Potomac Valley Inclusion Policy for Swimmers with a Disability

Potomac Valley Swimming (PVS), in association with USA Swimming, is committed to provide an environment for disabled swimmers to participate with clubs and to compete in PVS sanctioned meets.

Inclusion Guidelines
  1. USA Swimming Standards
    1. In compliance with USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, PVS desires to accommodate disabled swimmers. A disability is defined as a permanent physical or mental impairment that limits one or more major life activities.
  2. PVS Special Administrative Standards
    1. PVS welcomes all swimmers with a disability who wish to participate in PVS sanctioned meets.
    2. Disabilities encompass the following major areas:
      1. Hearing impairment
      2. Visual impairment
      3. Cognitive disabilities such as mental retardation, severe learning disabilities, or autism
      4. Physical disabilities such as amputations, cerebral palsy, dwarfism, spinal injury, or other mobility impairments
    3. All PVS member clubs are encouraged to include swimmers with a disability and are encouraged to make common-sense adjustments to their venues to accommodate the needs of athletes with a disability.
    4. Accommodations during practices should be up to the discretion of the head coach. Examples of such accommodations are:
      1. Allowing helpers as needed for the disabled swimmer.
      2. Including the disabled swimmer in practices by the swimmer's ability rather than age.
      3. The coach of the practice group should have the same expectations of the swimmer with a disability as the other swimmers in that group with respect to effort, attendance, and other aspects of work ethic.
      4. The same principles of training/conditioning, biomechanics, and sport psychology apply to the swimmers with a disability as the other athletes. Most coaches are expert at modifying practices to accommodate individual needs such as with shoulder injuries.
    5. Inclusion of swimmers with a disability in PVS sanctioned meets. This policy applies only to swimmers with permanent disabilities as defined above by USA Swimming.
      1. In the regular season meets, disabled swimmers need not have achieved the qualifying time standards. The meet director, working with the coach of the disabled swimmer to ensure that no undue focus is placed on the swimmer during the meet, shall have the authority to accommodate the swimmer without substantial negative impact on the meet time line. Examples of such accommodations are:
        1. Allow the disabled swimmer to compete at a shorter distance, e.g. a 50 yard distance within a 100 yard event.
        2. Seed the disabled swimmer by time rather than age; e.g., a 13-year-old disabled swimmer could be seeded in the 11-12 age group of the same event.
      2. In championship level meets, disabled swimmers may enter with the permission of the Meet Director and Senior or Age Group Chairman. Accommodations as described above (or others, as recommended by the Adapted Swimming Committee based upon the specific disability) may be made by the Meet Referee.
      3. Places and awards for disabled swimmers can only be earned in the swimmers actual event and/or age group. At the discretion of the meet host special awards may be given to disabled swimmers.
    6. It is recommended that the following statement be included on all meet announcements. PVS and host clubs along with their Meet Directors are committed to the Inclusion Policy as adopted by the BOD. Athletes with a disability are welcomed and are asked to provide advance notice of desired accommodations to the Meet Director. The athlete (or the athlete's coach) is also responsible for notifying the session referee of any disability prior to the competition.
Recommended by Competition Committee: May 19, 2003
Approved by PVS Board of Directore: June 17, 2003