U.S. Paralympics Swimming

Coaching Resources

U.S. Para Swimming Coach Certification - Level 1

Level 1 curriculum is a foundational level of para specific governance and knowledge for candidates to fulfill a minimum level of para-swimming education. Level 1 Coach certification parallels to the swimmer PSDM (Para Swimming Development Model) level of Foundations 1 & 2. The course takes about 3 hours to complete and is divided into six (6) parts. 



• Current Swimming Resume

• Current USA Swimming or other organized swimming annual coach membership in good standing

• Current CPR, AED, and First Aid Certification

• Safe Sport Training (annual training is complimentary)

• Green Light (Clear) NCSI Background Check

• Concussion Protocol Training

• Current USADA CAT

• Signed USOPC Ethics Code of Conduct Agreement

• Minimum of 1-year experience in a recognized organized competitive swimming arena working with a diverse group of swimmers 

• Attend the Virtual or In-person quarterly offering of the Introduction & Orientation to Para Swimming Clinic and the Coaching a Para Swimmer Clinic in the same calendar year in which certification is being sought.

Coach Experiential Learning:

· Previous involvement as an athlete, coach, or volunteer in an organized swimming arena working in any capacity.

Key Learning Objectives:

1.    Discover the governance of para swimming

2.    Distinguish between the levels of development in the PSDM

3.    Identify the Levels of the Para Swimming Coach Certification

4.    Acquire a basic understanding of the World Para Swimming classification process and rules with exception codes

5.    Compare the levels of competitions and what standards may apply for meet entries

6.    Review the process of a disqualification and a protest in a para only swim meet

7.    Learn how to assist a swimmer if USADA shows up at the pool deck

8.    Model effective communication and advocacy in a coaching role

9.    Gain insight into practical modifications in and out of the pool in regards of biomechanics and training for optimal improvements through race analysis

10. Prepare the swimmer to be independent and self-reliant


To signup for the Level 1 Coach's Certification, click here.

U.S. Para Swimming Coach Certification - Levels 2-4 COMING SOON


Additional Coaching Education Resources
The best resources for coaches who work with swimmers who have a disability are the same resources readily available from organizations like USA Swimming, YMCA Swimming, American Swimming Coaches Association and the International Swimming Coaches Association, among others.  The science of swimming is universal regardless of the abilities of the swimmer.  Pursue education, training and certification in these spaces first:

Coaches will also benefit from supplemental online resources which address some of the unique aspects of teaching, training and competition for athletes with unique abilities.


Coaching Support

U.S. Paralympics Swimming coaching support is offered to support National A, B, and C team athlete's home coaches to attend domestic WPS recognized events to support their athlete and become active and engaged within the WPS community.  For more information on the coaching support, please read through the 2021 Athlete and Sport Program plan located here.

  • Home coaches: To submit for reimbursement, please click here.
  • Please include your receipts for your trip in the email.


Trip List

U.S. Paralympics utilizes a "Trip List" system when assigning coaches to the staff of a national team trip.  Any coach may apply for the Trip List.  Assignments are made on an annual basis for any swimming events on the calendar for that year.  The Trip List application materials may be updated on an as needed basis as international rules and regulations are updated throughout the quadrennium.

U.S. Paralympics Swimming Coaches Trip List PDF - Currently being Updated
U.S. Paralympics Swimming Coaches Trip List Application - Currently being Updated

For further information, please reach out to Associate Director of U.S. Paralympics Swimming: Erin Popovich at erin.popvich@usopc.org


Camps & Clinics
Coaches are typically welcome at our camps and clinics. To see if there is one coming up near you, click here.


U.S. Center for SafeSport
Report a concern
USOPC Athlete Safety