Two of the biggest names in Para swimming, Ian Silverman and Erraid Davies, will undergo classification reviews this week at the German International Championships, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced.
Both Silverman and Davies over the last few years have been ruled ineligible for Para competition by the IPC in certain strokes due to a determination that their physical impairments were no longer severe enough to warrant participation under the IPC umbrella in those strokes.
Silverman, a sophomore on the varsity team at USC, will face his classification test on Tuesday, June 7th. He was the 2012 Paralympic champion in the 400 meter freestyle in the S10 class (athletes with the least-severe impairment). He is the holder of 25 American Records (12 in short course yards, 13 in long course meters) in the S10 class.
Silverman has cerebral palsy, and will face a standard test of a Range of Motion test on dry-land, and then an in-the-water test where the swimmer is observed in the water performing each of the 4 strokes.
Late last year, the IPC overhauled its testing procedures, including extending the in-water test to no more than 50 meters (read more here). Former U.S. Paralympian Tom Miazga (who also has cerebral palsy) says he believes that the new rules will work in Silverman’s favor.
“The biggest thing is that they can’t add more than 2 points back to a category in the water,” Miazga said. He’s referring to the points system used to classify swimmers, and says that “this is where he got hurt in Toronto (at his last classification), where they added way more than 2 points in the water.”
More points will move a swimmer up to a different classification, with higher classifications generally having faster times.
With the U.S. Paralympic Trials coming in three weeks in Charlotte, this could be Silverman’s last chance to return to the mix for a spot on Team USA.
Davies was ruled ineligible more recently, just having been tested earlier this year. Her fame was gained when she won a bronze medal at the 2015 Commonwealth Games when she was only 13, and her image captured the hearts of the Scottish public. She formerly competed as an SB9.
Davies’ classification comes on Wednesday afternoon.
Other standouts currently on the list:
- American Record holder McKenzie Coan, who is currently an S8, but may fall to an S7 under new criteria for short stature, is being tested on Tuesday. She would become an immediate medal favorite in the S7 class.
- British swimmer Stephanie Millward, a 5-time medalist at the 2012 Paralympics, is currently and S9, but will be tested on Wednesday morning. She has multiple sclerosis.