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Providing More Opportunities For Swimmers With a Disability

Announcement of Additional Classifications Being Incorporated Into National Championships

We are pleased to be providing more opportunities for swimmers with a disability to compete at our national championships. Following the introduction of additional classifications for our 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships and the successful use of Swimify to calculate results at the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships, we will be welcoming all classifications to compete as Multi-Class swimmers at our national championships across our calendar.


This means that swimmers with a classification of S15, S18 or S19 may compete in our Multi-Class events, which includes the following competitions:


  • Apollo Projects NZ Open Water Swimming Championships

  • Apollo Projects NZ Age Group Swimming Championships

  • Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships

  • NZ Secondary School Swimming Championships

  • Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships


Swimming NZ's Disability & Para Swimming Participation Manager, Cameron Leslie, was impressed with the delivery of Multi-Class races in Hawke's Bay earlier this year.

"The introduction of Swimify and the ability to calculate Multi-Class results automatically has been a game-changer in our pursuit of providing more opportunities for swimmers with a disability."

Leslie also noted how this strengthens competition in our Multi-Class races.

"By welcoming S15, S18 and S19 classifications at national championships, we have already seen the depth of races improve. It challenges swimmers to swim their best during the heats to qualify for finals and to swim their best in the final if they would like to win a medal. This only strengthens competition in our Multi-Class events."

As a reminder, the three classifications that were announced in April 2023 and introduced for the first time at the 2023 Apollo Projects NZ Short Course Swimming Championships are:


  • S15 = hearing impairment of at least 40dB (decibels) or greater in the better ear

  • S18 = Down Syndrome or intellectual impairment (S14) combined with a physical impairment

  • S19 = Autism diagnosis


These classifications all align to an international pathway, with S18 and S19 classifications being internationally recognised in the Virtus pathway, known as II2 and II3 respectively, in addition to the S14 classification, also referred to as II1 at Virtus. The S15 classification has an international pathway via the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf.


You can learn more about the rationale behind the introduction via the announcement blog from 26 April 2023 - link below.





Leslie saw the benefits of the introduction of these classifications first hand at the 2024 Apollo Projects NZ Swimming Championships.

"By opening up opportunities for S15, S18 and S19 swimmers at our national competitions, we are not only providing more competition in our Multi-Class events but also providing a pathway for these swimmers across our sport. We have seen the positive impact this has made at our recent championships in Hawke's Bay, highlighted by the fact we had 10 out of 23 Multi-Class swimmers from these additional classifications. We also saw some events like the Men's 100m Freestyle Multi-Class have 14 swimmers which required two heats."

Swimming NZ's Head of Participation, Competitions & Engagement, Dale Johnson, believes this is another positive step forward in providing opportunities to get more people swimming more often.

"We are committed to providing positive swimming experiences for all of our community. By creating more opportunities for swimmers with a disability to race at national champs, we are strengthening our offering within the sport and aligning to international pathways outside of the Olympic and Paralympic pathways."

For more details relating to each of the competition details, please refer to the respective event information books as they are released for 2025 later this year. This update does mean that S15, S18 and S19 classifications will be welcomed for the remainder of the 2024 calendar year, with the 2024 NZ Secondary School Swimming Championships the next competition on the calendar next month.



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