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Disabled Swimming Program – Adaptive Sports


We have worked with many special needs students and provide a custom disabled swim program for individuals including those diagnosed on the autism spectrum, ADD, ADHD, sensory integration, anxiety, Down and CHARGE syndrome, auditory processing disorders and dyslexia. We also provide swimming lessons to service-disabled Veterans and athletes with disabilities such as amputation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury and other disabilities.

Our disabled swimming program focuses on identifying the potential of the disabled swimmer and their ability level in order to provide the best opportunities for swim sports development. We work hard to develop a customized disabled swimming program to provide special needs swimming lessons for each individual and set goals that are achievable and realistic. Our disabled swimming program gives disabled swimmers the opportunity to compete in disability-specific events while improving their overall motor coordination.

Swimming With A Disability

One with the Water®’s adaptive sports program provides customized swim training programs for individuals with special needs such as a physical disability or visual impairment. Swimming with a disability can be challenging but also incredibly rewarding as competitive swimming with a disability can provide not only physical health benefits but also instill confidence, focus and determination in the swimmer.

Competitive Swimming with a Disability

Competitive swimming with a disability is a sport that is not only officially recognized at the Summer Paralympic Games, but at disabled sports competitions throughout the world. The sport is governed by the International Paralympic Committee.

Disabled swimmers who wish to compete are classified and grouped into sport classes by their physical impairment and the degree of activity limitation resulting from the impairment. There are ten different sport classes for disabled swimmers numbered 1-10. A lower number indicates a more severe activity limitation than a higher number. Using this classification system athletes with different impairments can compete against each other as the level of impairment on swim performance is at a similar level.

One with the Water®, as featured in the Sundance Channel’s TV Show Push Girls, is proud to coach swimmers interested in participating and training for sanctioned competitions. We provide year-round training for athletes from beginner to professional. This program is designed for persons with mental or physical challenges, what we call “flawless imperfections.” Designed to help swimmers learn and improve skills, maintain and increase physical fitness, achieve success and receive recognition through competition, and experience self-actualization in an aquatics environment.

Competitive Swimming Sport Classes For Disabled Swimming

Sport Class 1: Swimmers in this sport class have a significant loss of muscle power or control in their legs, arms and hands. Some athletes also have limited trunk control, as it may occur with tetraplegia. These impairments may be caused by spinal-cord injuries or polio. Swimmers in this class usually use a wheelchair in daily life.

Sport Class 2: Swimmers in this sport class are able to use their arms with no use of their hands, legs or trunk or have severe coordination problems in four limbs. Athletes in this sport class mostly only compete in backstroke events.

Sport Class 3: This sport class includes athletes with amputations of all four limbs. Swimmers with reasonable arm strokes but no use of their legs or trunk and swimmers with severe coordination problems in all limbs are also included in this sport class.

Sport Class 4: Swimmers who can use their arms and have minimal weakness in their hands, but cannot use their trunk or legs. Athletes with amputations of three limbs also swim in this sport class.

Sport Class 5: Swimmers with short stature and an additional impairment, with loss of control over one side of their body (hemiplegia) or with paraplegia compete in this sport class.

Sport Class 6: This sport class includes swimmers with short stature, amputations of both arms or moderate coordination problems on one side of their body.

Sport Class 7: This profile is designated for athletes with one leg and one arm amputation on opposite sides, double leg amputations or a paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side. Moreover, swimmers with full control over arms and trunk and some leg function can compete in this class.

Sport Class 8: Swimmers who have lost either both hands or one arm are eligible to compete in this sport class. Also, athletes with severe restrictions in the joints of the lower limbs could compete in this sport class.

Sport Class 9: Athletes in this sport class swim with joint restrictions in one leg, double below-the-knee amputations or an amputation of one leg.

Sport Class 10: This class describes the minimal impairments of eligible swimmers with physical impairment. Eligible impairments would be the loss of a hand or both feet and a significantly limited function of one hip joint.

Sport Class 11-13: Visual Impairment. Swimmers with visual impairment compete in the sport classes 11-13, with 11 meaning a complete or nearly complete loss of sight and 13 describing the minimum eligible visual impairment. Athletes in sport class 11 compete with blackened goggles.

Sport Class 14: Intellectual Impairment. Swimmers with intellectual impairment who also meet the sport-specific criteria compete in sport class 14.

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We are a Westside Regional Center vendor. Any appeals or questions may be submitted to the California Department of Developmental Services or by calling (916) 654-1987.
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