Official Technology Sponsor of Challenge Alaska


Challenge Alaska is pleased to introduce swimming for athletes with physical and visual disabilities. Because of the individualized nature of this program we can only accommodate a relatively small number of swimmers. Our coordinator instructs from the deck while our staff/volunteers work with you in the pool to improve your technique (if necessary). If you are interested in joining us in the pool, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to discuss options and needs. If you are interested in volunteering, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Swimming is held on Monday's at the West High School Pool. We share the pool with the public during open swim so showing up and being ready a few minutes early guarantees we can get the best swimming lane to meet your needs. 

Please note that this program requires a commitment to attend consistently and confirmation to ensure that adequate volunteers are on hand to work with you.

Also note - this is not a learn to swim program and is intended for people who are comfortable in both shallow and deep water. 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*** Due to decreased participation we will take a break from swimming the months of May-June, 2018***

If you are interested in joining us when we resume please contact us in advance.

Information About Swimming at the Paralympic Level


Swimming comprises medal events in Freestyle, Backstroke, Butterfly and Breaststroke across distances that range from 50m to 400m.

Races take place in a standard 50m pool, with swimmers starting in a variety of different ways: from a standing start, using a dive start, sitting on the starting platform, and in the water. The start used is most usually dependant on the degree of functionality the athlete has.

The rules governing starts, strokes, turns and the length of time swimmers may remain under water are similar to those for the Olympic Games.



Swimmers at the Paralympic Games are classified into 13 different classes.

Swimmers with physical impairments are classified from S1 to S10. These are known as ‘functional’ classifications because classification is based on how an athlete moves in the water. This means that, at first glance, a spectator may see athletes with apparently very different impairments competing against each other. As long as the athletes move in the water with a similar level of impairment, however, they are classified in the same category.

Amongst the S1-10 categories, athletes with the lower classification numbers have the more severe impairments.

Swimmers who have visual impairments are classified from S11 to S13. S11 swimmers have little or no vision, while S13 swimmers will have a greater degree of vision than S11 or S12 athletes, but will still have less than 20 degrees of vision. Swimmers who are blind have an assistant called a ‘ tapper’ who may use a pole to tap the swimmer to warn them they are approaching the end of a length.

It is important to note that an athlete’s classification may change for different swimming strokes, because the nature of their impairment may affect their ability to perform a particular stroke.