Swimmers with Disability

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Multi Class Competition

Multi Class (MC) events see swimmers with a range of disabilities, competing in the same race. In order to compete in MC competition swimmers must have an eligible classification. Swimmers race against the world record time in that event for their classification. Event results are determined using the Multi Class Point Score system. The winner of the race is not always who touches the wall first, but the swimmer who posts the highest point score (i.e. a time closest to the world record for their classification). Swimmers may be granted certain exceptions to the normal swimming rules in order to compete fairly. This allows for meaningful and fair competition for all swimmers.

Check the events calendar for details about up-coming MC competitions.

Download the following resources for more information: 


Classification is used to place athletes of similar ability or function into groups for the purpose of competition. Classification considers an athlete’s medical condition and physical, sensory and cognitive attributes to group them into classes. In Australia classification is used to ensure fair and meaningful competition at all levels.

Download the following resources for more information:

Get Classified

Swimming Victoria run 2 Classification Days annually for physical/ functional disabilities ONLY. Swimmers who apply to become classified must be a registered member of an affiliated swimming club (or be planning to register in the near future) with aspirations to compete at Club, District or State or National level. Participants must be able to swim 50m competently.

There are 16 classes in the swimming classification system which caters for a range of disabilities. Each class has minimum eligibility requirements and swimmers must undergo specific Athlete Evaluation or Eligibility process to obtain a classification. Swimmers receive a class for each stroke discipline, and a prefix indicates which stroke the class applies to;

  • The prefix S to the class denotes the class for Freestyle, Backstroke & Butterfly
  • The prefix SB to the class denotes the class for breaststroke
  • The prefix SM to the class denotes the class for Individual Medley

Classes 1-10 - Swimmers with physical impairment

Swimmers are assessed through physical testing and water observations. Muscle strength, movement co-ordination, joint range of movement and limb/trunk length contribute to the allocation of classes. Classes range from swimmers with most significant physical impairment (Class 1) to those with minimal impairment (Class 10).

Classes 11-13 - Swimmers with vision impairment

Ranges from Class 11 for swimmers who are blind to Class 13 for swimmers who are legally blind (i.e. acuity less than or equal to 6/60 or visual filed less than 20 degrees).

Class 14 - Swimmers with intellectual impairment

Swimmers with an IQ score of 75 or less; with significant limitations in adaptive behavior expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills; acquired prior to 18 years of age.

Class 15 - Swimmers with hearing impairment

Swimmers who have a recognized hearing impairment according to the following ICSD standards; deaf, defined as a hearing loss of at least 55dB in the better ear 3FAHL.

Class 16 - Swimmers who have received a transplant

Any person having undergone invasive treatment of a non-cosmetic nature requiring organs and/or tissues (excluding blood) donated by another person.

  • Download the Transplant Classification Guide
  • To apply, obtain a medical certificate form your Transplant Specialist and attach this with your classification card application.

Interested in becoming a Technical or Medical Classifier?

In order to be eligible to become a Classifier the following criteria must be met:

1.     Pre-requisite Qualifications

i.    Medical Classifiers (perform medical assessment)

Currently registered medical professional (physiotherapist or medical doctor); with minimum 5 years clinical experience with people with physical disabilities.

ii.    Technical Classifiers (perform technical assessment)

Must hold a Bachelor or Master degree in sport science/ kinesiology / human movement science/physical education or other equivalent; as well as additional swimming expertise including study in Swimming, current Australian Bronze Swimming Coaching accreditation or other equivalent swimming experience. Holding only a coaching qualification or being an ex-athlete on its own is not sufficient.

2.    Trainees must have endorsement from State Associations eg. Swimming Victoria.

3.    Completion of the IPC Swimming Online Course

Further information about the classifier pathway and generic information about the role of classifier can be found in the documents below: 

Classifier Fact Sheet                  Australian Swimming Classifier Pathway

Classification Card





The Swimming Australia Classification Card is intended to assist the effective management of Multi Class Competitions. It provides an official record of an individual competitor’s classifications and any applicable rule exceptions. The Classification Card proves eligibility to compete in MC competition or other competition where classifications and rule exceptions are enforced.

The Swimming Australia Classification Card is issued to swimming club members who have an eligible swimming classification.

Print Application Form     Online Application Form

Classification Card Process

Please follow the link below to read the Classification Card process for Swimming Victoria events.

SV Classification Card Process

Swimming Codes of Exception for Multi-Class Events

Some swimmers are entitled to receive exceptions to the swimming rules and other considerations based on their classification. The exceptions prevent classified swimmers from being disqualified during Multi Class (MC) competition. These exceptions are determined during the classification process and are identified by a system of codes known as the Swimming Codes of Exceptions.

Download the Swimming Victoria Codes of Exceptions Fact Sheet.

To assist Technical Officials in competition Swimming Codes of Exceptions swing tags have been produced. Request one from Swimming Victoria.

Codes of Exceptions

Multi Class Point Score (MCPS)

The Multi Class Point Score (MCPS) has been developed to provide a simplified way for swimmers and coaches to measure and compare performances. The MCPS is based on the World Record (WR) times for each classification. The world record is worth 1000 points with times above and below allocated points to a maximum of 1200 or a minimum of 0. The MCPS is used for JX, YPS and Team Selection. This provides a clearer development pathway for classified swimmers. The MCPS is also used for determining results in Multi Class competition.

Athletes and Coaches- Determine your point scores using the quick Online MCPS Calculators below:

Long Course      Short Course

Meet Organisers and officials- Contact Swimming Victoria on 9686 5222 to request the 2012/13 MCPS Event Results Calculator Zip File (requires Microsoft Excel).

Download the MC Event Results Calculator User Guide.

National Classification Master List

The National Classification Master List is the official record of all Australian classified swimmers and is managed by Swimming Australia in agreement with classification system partners. Swimming Australia makes public certain classification information to assist athletes, coaches and meet organisers (e.g. swimmer name, state, date of birth, classes and status).

Download the Swimming Classification Master List (updated 16/11/2012) [Excel]

School Sport Victoria Classification


If you require a Classification to complete at school competitions, please refer to the information below:


Please email: classification@vic.swimming.org.au if you have further queries about School Swimming Classification.


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