Since the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960, swimming has been one of the main sports of the Paralympics. As in the Olympic Games, competitors measure their skills in freestyle, backstroke, butterfly, breaststroke and medley events, but are classified based on their functional ability to perform each stroke.
Disabled swimming rules differ very little from non-disabled swimming. Depending on the impairment, some swimmers may start with a dive or in the water. Visually impaired swimmers may have an assistant who will tap them from the end of the pool to warn them that they are approaching the turn or finish of the race.
Open to men and women in all disability groups, swimming is a fantastic sport to develop all your muscle groups and create a high level of general fitness. From Learn to Swim through to High Performance programmes, recreational swimming to competitive, the sport offers opportunities to New Zealanders of all abilities.
At the sharp end of the sport, competitive swimmers must make every second count and drills, effort and focus are mandatory. Every swim is a crucial stepping-stone to the next and a high level of fitness and mental resilience is expected.
There are also plenty of opportunities for those people who want to swim for enjoyment, for the personal challenge or for the health benefits.
Swimming New Zealand is the National organisation that represents swimming and is dedicated to ensuring every New Zealander swims to their potential.