The purpose of this study was to examine the classification experiences (perspectives and reflections) of paraswimmers. Classification provides a structure for parasport, with the goal of reducing the impact of impairment on the outcome of competition. Guided by interpretive description, nine paraswimmers ranging in swimming experience and sport class were interviewed. Reflective notes were also collected. Transcribed interviews were analyzed inductively, followed by a deductive analysis using Nordenfelt’s dignity framework. Three themes represent the findings: access, diversity, and (un)certainty. Despite several positive experiences, paraswimmers also discussed inconsistencies in the process leading them to question competition fairness and classification accuracy. These findings suggest that continued efforts to improve the classification system are required. In addition, paraswimmers and their allies (e.g., coaches) require more information about the classification process to better understand the outcomes and to effectively advocate for their needs.
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Kirsti Van Dornick and Nancy L.I. Spencer
Joanna M. Auger and Nancy L.I. Spencer
Justifications for access to physical activity for people who experience disability tend to focus on the health benefits associated with a medical model of disability. The result is often programs that are segregated and impairment-focused, with limited access to integrated settings that are also potentially inclusive. In this instrumental case study, the authors engaged 20 participants with and without impairment from an adult integrated indoor cycling program to explore what contributed to meaningful and inclusive experiences in this setting. Data were generated through semistructured interviews and reflective notes. Thematic analysis led to three themes: (a) “just going to a spin class” (b) “seamless”? and (c) “deliberate community.” Using a relational ethics framework, the findings are discussed with regard to their potential to inform the development of integrated and inclusive physical activity programs, with emphasis on program structure and instructor reflexivity and training.
Jessica J. Ferguson and Nancy L.I. Spencer
Women within parasport experience discrimination due to marginalization associated with gender and disability. In this study, the authors gain the insights of women parasport athletes about the affordances and constraints to inclusion with an emphasis on the role of coaches, using an ecological approach. Guided by qualitative description, the authors conducted individual and focus group interviews with ten women experiencing disability to explore their experiences and perspectives of inclusion in parasport. Two primary themes were identified: (a) within parasport and (b) beyond parasport, emphasizing the critical role of relationships with coaches and athletes to experiences of inclusion. The discussion highlights the multilevel influences and specific barriers that challenge inclusion, such as few numbers of women athletes, the need for coach expertise, and co-ed playing environments. In doing so, the authors also offer specific recommendations for coaching in women’s parasport.