Introduction: Classification of athletes in disability sports aims to give athletes equal opportunities in competition. In most sport disciplines, athlete’s functional capabilities are taken into consideration and on this basis the athlete is classified into the appropriate sport class. The issue is relevant and it is an important direction of research undertaken in the field of disability sport. Assuming that sport results are resultants of athlete’s functional capabilities and level of training, the analysis of sports results obtained by athletes with disabilities, especially those obtained during major events, becomes the focus of research.
Material and methods: The aim of the analysis was to enable an assessment of the classification system in relation to the results obtained by swimmers in each sport class. For the analysis we used the official results in swimming in all styles at all distances, obtained during Paralympics Games in 2000-2012 by women and menwith locomotor disability. To assess the significance of differences in results between particular sport classes, the Mann–Whitney U test was used. The adopted level of significance was set at p < 0.05.
Results and conlusions: The results of the analysis indicate that the classification system for swimming differentiates competitors in terms of the results obtained. This refers mainly to men in particular sport classes, which may be an indicator of a high performance level in this sports discipline. In the case of women, no differences (in some cases) have been observed between the results obtained by athletes, especially between classes where swimmers with smaller functional deficits compete. This can serve as a reason for combining these classes, which could lead to the increase in sports performance level in women’s swimming.