Para-swimming features athletes with physical, visual and intellectual impairments. Events are the freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, individual medley and relays. A FINA (the international governing body for swimming) standard eight-lane 50-metre pool is required for competition at the Paralympic Games. Events are conducted in heats of eight competitors per class. The fastest eight swimmers per class compete in the finals.
Depending on their disability, swimmers can start in the water, from a dive start sitting on the starting platform, or from the typical standing start. Blind and visually impaired swimmers are required to wear blackened goggles and have an assistant (called a "tapper") to help (tap) them as they approach the pool end wall to make turns or finish the race.