Welcome to the PNSC home of para-swimming

Para-swimming is pool swimming for swimmers with a range of impairments, including physical, visual, intellectual and hearing impairments. The Club has a very successful track record of training and supporting para-swimmers. If you would like further information, please e-mail us on [email protected] 

 You can also find further information on the Swim England Para-swimming Competitive Swimming Hub. You can learn more about the Swim England Talent Programme, which helps the best young para-swimmers in the country reach their potential in search of competing at the Paralympic Games.


 This is a brief overview of classification in the sport and is in no way legally binding. In all cases the sport-specific classification rules will take precedence. For further questions please contact [email protected] 


 In order to safeguard the integrity of fair competition, all Para sports have a system in place which aims to ensure that winning is determined by sporting factors such as skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus, the same factors that account for success in sport for able bodied athletes. This system is called classification. Through classification, it is determined which athletes are eligible to compete in a sport and how those athletes are then grouped together for competition, in order to minimise the impact of those athletes’ impairments on sport performance. Classification is sport-specific because an impairment affects the ability to perform in different sports to a different extent. As a consequence, an athlete may meet the criteria to compete in one sport, but may not meet the criteria in another sport. Having an impairment is thus not sufficient for an athlete to compete in Para sport. The groupings of athletes by the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairments are called ‘Sport Classes’. 


 The details of classification in Para swimming are set out in the World Para Swimming Classification Rules and Regulations (link). To be eligible to compete in Para swimming, a person must have an eligible impairment and meet the minimum impairment criteria set out in the World Para Swimming Classification Rules and Regulations. Eligible Impairments for Para Swimming World Para Swimming caters for three impairment groups - physical, intellectual and vision impairment. There are 10 eligible impairment types in Para swimming:


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

  • S: freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events 
  • SB: breaststroke 
  • SM: individual medley. The prefix “SM” is given to athletes competing in individual medley events. It is not a sports class, but an entry index and calculated as (3xS + SB)/4; for classes S1-4 who have a 3-discipline medley, the formula is (2S + SB)/3).