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Para swimming was one of the eight original sports that featured at the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 and has since grown to become one of the largest and most popular sports on the Para sport calendar. With only 15 countries and 77 participants competing in Swimming at the Paralympic Games in 1960, the sport has seen massive growth and at the London 2012 Paralympic Games comprised of 74 countries and 604 participants in the Swimming event.

During a swimming event, swimmers who are blind are required to have an assistant to help them as they approach the swimming pool end wall, either to make a turn or for the finish of the race. This process is called tapping and performed by a “tapper”. These swimmers are also required to wear blackened goggles in all their events.

Paralympics New Zealand and Swimming New Zealand lead a comprehensive Para swimming development programme as part of their wider Talent Identification programme. Swimming New Zealand also offers support for blind and low vision swimmers of all ages and abilities.

Interested in SWIMMING? Contact Cameron Leslie (National Para Swimming Development Coordinator) at cameron@swimming.org.nz or visit the Paralympics New Zealand website.