Ollie Hynd “Heartbroken and Confused” Over New Para Classification

World Para Swimming (WPS), the international federation that presides over Paralympic swimming, announced in October 2017 that as of January 1st, 2018, it would implement a new classification system to combat accusations of intentional misrepresentation (IM) within the sport.

Para swimmers are classified into various categories to even the playing field within each race. IM occurs when a less-impaired swimmer intentionally get themselves classified as more impaired then they actually are. Each swimmer is classified as having either a physical, visual, or intellectual impairment, and undergoes physical, technical in-sport, and technical in-competition assessments to reach a proper classification; the new system mostly affects the technical assessment portion of the classification process.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has ruled that all para-swimmers will undergo reclassification before Tokyo 2020, and Great Britain has already begun the process. Great Britain’s Ollie Hynd spoke out about the process, which has led to his recent reclassification.

https://www.facebook.com/olliehyndgb/posts/1778001942286967:0

Hynd, 23, was the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the SM8 200 IM, and also won the S8 400m free in Rio. At the Denmark Para Swimming World Series stop in late February, he was reclassified as an S9, meaning he will be racing less impaired swimmers than he previously has (British Swimming already protested, and after a retest, the classification was upheld). He’ll remain SB8 for breaststroke events.

Even in his new class, Hynd will be among the best internationally: his best 200IM and 400 free times from last year would have ranked in the top 5 in the world.

“It is clear that there will be challenges with this and we won’t know the full worldwide implications until maybe next year,” British Swimming Paralympic performance director Chris Furber said. “However, we welcome anything which brings greater consistency to the classification process. “We’ve reacted to the IPC asking for help in a positive way by putting our swimmers through classification at the first opportunity. We don’t want to see us penalized for doing that.”

Other British para-swimmers including Jonathan Fox, Matt Wylie and Jacob Leach were also reassessed and moved to less severe classes, but will be re-evaluated later in the year.

Hynd, as well as Fox and Leach, are scheduled to swim at the upcoming 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Most other NGBs, including oft-accused Swimming Australia, have yet to begin the classification process.

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LMA
3 years ago

This demonstrates that Para Competition and its ‘bed-rock’ Classification has finally ran away from the IPC. What an absolute shambolic, leaderless, directionless stuff up This ‘re-classification’ exercise is clearly way beyond their capabilities. So far, WPS World Series 1 Copenhagen saw some swimmers classified under the new rules, some not. Fair competition? Of course not. Commonwealth Games, same except unbelievably there is no pre competition classification (why not?) and, the results from WPS1 in Copenhagen is a major hit to overall medals for Team England. WPS World Series 2 Indianapolis will also be the same, a multi tiered competition. This is meant to be top level international competition, they need reminded of that – and swiftly. In addition, swimmers from… Read more »

Taa
Reply to  LMA
3 years ago

USA was only given 8 classification slots for Indianapolis. Its the only meet in North America with classification this year. I want to know who got the other slots. There was about 70 spots in Copenhagen.

LMA
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

What do you mean by ‘given’? How does that work? I think that requires an urgent explanation from IPC Peter van de Vliet, WPS Tracey Glassford & US Queenie Nichols.

Coach John
Reply to  LMA
3 years ago

there were a finite # of slots appointed to all countries. the logic being they cannot re-classify/classify everyone at the same time. My swimmer was in the pool for Indianapolis and we did not get a slot.

LMA
Reply to  Coach John
3 years ago

Surely it is both more financially viable and expedient to classify all Americans in America, Brits in GB et., etc., I think 70 slots should be more than adequate. If I recall only the Chief Classifier can protest now anyway, not other NGBs. Presumably Queenie Nichols decides who gets a slot. Crazy.

bobc
Reply to  LMA
3 years ago

It pays to know a little more before expounding strong convictions.

The Classification Master List from last year has 1622 athletes on it who would be subject to a review this year (all 1-10 & 14): https://www.paralympic.org/swimming/classification/masterlist

At about 7 athletes per Classification Panel per day that is 232 days of classification to complete the list, assuming that any new athletes do not exceed retiring ones.

There are 9 identified Classification Opportunities for athletes with a Physical Impairment: https://www.paralympic.org/swimming/classification/opportunities . That’s 26 panel/days per event. You’d need 8 or 9 teams at every event and that isn’t going to happen.

Further more a host… Read more »

LMA
Reply to  bobc
3 years ago

Not all of the 1622 registered swimmers will require review. The list should have been narrowed down long before now, prioritised by WPS and then by the NGB. It is not rocket science and they have had years to prepare for this. A priority should have been to ensure as many classification opportunities as possible – tough to do when you are relying on volunteers though eh, another problem.

Bobc
Reply to  LMA
3 years ago

The point of an R review status is that any athlete with this status can be pulled into classification at any meet they attend that happens to have classification. Paralympics, Worlds, Europeans and others require a review to be resolved for entry either before or at the meet.

Additionally many countries will be held accountable by their funding partners for ensuring that the team they fund today will be eligible and competitive tomorrow so nations are individually also pressed not to ignore their up and comers.

Furthermore I didn’t even count those who had been found ineligible but who are now entitled to a new review. Nor the fact that the technical assessment now takes much longer, the tools used… Read more »

LMA
Reply to  Bobc
3 years ago

Well aren’t I the lucky 1 BobC. Athletes are being let down left, right and centre due to all aspects of classification, nothing else. So here’s another stupid thing for you on this ‘complainers forum’ – Hynd, unfortunately, has joined a growing list of previous WR holders/gold medalists who have found themselves classed up after years of top funding. How many so far? At least 5 that I can think of in recent times and I’m sure there are many more ‘adjustments’ to come, So yeah, I’d be pretty sceptical if funding Para Swimmers was my responsibility. Lets not even mention the welfare of the athletes. The IPC have to do better. If they can’t then they outsource. Thank goodness… Read more »

LMA
Reply to  Bobc
3 years ago

BobC If atrophy is an absolute minimum requirement as proof of hemiplegia in athletics and triathlon classification then why isn’t it so for Swimming? It is the same ‘eligible’ classifiable impairment type as determined by the IPC themselves and the IFs need to comply with the rules of classification. BobC, can you answer this? Can anyone else? Can you also explain how it is possible for CP swimmer to consistently record 0.6low/medium reaction times off the blocks? Can anyone familiar with CP swimmers answer that one?

Mark
Reply to  bobc
3 years ago

BOBC

If you look on the IPC website you will see the letter from PvdV stating that NGBs are now in charge of who they chose to reclassifie and when.
I have been to Bonn with my wife and during our meeting with PvdV and mike peters the new process was discussed and am in regular contact with the IPC to highlight the classification farce.
You will also find if you look at the IPC events calendar they list another event where classification is for sale

Taa
Reply to  LMA
3 years ago

Each NGB is allowed to choose the swimmers that get their slots. I think the understanding is that the higher ranked swimmers are going to get first priority. Copenhagen seemed to have an even distribution of slots among a lot of countries. The USA meet SHOULD be heavily weighted towards USA, Canada and Mexico swimmers. If its not then on positive side the meet will have a lot of international competitors

Mark
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

Cp world games have been told they can offer classification at their games in Spain this year if you want to pay for it.
Team England have 29 swimmers paying for IPC classification at this event. So with 10 other countries attending that could lead to over 150 swimmers paying for IPC status.
Team England was selected on the basis of if you can afford £1500 then you are selected.
This will see some really poor quality swimmers gaining IPC status before those who need to be reclassified.
It’s a joke and a couple of days before the European Para meet in Dublin.
Will the classifiers be up to the job I doubt it as… Read more »

sven
3 years ago

Gonna have to trust the professionals on this one. Ollie Hynd might be a legit victim in this case, that’s not my place to say, but until they figure out a way around this, I would rather them be too tough than too lenient.

Taa
Reply to  sven
3 years ago

Its always going to come down to a judgement call on a lot of these swimmers. My personal opinion is that some of these class changes that will occur this year have already been predetermined by the IPC which is really unfair to the swimmers.

AMA
3 years ago

In my opinion he shouldn’t be heartbroken considering his 400 Free time would rank him 3rd in the world in the S9 rankings. He would be 5/6 in the world in the 100 back S9. He has a better shot as a 9 considering Griswold is an S8 and a second faster then the fastest S9. Who is excited to see Griswolds classification?? This will definitely be interesting!!

Taa
Reply to  AMA
3 years ago

Well Griswold did a 4:39 and Hynd did a 4:19 last year. I dont know what Hynd is confused about…he seems too fast to be an S8.

Yabo
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

could it just be that griswold and hand are legit talents who a have been hindered by their disability? how fast you are should not determine classification which is why this process is so difficult to judge.

Mary
Reply to  Yabo
3 years ago

Very true yabo. Yes there are some swimmers who have natural talent and have achieve great times. Unfortunately these swimmers have been subjected to allegations of cheating by others whilst the true cheats of the system are supported by their NGB and get away with it.

Taa
Reply to  Yabo
3 years ago

The two things are intertwined and that makes it difficult. The less disabled you are the faster you can swim thus by swimming faster they appear less disabled. There is a definite bias against the neuro athletes in this case and you have to also consider the need to have a fair competition. Another example of this similar circumstance is Mckenzie Coan, she was moved down to a 7 and dominated her free events in Rio. I wonder if they would move her back up for being too fast. They SHOULD evaluate the swimmer based on the actual disability and its effect on their swimming not how fast they actually swim.

KAS
3 years ago

But let’s lay blame where it really belongs…at dishonest athletes who cheat (exaggerate their disability) to win, and the coaches who support cheating. Where is the integrity? The sportsmanship? Their conscience? Is it really a win when you are clearly in the wrong class?

Ваш худший кошмар
3 years ago

Hold the phone! Everyone look at Leanne Smith from the USA! She put on a show in her review swim in Copenhagen at the WPS Series meet. She achieved a best of 43.83 in 2017. In Copenhagen, she went a 1:09.47!!! That is a 29.6 second add in a 50! Better yet, today she swam a 51.04, a full 18 seconds faster than her review swim in Copenhagen. I don’t see how an 18 second drop in a 50 can be considered in any light to be “Giving her best effort.” There are many people out there like Hynd who despite the situation, didn’t play games in their classification review swims. I believe that She needs to be investigated for… Read more »

Taa
Reply to  Ваш худший кошмар
3 years ago

Her and Shelby Newkirk. Newkirk does a 1:50 100 breaststroke and swam a 3:15 in copenhagen. I saw it on the live stream and it was pathetic. I would give her a worst actress in swimming award if I could.

Ella
Reply to  Taa
3 years ago

Leanne Smith has since moved down to an S3 because of that! What?

Mary
Reply to  Ваш худший кошмар
3 years ago

Wow!! And a few years ago everyone went on the attack of a swimmer who swam only 7 odd seconds over her PB. 7 is acceptable 29.6…….over?? That is proof in itself that something is being blatantly exaggerated

CP-parent
3 years ago

Now as the parent of a young swimmer new to this sport and its corruption with classification I find it harder each day to justify my child participation in para swimming.

I know that IM is rife in British para swimming and at our nationals last Dec I witnessed every cerebral palsy swimmer gain lower classification with some of them with very mild CP.

One female swimmer I witnessed from the south west of England was seen punching the air as she left the classification room, this with the arm she claimed had a shoulder injury, which resulted in lack of movement.
She is now an S7/6/7 and no way is she that, with a functioning dive,kick and… Read more »

Gobsmacked
Reply to  CP-parent
3 years ago

What good would that do even if it was possible?
Videos and photos, no matter how compelling, make no impact on the IPC. They just ignore them.

LMA
3 years ago

Patterson smashing the S8 100 free WR whilst beating team mate Cole in the S9 100 free …. priceless viewing really if one wanted a perfect example of the farce that is classification ?

Gobsmacked
Reply to  LMA
3 years ago

Faster than the S9s over 400 in Rio and now rounds up the S9s at Comedy Games in the 100 free.
And with another new walk as well !!
Wake up IPC, wake up Australia, you are being duped.

Mary
Reply to  LMA
3 years ago

Nice perfect arms underwater and straight as well. One wonders also if she places a rock in her shoe to walk with that over exaggerated limp. Watching that spectacle made me feel disgusted at being a part of the para swimming world knowing that this person is committing fraud in front of everyone knowing she can get away with it. If IPC have proof and have acknowledged in the past that she had possibly committed IM then seriously IPC, step up and take action. If not IPC then Australian Swimming or the Australian Paralympic Committee at least. No one is ever going to look at Australian para athletes as being true whilst nothing gets done.

LMA
Reply to  Mary
3 years ago

Ch7 paid $40millionAUD for Commonwealth Games broadcasting rights. The IPC are very well aware of what Australia are up to in Para swimming and have allowed it to continue. Due to the immense complicity then it’s difficult to imagine anyone putting their hand up and taking responsibility for this despicable charade.

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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