'The Golden Couple'

Sascha Kindred and Nyree Lewis, otherwise known as the 'golden couple' of disabled sport, are two of Great Britain's most successful paralympians of the last decade, amassing 20 Paralympic medals between them including an amazing 8 golds. I am the brother of Sascha and am tracking their progress from Athens 2004 to London 2012. Read about their journey to Paralympic Glory here!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Understanding Classifications

Unsure how people with different disabilities can swim against one another? Well don't be. It's actually quite simple and i've put together some basic information below which should help make it easier to understand the classifications of disabled athletes in swimming.

Swimming Classification

The classification process, co-ordinated by the
ASA, entails the assessment of a swimmer's functional mobility by IPC Swimming trained classifiers. The process involves a bench test and water test and takes no more than one hour. This type of classification also enables the identification of stroke exemptions applicable to an individual swimmer.

Swimming is the only sport that combines the conditions of limb loss, cerebral palsy (coordination and movement restrictions), spinal cord injury (weakness or paralysis involving any combination of the limbs) and other disabilities (such as Dwarfism (little people); major joint restriction conditions) across classes.
  • Classes 1-10 – are allocated to swimmers with a physical disability
  • Classes 11-13 – are allocated to swimmers with a visual disability
  • Class 14 – is allocated to swimmers with an intellectual disability

The Prefix S to the Class denotes the class for Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly
The Prefix SB to the class denotes the class for Breaststroke
The Prefix SM to the class denotes the class for Individual Medley.

The range is from the swimmers with severe disability (S1, SB1, SM1) to those with the minimal disability (S10, SB9, SM10).

In any one class some swimmers may start with a dive or in the water depending on their condition. This is factored in when classifying the athlete.

The examples are only a guide - some conditions not mentioned may also fit the following classes.

Full breakdown of classifications (http://www.sportcentric.com/vmgmt/vfilemgmt/page/filedownload/1,8202,5026-49221-97732-0-file,00.pdf)

Sascha

S6 (Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly)
SB7 (Breaststroke)
SM6 (Individual Medley)

Nyree

S6 (Freestyle, Backstroke and Butterfly)
SB5 (Breastsroke)
SM6 (Individual Medley)

Sascha and Nyree have very similar classifications as they both have cerebral palsy which affects two limbs on their body, Sascha with his right arm and right leg, and Nyree with both her legs. The only different is when you compare the breaststroke classification in which Sascha has a higher classification as he has more power in his legs, and breaststroke is a stroke in which much of the power comes from the legs.

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