August 4, 2013
Adaptive swimming as a competitive event dates back to the first Paralympic games in 1960 in Rome, Italy.
The sport offers itself to fourteen different classes of disability—one of the widest ranges of athletes in the entire adaptive sporting world.
Due to popularity among recreational and athlete participants, there are many adaptive sports groups available to help. Find an adaptive sports group near you <– by clicking the orange link.
The breakdown of these fourteen classes is as follows: 10 different physical impairment classes, 3 visual impairment classes (from the minimum eligible visual impairment to complete loss of sight), and 1 intellectual impairment class.
There are many events contested within each class, which means that there are many possible events for athletes to compete in!
With respect to local competition, many states allow and encourage individuals with disabilities to compete with able-bodied athletes in swim competitions. As referenced in a previous blog post about adaptive recreational swimming these opportunities exist on virtually all levels of competition – from YMCA clubs to high school and collegiate teams, all to professional ranks.
In these competitions, swimmers compete within their age-group but accommodations can be made so that the adaptive athletes are confident and in no way discouraged from participation.
Adaptive competitive swimming exists on the international level, as well, and can be found in such venues as the Paralympics (held following the Olympic games) and the IPC World Championships.
In order to participate, athletes such as Paralympic multiple-medalist and ESPY winner, Mallory Weggemann, need to meet qualifying standards in order to represent their country at these championships. Meeting these standards and competing on this elite, international stage is by no means a small feat. These adaptive athletes must drive themselves year-round to train rigorously.
The passion, dedication, and tenacity that these world-class athletes exhibit in their training and competitions serve as a source of inspiration to many. These adaptive athletes show us that their passions and dreams cannot be limited by whatever “limitation” they may have.
Their widespread influence can be seen in Make a Hero’s Athlete Ambassador Olympic Superstar Swimmer Missy Franklin, who claims that these athletes serve as an inspiration as she trains and competes at her own elite level. Keep an eye out for her feature on The HERO Blog, Friday, August 9th …
What did you learn about adaptive swimming that you did not know before?
What else would you like to share with us about adaptive swimming?
Thank you for commenting below!
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