Alice Tai on Reclassification: ‘The Hardest Part is that I Love Racing’ (VIDEO)

2019 World Para Swimming World Championships

  • September 9-15, 2019
  • London Aquatics Centre, London, England
  • Prelims 10 a.m. local time/finals 6 p.m.
  • Full results

Following her win in the women’s S8 100 free on the first night of the 2019 World Para Swimming World Championships, SwimSwam caught up with Great Britain’s Alice Tai.

In a span of three years, Tai has been classed down from an S10 to an S9, and from there to an S8. She won the 2019 World Para Swimming World Series after breaking several world records in her new class. Tai, 20, was born with bilateral tilapes (club feet) and underwent numerous surgeries as a child.

When asked about the reclassification, Tai lamented that she is quite far ahead of the field, generally. In her race Monday night, she nearly matched her world record, going 1:03.77) and beat silver medalist Jessica Long by 2.5 seconds; Long and the fifth-place finisher Cecilia Eronimo de Araujo were separated by less than a second.

“It can be kind of annoying because I love a good, gritting-your-teeth sort of race,” Tai said. “But at the end of the day, it’s the IPC’s decision.”

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Steven Long

What changed regarding her disability? What were the reasons for the moves from an S10 to an S9 to an S8? Was she in the wrong classification as an S10? Or as an S9? Or could she currently be in the wrong classification as an S8? Don’t expect answers from the IPC.


The whole thing is a dumpster fire I have hit the mute/ignore button on this thing.


Ditto TAA but I’m definitely tuning in for Australia’s ‘Lucky’ Lakeisha Patterson’s 400 free race against the disabled on Friday 13th. What a blockbuster that’ll be!


Well said TAA.


Yep, well done IPC. The whole thing is now completely meaningless. May as well pull names out of a hat.


STEVEN LONG, this perfectly demonstrates that the current IPC classification system is a disaster and those responsible are inept and incompetent. Most importantly they are failing in their fiduciary duty to protect the credibility and integrity of the sport.


Mate, maybe you should ask your daughter why she is not committing herself fully to training or competing in this sport before you go trashing other competitors…

Steve Long

DUDE, I didn’t trash Tai. I simply asked questions which you could not or did not want to answer.


Miss Tai has a stable disability so she should not have a sliding classification. The classification system doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked. It is not the athlete’s fault unless he or she purposefully swims slower, appears less flexible, or exaggerates limitations at classification- unfortunately, that happens and knowing family, coaches and governing bodies stand silently. That said, I am not suggesting Miss Tai cheated during her classification. I do have a hard time rationalizing two full kicking legs against a double amputee. Most athletes with a single club foot are S10. Some, like Andre Brasil, have been classed out. Andre is fast, but I have seen Andre’s leg and there is no doubt he could not compete against a professional… Read more »


Pretty sure Andre Brasil and the CPB would have watched all that white water in the S10 100 free and wonder why the heck he has been excluded. It doesn’t matter what ends up on the blocks at these international meets, the IPC will never admit that it has a problem. Some problems are much bigger and far more serious than others.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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