Skip to content
Share Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Email

Infographics - Para SwimmingIn 1960, since the first Games in Rome, swimming was one of the eight sports practiced and is now one of the most popular sports. The number of participating athletes and countries has been increasing every four years since. Athletes are classified on their functional ability to perform each stroke, and their skills are tested in freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and medley events.

The sport class names in Swimming consist of a prefix “S,” “SM,” or “SB” and a number. The prefixes stand for the strokes and the number indicates the sport classes. The lower number indicates a more severe activity limitation. The prefix “S” stands for Swimming (Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly), “SM” stands for Individual Medley, while “SB” stands for Breaststroke. Although athletes with different impairments compete against each other, the impact of their impairment on swim performance is similar.

Sport Classes S1-10: Physical Impairment


Sport Class S1 SB1 SM1

  • Significant loss of muscle power or control in legs, arms and hands
  • Limited trunk control
  • Wheelchair user

Sport Class S2 SB1 SM2

  • Able to use their arms but cannot use their hands, legs or trunk or have severe coordination problems in all limbs

Sport Class S3 SB2 SM3

  • Amputations of all four limbs
  • Reasonable arm strokes but cannot use their legs or trunk

Sport Class S4 SB3 SM4

  • Able to use their arms and have minimal weakness in their hands, but cannot use their trunk or legs
  • Athletes with amputations of three limbs also swim in this sport class

Sport Class S5 SB4 SM5

  • Short stature
  • Loss of control over one side of their body (hemiplegia) or with paraplegia

Sport Class S6 SB5 SM6

  • Short stature
  • Amputations of both arms or moderate coordination problems on one side of their body

Sport Class S7 SB6 SM7

  • Paralyzed or lost one arm and one leg on opposite sides, or double leg amputations
  • Those who have full control over arms and trunk and some leg function can compete in this class

Sport Class S8 SB7 SM8

  • Lost either both hands or one arm
  • Severe restrictions in the joints of the lower limbs

Sport Class S9 SB8 SM9

  • Joint restrictions in one leg, double below-the knee amputations or an amputation of one leg

Sport Class S10 SB9 SM10

  • Loss of a hand or both feet and a significantly limited function of one hip joint

Sport Classes 11-13: Visual Impairment

Sport Class 11

  • Complete or nearly complete loss of sight
  • Cannot detect light and are unable to detect direction and distance of the hand

Sport Class 12

  • Can detect shape of a hand to with less than 2/60 perception

Sport Class 13

  • Perception higher than 2/60 up to 6/60
  • Can view higher than 5 degrees up to 20 degrees

Sport Class 14

  • Intellectual impairment

Photo credit: Singapore Disability Sport Council

Tournament Rules
Events are conducted as heats for eight competitors per class and the fastest eight swimmers per class compete against each other in the finals. During a swimming event, swimmers who are visually impaired are required to have an assistant to help them approach the swimming pool end wall, either to make a turn or for the finish of the race. These swimmers are also required to wear blackened goggles in all their events.

To ensure a proper start among visually impaired swimmers, the audience must maintain silence until the swimmers pass the false start rope. Any noise like horn and whistle may be misunderstood as a sign of false start.

Sport Singapore Logo

Live Better Through Sport - Sport Singapore recognises the value of sport in advancing the national priorities of developing our people and bonding our communities.


Singapore Sports Council location map

3 Stadium Drive, Singapore 397630