Multi Class Swimming

Multi Class (MC) swimming is a form of competition designed specifically for swimmers with a disability. MC events are normal swimming events with some minor modifications to the rules and regulations.

In order to compete in MC events swimmers, must have an eligible classification. Classification groups swimmers with similar disabilities or impairments into the same group to compete against each other in the sport of swimming. MC events see swimmers with a range of disabilities from multiple classifications competing in the same race. Swimmers race against the world record time in that event for their classification. The winner of the race is not always who touches the wall first, but the swimmer who posts a time closest to the world record for their classification.

For all MC swimming and classification enquiries please contact

Getting Classified

  • Understanding Classification
  • The Classification System

    There are 19 SWA recognised classifications, that fit within the categories below:

    Classifications 1-10: People with a physical impairment

    Classifications 11-13: People with a visual impairment

    Classification 14: People with an intellectual impairment

    Classification 15: People with a hearing impairment

    Classification 16: People with a transplant

    Classification 17: Transition classification

    Classification 18: People with a significant other impairment (eg. Down Syndrome)

    Classification 19: People with High Functioning Autism

    These classifications underpin multi class swimming and provide a fair system when swimmers with disability compete, which is explained in more detail below.

    Classifications are required for each of the main competitive strokes and swimmers will receive a classification for each of these according to their abilities. These letters will appear before the classification number e.g. S3, SB2, SM3 or S14, SB14, SM14.

    S: Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly

    SB: Breaststroke

    SM: Medley


    Some swimmers may also receive exceptions to the swimming rules based on their classification, which prevent classified swimmers being disqualified during Multi Class competition. These exceptions will be determined during the classification process. You can find a list of the Swimming Codes of Exceptions here.

    National Sport Class Status

    Once a swimmer has completed the classification process and received a classification, they will also be issued with a National Sport Class Status. This gives an indication as to whether there are restrictions to the level of competition the swimmer may compete at and whether their classification requires review in a set period of time.

  • How to get Classified
  • Swimming Australia has simplified the process of getting classified through the Multi Class Swimming Engagement Portal.

    By completing a few short questions about yourself, the portal will help you determine if you might be eligible to be classified. From there you’ll be provided with the information you need to go and get classified.

    Access the Multi Class Swimming Engagement Portal or here to begin the process of getting classified.

    Once a swimmer is classified, their details are recorded in the National Swimming Classification Master List, which is published to assist swimmers and meet officials to identify current classifications.

    Swimming WA members who have completed the classification process will receive their classification on their membership card sent by My Swim Results that indicates their eligible classifications and exceptions.

    For enquiries about the classification process and upcoming classification events please contact

  • The Classification Pathway
  • Classification Pathway

Multi Class Competition

  • What is multi class competition?
  • Multi Class competition provides a fair approach for swimmers with disability by grouping them according to their classification.

    Swimming WA encourages Multi Class competition to be integrated wherever possible at all levels of competition.

    Once classified, a swimmer with disability is eligible to compete in Multi Class races according to their classification and National Sport Class Status, which determines the level of competition the swimmer may compete in (i.e. club, regional, state or national level meets).

    Swimmers with disability may compete in an able-bodied event and have any relevant exceptions to the swimming rules applied, so long as the equivalent multi class event is not in the meet program. This is likely to be the case at smaller events such as club and regional meets.

    Check out our events calendar for upcoming events.

  • How are multi class results calculated?
  • Multi Class results are calculated according to a swimmer's classification. This means that the first person to touch the wall in a race will not necessarily be the official first-place getter.

    The Multi Class Point Score Calculator (MCPS) determines the results and official placing for Multi Class events. This score is based off the World Record for their, awarding points to the competitor according to how close they are to the World Record.

  • Multi Class Records
  • Swimmers with disability can also achieve National or World Records* according to their classification.

    *Note, in order to achieve a World Record, a swimmer must have International Paralympic Classification and the event must be swum at an IPC sanctioned competition.

  • International Competition
  • Multi Class competition at an international level is sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and includes events such as the Paralympics.

    To compete at IPC approved and sanctioned competitions, swimmers must obtain International Paralympic Classification. Generally, swimmers with disability who are selected on the Australian Dolphins Swim Team are invited to undergo International Paralympic Classification by the Swimming Australia Para High Performance Manager.

    All swimmers with a current international Paralympic classification can be viewed on the IPC International Swimming Classification Master List.

  • Classification Cards
  • Multi Class classification is viewable on the annual membership card that is produced via My Swim Results. If you have not received your annual membership card, please contact

Multi Class Athlete Development

  • Multi Class High Performance Swimming
  • Through our development programs we provide opportunities for swimmers with disability and coaches of swimmers with disability to gain access to Swimming WA's Performance Pathway Program to develop high-level expertise and competitive skills.

    Selection into Swimming WA's Performance Pathway Program is based on times achieved throughout the season.

  • Swimming Australia Bio Island JX Program
  • Swimming Australia's Bio Island Junior Excellence Program was established in 2007 to recognise, reward and incentivise junior swimmers who are on a key part of their swimming journey, learning and refining as they develop into senior swimmers. Each year Swimming Australia releases the JX criteria and standards for the forthcoming season which swimmers, parents and coaches can use to as targets throughout the year.
    Swimmers aged from 9 to 13 years, who accomplish times set by Swimming Australia, qualify at gold, silver, bronze or blue standard, depending on their best performance/s during the season.

    The qualification criteria for swimmers with disability are created using the Multi Class Point Score system. You can view the current selection criteria for JX on the Swimming Australia website.


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