Research into how visual impairments impact swimming performance will continue at the 2016 IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal, from 30 April – 7 May.
The project led by the IPC Medical and Classification team has so far featured an informal consultation with coaches, a pilot research study with more than 100 athletes, and tests with sighted swimmers to establish where performance begins to be affected. A formal consultation with athletes, coaches, administrators and scientists from around the world has also taken place.
The research began at the last European Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, in 2014 and the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games.
The outcomes from the studies at these competitions helped researchers to design their main study which is being carried out in 2016. It aims to give insight into how the different aspects of vision impairment, such as contrast sensitivity or motion perception, affect performance in the sport.
The results will be used to create an evidence-based classification system specifically designed for swimming.
The study is being carried out by the Research and Development Centre for Classification of Vision Impairments at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.