2024 US Paralympic Swimming Trials: See the Full Selection Procedures Breakdown


Fresh off of the 2024 US Olympic Swimming Trials last week, it’s now time to shift our attention towards the 2024 US Para Swimming Trials taking place between June 27-29 in Minneapolis. The selection procedures for the 2024 Paralympic Swimming Team are a little more complex than those for the Olympic Team, let’s take a look at how the team will be formed. 

Para Swimming Classification System Decoded: There are 14 classifications in Para-Swimming. Physical disabilities are classed S1-S10, visual disabilities are classed S11-S13, and athletes with intellectual disabilities compete in class S14. In general, the higher the number of the classification, the less-severe the impairment of the disability upon their performance in the pool. SB classes are specific to breaststroke races while SM classes are specific to individual medley events; athletes often compete in the same classification across events, but many are classified at different levels in breaststroke and IM events.

How Many Swimmers Can Qualify for the Team? 

According to the USPOC, there are up to “thirty-four (34) male qualification slots and twenty-eight (28) female qualification slots for a maximum total of sixty-two (62) qualification slots” on the Paralympic Swimming Team. 

Based on the results of the 2023 Para Swimming World Championships and current world rankings, the United States currently has 21 female slots and 12 male slots available on the roster.

How is Qualifying Determined? 

All qualifications are determined based on the results of the Paralympic Trials meet. Following the conclusion of the meet, all times across all of the events at the meet will be calculated into a Team Selection Ranking List (TSRL) using the following equation: 

  • Result = (finish time/3rd place on World Ranking List) x 100

Using that list, the team will then be selected, filling the team with the highest ranked swimmers on the list until either (1) the roster limit is reached or (2) there are 3 swimmers per event and an entry limit is reached. 

If the roster limit is not reached or entry limits are not reached using eligible swimmers, then the USOPC reserves the right to name up to 4 discretionary picks for the team, 2 males and 2 females. 

Another important factor that comes into play with Paralympic selection is the concept of “start rights”. That is, once all athletes are named to the official roster, the coaching staff reserves the right to assign swimmers to any events where the 3 swimmer limit has not already been met. This is done on the basis of several factors, including: an athlete’s world ranking in an event, ability for an athlete to medal in the event, and an athlete’ historical performance in a particular event. 

What Happens if Swimmers Tie for a Spot? 

Though it is highly unlikely that two swimmers tie for the final spot on the roster, it is certainly not unheard of (looking at you Erika Connolly). In that situation, there is a tiebreaker procedure in place where the times would be calculated against the current world record in the event, according to the equation: 

  • P = (swim time/World Record) x 100, where P is the percentage of the current world record

In that situation, the swimmer with the lower percentage would be named to the team over the swimmer with the higher percentage. 

Though there is a lot to process in terms of Paralympic roster selection, the uncertainty will soon be over as the roster will be officially named at the end of the competition with a formal ceremony on June 30. 


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21 days ago

There are only 33 slots. 12 men.

Para swimmer
22 days ago

Thank you for covering! Team USA has qualified 21 female slots and 12 male slots (this is based on 2023 Worlds and the world rankings list). The world rankings list is found here under Minimum Qualifying Standard: https://www.paralympic.org/swimming/rankings

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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