For the third time since March, Great Britain’s Ollie Hynd has switched classifications.
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 would be racing less impaired swimmers than he previously did. At the time of the initial reclassification, Hynd released a statement saying he was “heartbroken and confused.”
However, in June, he successfully appealed the reclassification and was moved back to S8 for the time being, with the caveat that he would undergo further testing at a future time.
Hynd went back through review before competing at the 2018 Para Swimming European Championships in Dublin this week, and was once again moved to S9, SwimSwam confirmed.
So far, competing as an S9 in Dublin, Hynd has been off his best times. He’s was 1:07.13 100 back prelims (best time 1:04.46), and then 1:05.76 for fourth place in finals. He went 1:02.44 in the 100 free (best time 58.85), with four days of competition still to come.
A spokesman for British Swimming gave the following statement:
In February 2018 Ollie Hynd went through a classification review as part of the IPC’s ruling that all para-swimmers with a physical impairment must undergo a review of their international classification.
The outcome of this review meant Ollie was reclassified to S9, SB8, SM9.
Feeling the classification had not been processed in accordance with the rules and regulations, Ollie, with the support of British Swimming and the British Paralympic Association, lodged an appeal to the IPC’s Board of Appeals for Classifications.
The BAC panel upheld Ollie’s appeal meaning the February review result was set aside and he was required to go back through a review before competition at the Dublin 2018 European Championships.
From this new review Ollie was allocated the classifications of S9, SB8, SM9.
British Swimming strongly supports a fair and transparent international classification process and thanks everyone involved for their vigilance and professionalism around this sensitive issue.
In late 2017, World Para Swimming announced that it would implement a new classification process, which took effect January 1, 2018 – all athletes are required to undergo a new classification test in 2018 (with the exception of a few special cases, which can be found here). This new process is meant to combat intentional misrepresentation (IM), which occurs when an athlete intentionally makes their impairment seem more severe in order to be put into a lower disability class.
Under the new system so far, an inordinate number of athletes, some more high-profile than others, have been reclassified – both up and down. You can read more about the chaos here.