When we dive into water, we immediately become aware of how the water supports our body and enables us to swim – the effects of gravity are almost removed. It is thanks to these conditions that competitors with almost any impairment can practice this sport – without the need for prostheses or other technical aids.
An important experience that brings a great sense of freedom to the competitors. As a water sport, swimming can therefore contribute significantly to the rehabilitation process. Swimming helps to build muscle strength, improve coordination, and increase endurance.
At the Invictus Games, the races fought out by the swimmers competing against each other in the pool are always a demonstration of true perseverance and determination. Para swimming follows the rules set by the International Swimming Federation (FINA). In order to ensure a fair competition, the competitors are grouped into different starting classes by functional ability. Depending on their impairment, the swimmers may start in a variety of ways. As an alternative option to the regular standing start, swimmers can also start from a sitting position on the starting block or begin in the water.
Swimmers compete individually in 50-m and 100-m freestyle races, as well as in 50-m backstroke and 50-m breaststroke events. In addition, there is a 4 × 50-m freestyle relay. With the exception of the mixed relay, men and women compete in separate events.