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Swimming has been an event at the Paralympics Games since the event was first held in Rome in 1960. The British Gas GBR Disability Swimming team has had great medal success at the Paralympics Games over that time and in other major international events. In many ways Great Britain leads the world in participation by disabled swimmers in the sport of swimming.

The great thing about swimming is that it is an inclusive sport and it is not just at Paralympics level that people with a disability can get involved in swimming.

As a club it is our policy to be able to integrate any child or adult that wishes to swim, whether disabled or able-bodied. In Stratford Sharks we do have coaches who hold recognised certificates in working with disabled performers. Our intention is to integrate swimmers with disabilities into our normal teaching and competitive sessions wherever possible. If our programmes are not suited to your disability we do aim to put you in contact with other clubs and organisations that can help and we do have links with other clubs for this reason.

Leamington Dolphins Swimming Club - Swimming for Children with Disabilities

We also have links with and support the Leamington Dolphins Swimming Club in Leamington Spa. Leamington Dolphins is a swimming club specifically for children with disabilities, which meets on a weekly basis at Newbold Comyn Leisure Centre, Leamington Spa.

They welcome children of any age, with any form of disability, to come along with their siblings and parents, and learn to swim in a safe and friendly environment.

They have a fully trained Halliwick coach who will work with new members initially, ensuring that they gain the confidence and the water skills required, before moving on to our ASA instructors, who will then help them to acquire badges and certificates accredited by the ASA.

The Club meets from 5.30 - 6.30pm on Sunday evenings (during term time) with main teaching classes taking place from 5.30 - 6.00, followed by a structured "fun time" from 6.00 - 6.30.

The children and their families have exclusive use of both the leisure and main pool for the first half hour.

For further information, see their website here.

Competition and Classification

Disabled swimmers compete in two types of competitions:

  • Disability specific competitions - swimmers compete against other swimmers of the same classification
  • Multi-Classification competitions - swimmers compete against other swimmers regardless of their classification. In Multi-classification events British Disability Points (BDPs) are used to determine finalists and medallists. Even though disabilities vary the British Disability Swimming Points System ensure the playing field remains level.

Classification is the grouping of athletes in swimming to ensure that there is a fair playing field. There are two types of classification: the functional classification system and the disability specific classification system. Classification groups S1-S15 are for those swimmers with a functional, visual, learning or hearing impairment.

The Functional Classification process is co-ordinated by British Swimming, and is the assessment of a swimmer's functional ability and graded on a scale from S1-S15. 

Competition plans can be put in place in conjunction with Swim England and our Head Coach. Coaching / Training would be tailored to suit the level of disability but we do not have the 'space' for 1-2-1 tuition or separate sessions. In these circumstances we undertake to support any organisation that has a swimming instruction need at whatever level.

Further information about classification for Disability Swimming can be found on British Swimming website here.