Multi Class Athletes and Classification

Col Pearse

Swimming Victoria, in conjunction with a range of partners, provide a variety of opportunities to engage People with Disability into the sport of swimming.

  • Athletes and Competition
  • Multi Class (MC) events see swimmers with a range of disabilities, competing in the same race. To compete in MC competition swimmers must have an eligible classification.

    Swimmers race against the world record time in that event for their classification. Event results are determined using the Multi Class Point Score system. The winner of the race is not always who touches the wall first, but the swimmer who posts the highest point score (i.e. a time closest to the world record for their classification).

    Swimmers may be granted certain exceptions to the standard swimming rules to allow for meaningful and fair competition for all swimmers.

    Check the Calendar for details about up-coming MC competitions.

    Download the following resources for more information: 

    Classification Master List

    Further information can also be viewed on the Swimming Australia website.

  • Classification
  • Classification is used to place athletes of similar ability or function into groups for competition. Classification considers an athlete’s medical condition and physical, sensory and cognitive attributes to group them into classes. In Australia classification is used to ensure fair and meaningful competition at all levels.


    Get Classified

    There are 16 classes in the swimming classification system which caters for a range of disabilities. Each class has minimum eligibility requirements and swimmers must undergo specific Athlete Evaluation or Eligibility process to obtain a classification. Swimmers receive a class for each stroke discipline, and a prefix indicates which stroke the class applies to;

    •          The prefix S to the class denotes the class for Freestyle, Backstroke & Butterfly
    •          The prefix SB to the class denotes the class for breaststroke
    •          The prefix SM to the class denotes the class for Individual Medley


    Swimmers with Physical/Functional Impairment (Classes 1-10)

    Swimmers are assessed through physical testing and water observations. Muscle strength, movement co-ordination, joint range of movement and limb/trunk length contribute to the allocation of classes. Classes range from swimmers with most significant physical impairment (Class 1) to those with minimal impairment (Class 10).

    • Swimming Victoria run Classification Days annually for swimmers with a physical/ functional disability. If you are a swimmer with a physical/functional disability contact us at or phone (03) 9230 9400 to register your details for our next Classification day. 


    Swimmers with Vision Impairment (Classes 11-13) 

    Ranges from Class 11 for swimmers who are blind to Class 13 for swimmers who are legally blind (i.e. acuity less than or equal to 6/60 or visual filed less than 20 degrees).


    Swimmers with Intellectual Impairment (Class 14)

    Swimmers with an IQ score of 75 or less; with significant limitations in adaptive behaviour expressed in conceptual, social, and practical adaptive skills; acquired prior to 18 years of age.


    Swimmers with Hearing Impairment (Class 15)

    Swimmers who have a recognized hearing impairment according to the following ICSD standards; deaf, defined as a hearing loss of at least 55dB in the better ear 3FAHL.


    Swimmers who have received a transplant (Class 16)

    Any person having undergone invasive treatment of a non-cosmetic nature requiring organs and/or tissues (excluding blood) donated by another person.

    •          Download the Transplant Classification Guide
    •          To apply, obtain a medical certificate form your Transplant Specialist and attach this with your classification card application.    


    For more information on the classes and eligibility requirements visit the Multi Class Engagement Portal on the Swimming Australia website here


    National Classification Master List

    The National Classification Master List is the official record of all Australian classified swimmers and is managed by Swimming Australia in agreement with classification system partners. Swimming Australia makes public certain classification information to assist athletes, coaches and meet organisers (e.g. swimmer name, state, date of birth, classes and status).

    Download the Swimming Classification Master List from the Swimming Australia website here.


    Classification Card

    The Swimming Australia Classification Card is intended to assist the effective management of Multi Class Competitions. It provides an official record of an individual competitor’s classifications and any applicable rule exceptions. The Classification Card proves eligibility to compete in MC competition or other competition where classifications and rule exceptions are enforced.

    The Swimming Australia Classification Card is issued to swimming club members who have an eligible swimming classification. Swimmers should be prepared to present their classification card to meet officials when competing. View more information including the online Application Form, here.


    Swimming Codes of Exception for Multi-Class Events

    Some swimmers are entitled to receive exceptions to the swimming rules and other considerations based on their classification. The exceptions prevent classified swimmers from being disqualified during Multi Class (MC) competition. These exceptions are determined during the classification process and are identified by a system of codes known as the Swimming Codes of Exceptions.

    Download the Swimming Victoria Codes of Exceptions Fact Sheet.

    To assist Technical Officials in competition Swimming Codes of Exceptions swing tags have been produced. Request one from Swimming Victoria.

    Interested in becoming a Technical or Medical Classifier? 

    In order to be eligible to become a Classifier the following criteria must be met:

    1.   Pre-requisite Qualifications

    i.    Medical Classifiers (perform medical assessment)

    Currently registered medical professional (physiotherapist or medical doctor); with minimum 5 years clinical experience with people with physical disabilities.

    ii.    Technical Classifiers (perform technical assessment)

    Must hold a Bachelor or Master degree in sport science/ kinesiology / human movement science/physical education or other equivalent; as well as additional swimming expertise including study in Swimming, current Australian Bronze Swimming Coaching accreditation or other equivalent swimming experience. Holding only a coaching qualification or being an ex-athlete on its own is not sufficient.

    2.    Trainees must have endorsement from State Associations eg. Swimming Victoria.

    3.    Completion of the IPC Swimming Online Course

    Further information about the classifier pathway and generic information about the role of classifier can be found in the documents below: 



    Provisional Classification

    School Sport Victoria Classification

     If you require a Classification to complete at school competitions, please refer to the information below:

     Please email: if you have further queries about School Swimming Classification.


    Multi Class Point Score (MCPS)

    The Multi Class Point Score (MCPS) has been developed to provide a simplified way for swimmers and coaches to measure and compare performances. The MCPS is based on the World Record (WR) times for each classification. The MCPS is used for the JX and YPS programs, determing results in Multi Class competition, as well as team selection and qualifying standards. This provides a clearer development pathway for classified swimmers.


    Athletes and Coaches

    To determine point scores using Swimming Australia’s quick Online MCPS Calculators click here.

    Meet organisers and officials

    To download the MCPS Events Results Calculators click here.  

  • Partners
  • Paralympics Australia    (03)8633 9000     

    Paralympics Australia is the peak national body responsible for Australia's elite athletes with a disability. They are responsible for Paralympic classification (Classes 1-14), Talent Identification and Paralympic Education Programs. For Vision Impairment Classification, please contact them directly.


    Deaf Sports Australia   (03) 9473 1191

    Deaf Sports Australia (DSA) is the peak body for deaf sport in Australia. DSA manage deaf specific competitions, promote the participation of people with a hearing impairment in sport and manage eligibility for hearing impaired classification (Class 15).


    VICSRAPID    (03) 9926 1380

    VICSRAPID is a statewide, non-profit, community-based organisation formed to enance the lifestyle of people with disabilities through opportunities in community sport and recreation. VICSRAPID manages the classification eligibility process for athletes with an intellectual disability (Class 14) in Victoria. Click here for AUSRAPID Eligibility Requirements – Fact Sheet


    Special Olympics Victoria   (03) 9877 2769

    Special Olympics provide participation and competitive sporting opportunities for people with an intellectual disability across Australia. The flow chart below will help you determine the best path, as a swimmer with an intellectual disability. The database below, is an updated list of Clubs in Special Olympic regions that can cater for swimmers with an intellectual disability.

     Disability Sport & Recreation    (03) 9473 0133    SportRec Access Line: 1800 234 648

    Disability Sport and Recreation is the health-promoting peak organisation for the disability sport and recreation sector in Victoria.Our mission is to provide and promote positive health outcomes for Victorians with disability through participation in sport and recreation.


    Blind Sports Victoria   (03) 9822 8876

    Blind Sports Victoria exist to educate, support, advocate and further assist the development of sport and active recreation opportunities to enhance the lives of all Victorian’s who are blind or vision impaired people.

  • Resources and Support
  • Swimming Victoria is committed to providing an environment where all are welcomed and treated equally, whether as a swimmer, coach, official, club volunteer or spectator.

    We offer several programs and pathways to ensure people of all ages, abilities, backgrounds and gender have the opportunity to engage in swimming from the club through to the elite level.

    We have a range of resources available to assist clubs in ensuring they are providing their members and the wider community positive experiences and opportunities to engage in swimming. 


    Inclusion Fact Sheets


    Inclusive Communication

    Please find some documents and information below around Inclusive Communication. 

  • The Abilities Program
  • The Abilities Program

    The Abilities Program has been launched to provide more opportunities for people with disability to connect with the Victorian swimming community and to progress through our multiclass pathways. Whilst this is not a learn to swim experience, those with basic swimming ability are encouraged to come along and experience the joy of swimming in a relaxed club event with the support of dedicated coaches, chat to members of the club and learn more about the pathways available.

    Through the Abilities Program, Swimming Victoria hopes to encourage more coaches, officials and interested classifiers to come along and support people with disability to engage in the club environment and to encourage the provision of more dedicated events across the State.

    Upcoming Events:




    27 February 2022


    6 March 2022


    3 April 2022


    3 April 2022


    9 April 2022


    24 April 2022


    15 May 2022



    Mornington Peninsula



    The benefits of swimming are wide and multifaceted and can be amplified for people with a disability who may face additional stresses and life challenges. Swimming Australia's Community Impact Study 2020 highlights that:

    • Swimming is intertwined as part of our national fabric
    • Water safety is a life-saving skill learned only through swimming
    • Swimming teaches resilience and determination, work ethic, time management and commitment
    • Swimming offers pathways from the local pool to the Olympics and Paralympics for both athletes and officials
    • Swimming is for all abilities, ages and backgrounds
    • Swimmers feel twice as healthy as the general population, 11% less stressed and have 10% more contact with their social network
    • Swimming uses every available muscle to energise, invigorate and relax the mind, body and soul.

    This is why Swimming Victoria is launching The Abilities Program -  to ensure more people with disability can receive the therapeutic and physical benefits of being a member of the swimming community and more opportunities to swim with cohesive pathways to all levels of the sport.


Was this page helpful?yesno

Thanks for your feedback.

Go back to top