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Buda Mendes/CPB

Swimming has been part of the Paralympic programme since the first edition of the Games in Rome 1960. At first, only athletes with spinal cord injuries took part. However, after some time, the sport also started including athletes with physical, visual and intellectual disabilities.

Brazil started to show its strength in swimming in Stoke Mandeville (1984), year when the country scooped up a gold, five silver and a bronze. Another great year in terms of results was 2004 in Athens, when the country won seven gold medals (six of them scooped up by Clodoaldo Silva), three silver and a bronze. In the following years more victories: Daniel Dias won nine medals alone in Beijing, four of them gold. In London, he won six gold medals.

In total, Brazil has won 83 medals in Paralympic Games, 28 of them gold, 27 silver and 28 bronze. Swimming is the sport that has brought the second highest number of medals home for Brazil, losing only to athletics (109).

Some of the International Swimming Federation (FINA) rules are adapted for Paralympic events. Depending on the disability, athletes may start in the water, sitting on or beside the platform. There are also cases when athletes are assisted by their coaches or a volunteer at the start. Among visually impaired athletes, the so-called tappers stand at the end of the pool and use a pole to tap swimmers, warning them when to turn and end the race. In these cases, athletes wear blackened goggles, to ensure a level playing field.


Swimmers are put into a category between 1 and 10, with 1 corresponding to the most severe types of disability (S – swimming; SB – breaststroke; SM – medley):

S1 to S10 / SB 1 to SB9 / SM1 to SM1
Athletes with limited physical movement

S11, SB11, SM11, S12, SB12, SM12, S13, SB13, SM13
Visually impaired athletes (classification the same as judo and five-a-side football)

S14, SB14, SM14
Athletes with intellectual disabilities

*Source: Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB)

The events

There are men and women events:

- 50m, 100m, 200, 400m freestyle;
- 50m and 100m butterfly;
- 50m and 100m breaststroke;
- 50m and 100m backstroke;
- 150m and 200m medley;
- Relays.


No extra help

Amputees are not allowed to use prostheses in swimming. Competitors are only allowed to use their own body when they go into the pool.

See also

Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB)

International Paralympic Committee (IPC)