Integrated Swimming Classification: A Faulted System

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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Classification is intended to provide fair competition for athletes. Each disability group has developed different methods and techniques of classification to ensure fair competition. However, the 1992 Paralympics will use integrated classification for swimmers from the International Sports Organization for the Disabled (ISOD), the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF), and the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CP-ISRA). The integrated swimming classification is said to be based on the research of Counsilman. The developers of the integrated swimming classification system have assigned point values for body parts involved in swimming propulsion. Counsilman (1977) refutes the assignment of points to swimming propulsion since it is unscientific and based on subjective evaluation. Further, the integrated swimming classification has yet to undergo extensive field testing to determine its reliability and validity. Additionally there are physiological, sports technical, and statistical problems with the integrated system.

K.J. Richter is with the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Dept., St. Joseph’s Mercy Hospital, Pontiac, MI 48341. C. Adams-Mushett is with the Dept. of HPER at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202. M.S. Ferrara is with the School of P.E., Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306. B.C. McCann is with Rehabilitative Medicine, Maine Medical Center, Bramhall St., Portland, ME 04102.