Paralympic Swimming

Swimming has been part of the Paralympic Games since the beginning in Rome in 1960. In Paralympic Swimming there are a few exceptions to the rules of the International Swimming Federation.

Swimming is open to all disability groups. These include swimmers with spinal cord injuries, with cerebral palsey, with amputations and with a progressive disease. Prosthesis are not allowed to be used. Blind swimmers are allowed a “Tapper”. A tapper is someone at the end of the pool that taps the pool to signal to the swimmer that they are near the edge of the pool and need to turn around or that the race has finished. Blind swimmers are also required to wear blackened out goggles. 

Swimmers are divided into three groups depending on their disability. Groups 1 to 10 are people with a physical impairment, 11 to 13 are those with a visual impairment. Group 14 is for those with mental disabilities. Group 1 is the severest of disabilities. In competition a number is combined with a letter depending on the event type. An “S” prefix is used for Freestyle, SB is used for Breaststroke and SM is used for Medley.

Paralympic Swimming has the same swimming strokes as able bodied swimming. These are Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly.


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Freestyle:  This is the most common swimming style. In freestyle, any of the unregulated strokes can be used. These are front crawl, dog paddle and sidestroke. The rules of freestyle are: the wall needs to be touched at every turn and upon completion. Some part of the swimmers body must break the surface of the water throughout the race, apart from the first 15 metres and at every turn.

Paralympic Backstroke

Backstroke:  This is also known as the back crawl. This is the only stroke that starts in the pool. With this swimming stroke the swimmer lies flat on their back, arms stretched with fingertips extended, and legs extended backwards. In backstroke the arms alternate so that one arm is underwater while the other arm is recovering. The arms contribute most of the forward (er, backward ?) movement. The leg movement in the backstroke only makes a small contribution to the speed. The legs also move alternatively. Breathing in backstroke is easier as the mouth and nose are above water. The body of the swimmer in backstroke moves on its own axis due to the movement of the arms.


Paralympic Breaststroke

Breaststroke: This stroke is the slowest of all strokes. The swimmer remains on their chest and the torso doesn’t rotate. The technique of the breaststroke uses the arms and the legs. When using the arms during the breaststroke they go through three steps. The three steps are known as Outsweep, Insweep and Recovery. During Outsweep the hands sink down into the water with the palms facing inward. The hands then rotate outwards and move apart. The arms of the swimmer stay almost straight and parallel to the surface. Outsweep is then followed by the Insweep. This is when the hands of the swimmer point down and push the water backwards. When the hands go into the recovery position, the hands are moved forward again, but this time underwater. The movement of the legs sometimes known as “frog kick,” has two phases to it. The two phases are the thrust phase and the insweep phase. In preparation for the thrust phase the feet are brought together. The legs of the swimmer are then stretched out backwards, while the feet are moved towards the posterior, while the knees stay together. Before the thrust phase the legs move slowly, but when in the thrust phase the legs move very fast. The goal of this is to produce maximum speed. In the recovery phase of the breaststroke, the lower leg and feet are in the wake of the upper leg and the feet are pointed to the rear.

Paralympic Butterfly

Butterfly:  The Butterfly stroke is by far the most enjoyable and tiresome swimming stroke when the swimmer dives in to the pool to swim the butterfly stroke, the head is aligned with the spine. The face of the swimmer is also looking downwards and not to the other end of the pool like all the other swimming strokes. The arms are then extended to the front and shoulder width apart, the palms are turned downwards. The swimmers legs are kept together, with the knees slightly bent. The feet are flexed and the point away from the body. To begin the butterfly stroke, hold your legs together and extend your arms above your head. Then with your legs, kick them in a whipping motion, this is generated from the hips and the bending of the knees. Then simultaneously pull both your arms through the water symmetrically and along with a big kick should propel your body forward and out of the water. As you are pulling yours arms from the water, lift your head and breathe. Then swing your arms forward and as they re-enter the water together, they do so in a diving motion. Before carrying out another butterfly stroke, glide momentarily while performing a smaller follow up kick. Then using your arms execute another pull through motion while your legs are performing a full kick to propel you up and out of the water again.

Freestyle Swimming

Backstroke

Swimming is very enjoyable either on your own or with a group of friends. It is also good exercise. It is an activity that benefits the body and mind. It benefits the body by working all of the muscles in the body. This is the case if a variety of strokes is used. Swimming can also help develop a swimmers strength, cardiovascular fitness, and endurance. Swimming can also help a person psychologically. If the swimmer allows themselves to relax while swimming and let their mind wander, this type of meditation can help a person gain a feeling of well-being. Swimming can also help a person develop life skills which include sportsmanship, time management, self discipline, goal-setting, and self worth. Swimmers use many pieces of equipment. These items include swimsuit, goggles, nose and ear plugs, swim cap, swim bag, and a towel.

Breaststroke

Butterfly



If you are looking for books on swimming, swim suits, nose clips, ear plugs, or goggles, we have them here.  Instead of having to wade through Amazon's huge catalogue, we have created and refined product lists for you.  If you buy items through these links, we will earn a small commission from the sale, and it will be at NO extra cost to you.

You may buy from either shop regardless of your location, but extra delivery charges may apply if international delivery results.


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