Para-swimming is Swimming Canada’s fully integrated swimming program for athletes with diversability, from grassroots to elite. Para-swimming combines a broad range of abilities into three categories:
  • Functional: amputees/dysmelia, cerebral palsy/head injury, spinal cord injury/polio, dwarfism, major joint restrictions, coordination restriction, limb paralysis/weakness
  • Visual: blind or visually impaired
  • Intellectual

If you are, or know of, a para-eligible athlete who might be interested in getting involved in swimming, please contact your local swim club or Carrie Matheson for more information. For the most up to date information on para-swimming, please visit Swimming Canada.


Para-swimming grew out of several different movements in the 1940s and 1950s. During this time, four independent international sports bodies, eventually combined to form the modern day paralympic movement. Swimming Canada became the first integrated National Sports Organization in 1993.

Today, a sport-first approach is being taken and international groups have moved towards representing specific sports, with consideration of a person’s ability as a secondary factor. The International Paralympic Committee operates with sport-specific committees that oversee the development of sport for the groups of differing abilities, including swimming.

Inclusive Participation

At Swim BC, we are working in concert with local swim clubs, coaches, officials, parents, and of course swimmers, to ensure that everyone is given an equitable opportunity to participate and compete. We acknowledge that exclusivity will always be a work in progress and we welcome any feedback on our programs and policies.

All Swim BC programs welcome the observation of religion and the associated attire. Swimwear that accommodates required standards of modesty is available and can be worn in competition.

Swim BC works hard to ensure all identities, genders, races, and cultures the opportunity to participate in our sport without barriers, while celebrating the contributions that diversity makes to swimming in our province.

Looking ahead to the future, we are developing programs that help encourage new Canadians to excel at competitive swimming and assist those in financial need to have ample opportunities to swim.

Swim BC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.


305-4420 Chatterton Way
Victoria, BC V8X 5J2



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