In November next year, Santiago 2023 will host Para swimming, one of the disciplines that appeared at the first Paralympic Games in Rome 1960, and is now one of the most popular Para sports.
Athletes with all types of physical, visual or intellectual impairments can swim, since it is a simple activity, and it doesn’t require any specific equipment. This makes it one of the most relevant disciplines in terms of inclusion.
The medal events included in the program of the Parapan American Games are the same as those included at the Paralympic program. At Santiago 2023, as confirmed by World Para Swimming, 148 medal events will be held, 7 of these being exclusive of the Pan American Games, in addition to all those considered for the Paris 2024 Paralympics. There are 74 men's events, 67 women's events and 7 mixed relays.
In addition, there are seven exclusive events that will take place at Santiago 2023: 50 m. and 100 m. freestyle S2, and men’s 100 m breaststroke SB12; 50 m. freestyle S3, 100 m. backstroke S7 and women’s 400 m. freestyle S12; and 2x100 mixed with 49 points for visual impairment.
The president of the National Sports Federation for people with visual impairments (Fenaddivi) and the treasury of the Chilean Paralympic Committee (Copachi), Yeny Barría, said: “Preparing the launch of the medal events with enough anticipation gives us time to properly prepare towards the paralympic games at Santiago 2023”.
“As Copachi, we keep looking for national talents so that the youth can be a part of the formative process of the discipline and therefore achieving a high performance, following our great references as an example,” as Alberto Arbaza and Vicente Almonacid.
Chilean Alberto Abarza won five medals in the S2 category at the Lima 2019 Parapan American Games, winning gold in 50 and 100m backstroke, and 200 freestyle. In Tokyo 2020, he repeated the achievements, obtaining three medals in the same sport, with a goldin 100m backstroke.
Para swimming is divided into 14 sport classes for athletes with physical (1 to 10), visual (11 to 13) and intellectual impairments (14), being determined by these numbers in parentheses. For example: sport class 1 means a higher level of impairment than category 10.
To easily identify a competition, it is accompanied by the letter of the competition style. The "S" (Swimming) is for freestyle, backstroke and butterfly; "SB" (Swimming Breaststroke) indicates breaststroke events; and "SM" (Swimming Medley) for mixed events.
Swimmers with different disabilities compete against each other. Sport classes are assigned according to the impact the disability has on the discipline and not according to the disability itself.
Freestyle, backstroke and butterfly: S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9 and S10.
Breaststroke: SB1, SB2, SB3, SB4, SB5, SB6, SB7, SB8, SB9 and SB10.
Medley: SM1, SM2, SM3, SM4, SM5, SM6, SM7, SM8, SM9 and SM10.
Only visually impaired athletes compete. The S11 class is reserved for blind swimmers. The S12 class includes those with a visual field of less than a five degrees radius. Finally, in S13, swimmers with mild impact are measured, having a field of view less than 20 degrees radius.
Freestyle, backstroke and butterfly: S11, S12 and S13.
Breaststroke: SB11, SB12 and SB13.
Medley: SM11, SM12 and SM13.
Only athletes with intellectual disabilities, with difficulty in pattern recognition, sequencing and memory or who have slower reaction time, compete.
Freestyle, backstroke and butterfly: S14
Note: the medal events will be reviewed after the final entries and non-viable events will be combined with the previous class.
Santiago, Chile will host the first Parapan American Games in its history in 2023, with the participation of 33 countries from the Americas. The program includes 17 Para sports and 18 disciplines and will take place from November 17 to November 26. The Games provide an opportunity for athletes with physical, visual and intellectual impairments to achieve sporting excellence and inspire the world.
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