Performance Evolution in Paralympic Swimmers with Physical Disabilities: from Beijing 2008 to London 2012

Sergio Santos Sampedro

Alberto Almena Flores

Javier Pérez-Tejero

*Corresponding author: Javier Pérez Tejero

Original Language

Cite this article

Santos Sampedro, S., Almena Flore, A., & Pérez Tejero, J. (2016). Performance Evolution in Paralympic Swimmers with Physical Disabilities: from Beijing 2008 to London 2012. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 124, 41-48.



Swimming for people with physical disabilities is organized under a functional classification system which divides swimmers into 10 functional classes by degree of disability. Since the holding of the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960, records in swimming have improved over the years. The objective of this paper is to make a comparative analysis of the competition in the 100 m freestyle finals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and the London 2012 Paralympic Games to check the level of maturity of the sport. The sample consisted of 248 swimmers (128 corresponding to the Beijing Paralympic Games and 120 corresponding to the London Paralympic Games) in classes S2 to S10. We performed analysis for the same functional class (intraclass) and between functional classes (interclass) for both Paralympic games and genders to establish a comparison between the two Paralympics. The study variables were the total test times (TT) and the velocity (V) analyzing average, maximum, minimum, standard deviation and standard deviation percentage. In the comparison between Games both genders experience improvements in both TT and V from Beijing 2008 to London 2012 in all classes, except the S9 female class. These differences are significant only for the S4 male and S10 female classes. Consistency in performance between games for 100m freestyle in Paralympic swimming confirms that it is a highly mature event.

Keywords: Análisis de la Competición, Competition Analysis, Discapacidad Física, Functional Classification, Paralympic Games, Paralympic Swimming, Physical Disabilities.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Received: February 3, 2015

Accepted: October 15, 2015

Published: April 1, 2016