Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Swimming at the ParaPan Games

August 11, 2015

Swimming has been a sport offered at the Parapan Am Games since they began in 1999. Swimming is a timed sport where the first athlete or relay team to touch the touch pad at the end of their last lap wins. Swimming consists of different technical strokes used during each race including the breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke, and freestyle. Events in swimming may involve only one of these techniques or a combination of all four called a medley. This can be done as an individual medley or as relay using a team of four swimmers. In the Parapan Am Games athletes are classified based on physical, visual, and intellectual impairments. The names of the sport class consist of a prefix and a number. The prefix S stands for freestyle, butterfly, and backstroke events. The prefix SB stands for breaststroke events and the prefix SM stands for individual medley. The sport classes are numbered from one to ten for physical impairments. Athletes complete a water assessment and a classifier uses a point system to determine their sport class. Athletes are classified based on the impact the impairment specifically has on swimming and their degree of ability to complete each stroke. The lower the number the more the activity is limited due to impairment. In these classes the swimmers may begin in the water or standing or sitting on the starting platform. Sport classes eleven through thirteen are used for athletes with visual impairments. Class eleven swimmers have little or no vision, class twelve have some ability to see including identifying the shape of a hand, and class thirteen have the greatest degree of vision but still below twenty degrees. All swimmers in these three classes wear blackened goggles to ensure fairness among competitors. A tapper may be used in these classes to notify swimmers when they are approaching the end of the lane by using a long stick to tap them. Sport class fourteen is for swimmers that have an intellectual impairment. These athletes may have a slower reaction time or difficulty with pattern sequencing which typically leads them to have a higher number of strokes relative to their speed.

            So far my favorite part of this trip has been the many cultural experiences we have had. Not only have we experienced the Canadian culture but we have also encountered a variety of cultures while we are working our shifts at the wheelchair basketball games. In Toronto we’ve had the chance to try poutine, which is a traditional Canadian dish that originated in Quebec. It consists of french fries, cheese curds, and gravy. We also had the chance to visit China town and Greek town. In China town we were able to walk around the small shops that sell clothes, jewelry, and Chinese food. In Greek town we had the chance to go to the Taste of the Danforth, which is a street festival. The whole street was closed off and vendors sold food, jewelry, and clothes. There were other activities including a stage with music and dancing. At the games we have had the chance to interact with athletes and coaches from a variety of different countries. Today during our evening shift we worked the Canada vs. Brazil women’s game, the Canada vs. Argentina men’s game, and the Venezuela vs. Mexico men’s game. For the rest of our trip I look forward to exploring even more about the Canadian culture and things Toronto has to offer including visiting some of the local islands and the CN tower. I also am very excited to spend more time with the teams as we move closer to the medal games.

--Lily Simmons

In Chinatown

Greektown and the taste of Danforth

Nothing like a plate of poutine to end a 10-hour work shift: Ms. Kent, Ms. Clay, and Ms. Simmons

Card's selfie: Ms. Peterson and Ms. Simmons

Meeting US team member: Ms. Moore and Ms. Keeling

Team hug: Ms. Ueberschlag, Ms. Underwood, and Ms. Peterson

Eating at Puck: Ms. Rabalais, Prof. Presley, Ms. Mebust, Ms. Ueberschlag, Ms. Underwood, and Ms. Peterson

CEHD Prof. Moorman sharing a happy moment with Pachi, the Games mascot

Not part of the Games--luckily.  At the museum in Toronto

Brave volunteer: Ms. Keeling and her scooter

Getting back home

"Selfie with my scoot scoot"

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