USA Swimming encourages people with disabilities to participate in the sport of swimming and facilitates their inclusion in USA Swimming Programs through education and collaboration.

We seek to involve people with disabilities in existing competitions and programs for all swimmers, rather than provide unique disability-only opportunities. 

USA Swimming Disability Committee web page

USA Swimming Disability Resources

USA Swimming Presentation: On Deck Personal Assistant

The U.S. Paralympics website contains information for swim meets hosted by U.S. Paralympics Swimming for athletes with an impairment.  This site is updated regularly and also includes information about clinics for coaches who have athletes with impairments.

If you have any questions please contact Char Sorensen, the Regional Officials Chair for the Western Zone, U. S. Paralympics Swimming.

Char Sorensen

Regional Officials Coordinator for the Western Zone

U.S. Paralympics Swimming

[email protected]



Best Practices for Safe Sport with Athletes with Disabilities from USA Swimming

Pamphlet: Guidelines for Officiating Swimmers with a Disability: A Pocket Guide A concise 2 page reference for USA Swimming Officials. Designed to be printed on the front and back of the same paper and used as a tri-fold pamphlet.

Course: Officiating Swimmers with a Disability: Course used to teach officials about officiating swimmers with a disability. (Thank you Colorado Swimming for sharing!)  Click for PDF file of course.

  • Target Groups for Course and Some Key Responsibilities
    • Meet and Deck Referees
      • Athletes or athlete representative are required to inform referee of impaired swimmer and request accommodations.
      • Meet Referee is the final decision on Disqualifications
      • Meet Referee will determine if accommodations can be met and will instruct officials as to the accommodations/modifications.
    • Stroke and Turn Officials
      • Officials observe swims based on rules.  Officials are instructed to become familiar with Article 105.5 (this is encouraged during training of new officials).
      • An impaired athlete does not have to inform the referee because they do not want to be officiated under Article 105.  This is their choice. 
    • Coaches 
      • Senior Coach – Swimmers who are at the High School Level and swim with HS can be a member of club swimming, and impaired swimmers are not always aware of this opportunity.
      • Age Group Coach – athletes as this level are wanting to be involved in club sports, are competitive, and are involved with friends.
      • Both set of coaches can help athlete be competitive, grow both athletically and socially.
      • Can help athletes move to Para if warranted
  • Rationale for Course
    • Face to face conversation, instruction and discussion is always better. It helps with comprehension and development of programs.  It also provides the means to offer support to all affected groups.
    • Explanation of what impairments are and different impairments in each group. Provide specific examples.
    • Instruct officials on what they should be aware of when observing swims. (Article 105 of USA Swimming Rulebook)
    • Show what support staff is and how it looks
    • What starting devices are and examples of types
    • How modifications look for an impaired swimmer and what happens during observing swims
    • How rules are observed and implemented
    • How integrating impaired swimmers into clubs affects swimmers

USA Swimming Disability Motivational Time Standards: These time standards  are intended to foster and promote the inclusion of athletes with a disability within USA Swimming LSC, and other, championships. They provide a fair, equitable and structured approach by using a combination of three groupings of similar disabilities for athletes.  Additionally, they provide qualifying/motivational times tailored to different levels of competition including LSC, Zone and Sectionals.

Introductory Letter and FAQ Answers

LSC Para Motivational Times

Zone Para Motivational Times

Sectional Para Motivational Times