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Classification

The Swimming Classification System

Classification is used to place athletes of similar ability or function into groups for the purpose of competition. Classification exists in other areas of sport such as weight classes in boxing and handicaps in golf. Classification in sport for people with disability considers an athlete’s medical condition and physical, sensory and cognitive attributes to group them into classes. Classification is designed to ensure a fair environment for elite competition. In Australia classification is used to ensure fair and meaningful competition at all levels.

Download the Classification System Overview [pdf]

Classification is not a requirement for general participation in swimming and all swimmers are also encouraged to participate and compete in mainstream opportunities where appropriate.

The following information is a guide only. For full details refer to the Swimming Australia Classification Policy and Procedures Manual.

 

Get Classified

There are 16 classes in the swimming classification system which caters for a range of disabilities. Each class has minimum eligibility requirements and swimmers must undergo specific Athlete Evaluation or Eligibility process to obtain a classification. Swimmers receive a class for each stroke discipline, and a prefix indicates which stroke the class applies to;

 

Swimmers are assessed through physical testing and water observations. Muscle strength, movement co-ordination, joint range of movement and limb/trunk length contribute to the allocation of classes. Classes range from swimmers with most significant physical impairment (Class 1) to those with minimal impairment (Class 10).

Download the Physical Impairment Classification Guide [pdf]

To register for Athlete Evaluation contact your State Swimming Association or complete the expression of interest form on the APC website here (external website)

 

Ranges from Class 11 for swimmers who are blind to Class 13 for swimmers who are legally blind (i.e. acuity less than or equal to 6/60 or visual filed less than 20 degrees).

Download the Vision Impairment Classification Guide [pdf]

To register for Athlete Evaluation contact your state APC Development Officer (external website) or complete the expression of interest form on the APC website here (external website)

 

Swimmers with an IQ score of 75 or less; with significant limitations in adaptive behavior expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills; acquired prior to 18 years of age.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: There are changes to the Eligibilty process for New and Provisional Class 14 swimmers. Click the links below for information.

Download the Intellectual Impairment Classification Guide [pdf] (under review)

To complete the Athlete Eligibility Application contact your State Swimming Association or visit the AUSRAPID website here (external website)

 

Swimmers who have a recognized hearing impairment according to the following ICSD standards; deaf, defined as a hearing loss of at least 55dB in the better ear 3FAHL.

Download the Hearing Impairment Classification Guide [pdf]

Download and complete the Audiogram Form [pdf]

 

Any person having undergone invasive treatment of a non-cosmetic nature requiring organs and/or tissues (excluding blood) donated by another person.

Download the Transplant Classification Guide [pdf]

Download and complete the Transplant Eligibility Application Form [pdf]

 

Exceptions to the swimming rules

Some swimmers are entitled to receive exceptions to the swimming rules and other considerations based on their classification. The exceptions prevent classified swimmers from being disqualified during Multi Class (MC) competition. These exceptions are determined during the classification process and are identified by a system of codes known as the Swimming Codes of Exceptions.

Starts

  • W WATER START
  • F FEET START
  • H HEARING IMPAIRED LIGHT, SIGNAL OR TOUCH REQUIRED
  • Y STARTING DEVICE
  • E UNABLE TO GRIP FOR BACKSTROKE START
  • A ASSISTANCE REQUIRED
  • T TAPPERS
  • B BLACKENED GOGGLES
  • G PROTHESIS/GLASS EYES
  • Z MEDICAL/LIFEGUARD ALERT

During Swimming

  • 0 NIL EXCEPTIONS
  • 1 ONE HAND START
  • 2 RIGHT HAND TOUCH
  • 3 LEFT HAND TOUCH
  • 4 RIGHT HAND TOUCH WITH SIMULTANEOUS INTENT TO TOUCH WITH OTHER
  • 5 LEFT HAND TOUCH WITH SIMULTANEOUS INTENT TO TOUCH WITH OTHER
  • 6 SIMULTANEOUS INTENT TO TOUCH
  • 7 PART OF UPPER BODY MUST TOUCH
  • 8 RIGHT FOOT MUST TURN OUT
  • 9 LEFT FOOT MUST TURN OUT
  • 12 LEG DRAG OR SHOW INTENT TO KICK
  • + BUTTERFLY KICK IS ABLE TO BE PERFORMED

Download the Swimming Codes of Exceptions [pdf]

To assist Technical Officials in competition Swimming Codes of Exceptions swing tags have been produced. Request one from your State Swimming Association.

 

National Sport Class Status

All Classes are allocated a Sport Class Status which indicates conditions of a swimmers classification. The status may affect the level of Multi Class competition a swimmer can compete in and if a swimmer’s classification needs to be reviewed. Status is allocated at the completion of the Athlete Evaluation Process. For more details see the relevant Classification Guide or the Classification Policy and Procedures


National Classification Master List

The National Classification Master List is the official record of all Australian classified swimmers and is managed by Swimming Australia in agreement with classification system partners. Swimming Australia makes public certain classification information to assist athletes, coaches and meet organisers (e.g. swimmer name, state, date of birth, classes and status).

Download the Swimming Classification Master List (updated 10/09/2013) [Excel] [pdf]

Contact your State Swimming Association for enquiries.


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