in general. In addition, S14 swimmers exhibit a higher number of strokes relative to their speed than able-bodied elite swimmers.

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