Swimming for the Visually Impaired Person is a sport that has been practiced for many years. Swimming offers many benefits since it can be enjoyed and practiced from the junior level well into the senior years.
Competitive Swimming follows the FINA rules with some allowances for lack of vision. Visually impaired swimmers compete in three classes - B1, B2, or B3 as defined by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA)
B1 swimmer, being totally without sight, require more considerations than B2 or B3 swimmers. Tapping is the most important. This is a method of informing the swimmer when he or she is reaching the end of the pool and must execute a turn or make a final touch.
Sighted partners (tappers) are positioned at each end of the pool and using a rod with a firm butt, safe tip touches or "taps" the swimmer.
Allowances are also made for B1 swimmer who may be too close to a lane line to execute technically correct arm strokes in butterfly or touches in butterfly or breastroke. A team coach directs the takeover for relays.
While most of the fully sighted swimmers choose to wear swim goggles B1 swimmers are required to wear blacked out goggles. B2 and B3 swimmers can compete under FINA rules with out further adaptations however due to some light conditions they do have the option of being tapped.