Swimming has always been a great sport and recreational activity. It not only promotes vitality but also trains your mind to be disciplined, especially for competitive swimming. However, little do we know that swimming is also good for the visually impaired.

The British Blind Sports states: "We believe that every visually impaired person has the right to participate in the sport of their choice. We understand that there are many hurdles and barriers to overcome in order for each and every visually impaired person to have the same accessibility as a sighted person."

Here are some useful tips for the visually impaired to be successful in swimming.

Lap Swimming
  • In swimming laps, make sure to count the number of strokes needed to cover the pool’s length. This allows you to slow down as you are about to end.
  • Use a brightly colored marker or an audio device at the end of the lane to help with turns and orientation to the pool.
  • It’s important for competitive swimmers with limited or no vision at all to have a "tapper".

The tapper is a knowledgeable guide who is experienced in observing a swimmer’s strokes. He/she will "tap" the swimmer as an indication that the lane is about to end and that the swimmer needs to make a turn. Tappers should be at the end of each pool. He/she must have a rod with a firm foam tip to touch the swimmer at the right moment.

  • Swim tappers should attune their taps with the blind swimmer’s stroke movement and momentum. This would help the blind swimmer to swim at their maximum speed without having to worry of smashing with the pool’s end.
Open Water Swimming
  • Since open water has no boundaries to give you a line of direction, always swim with someone or in a group for safety purposes.
  • During emergencies, swim in the wave’s direction, not against it. This will eventually take you to the shore.
  • Pay attention to sounds that would direct you to the direction to the dry land. This includes people talking, music or dogs barking.