Aquatics Competition Format


Swimming is one of the most competitive sports at the Commonwealth Games. Events are held in Freestyle, Backstroke, Breaststroke, Butterfly and Individual Medley with distances ranging from 50m -1500m and the competition usually takes place in a 50m pool.

There are 19 events for men and 19 events for women, plus a range of Para-Sport events which vary from Games to Games.

Freestyle events for both men and women: 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m plus 800m for women and 1500m for men.

Backstroke events for both men and women: 50m, 100m, 200m

Breaststroke events for both men and women: 50m, 100m, 200m

Butterfly events for both men and women: 50m, 100m, 200m

Individual Medley for both men and women: 200m, 400m

Relay events for both men and women: 4 x 100m Freestyle, 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay, 4 x 100m Medley Relay

The Para-Sport events contested at Gold Coast 2018 were:

Men’s S9 100m Freestyle. S9 100m Backstroke, S7 50m Freestyle, SB8 100m Breaststroke, SM8 200m Individual Medley, S14 200m Freestyle

Women’s S8 50m Freestyle, S9 100m Freestyle, SB9 100m Breaststroke, SM10 200m Individual Medley, S7 50m Butterfly, S9 100m Backstroke

Each country can enter a maximum of three athletes per individual event and one team per relay event.

The Swimming programme runs over six days with heats (morning) and finals (evening) held for each event. The fastest eight swimmers progress from the heats through to the final.  However, for 50m and 100m individual events, the format follows heats (morning) with 16 going through to semi-finals (evening) and then the fastest eight go into the final the following evening.

Para-Sport events are contested as heats and finals dependant on the number of entries. If Relay or Para-Sport events attract eight or fewer entries they will be contested as straight finals.

In the event of an equal time being registered for eighth (final) and sixteenth (semi-final) place, there shall be a swim-off to determine which swimmer shall advance to the appropriate finals, with the swim-off held after all involved swimmers have completed their heats.

Para-Sport Swimming Classifications

The classes are prefixed with “S” for Freestyle, Butterfly and Backstroke events, “SB” for Breaststroke and “SM” for Individual Medley events. Swimmers with physical disabilities are divided into ten classes based on their degree of functional impairment. Sport classes S11-13 are for athletes with a visual impairment and S14 for athletes with an intellectual impairment.



To date Diving has featured on the programme of every Commonwealth Games.

Styles of Diving include front, back, reverse, inward, twist and armstand, with points awarded according to technique and grace. Divers submit the dives they will perform in advance of the competition. The more difficult the dive, the higher points it can score if executed well. Judges marks are multiplied by the dive’s difficulty tariff, of which there are five levels.

In Synchronised Diving events, pairs of athletes dive in tandem and are assessed for their execution and synchronisation by a separate group of judges.

There are five events for both men and women: 1m and 3m Springboard, 10m Platform, Synchronised 3m Springboard, Synchronised 10m Platform.

Countries may enter a maximum of three athletes for each individual event and two pairs for each synchronised event.

The usual competition format is preliminaries and finals for individual events and straight finals for synchronised events.

Men perform six rounds of dives per competition and women perform five rounds of dives per competition. The scores from these dives contribute towards qualification for the finals, where each diver’s total score returns to zero at the beginning of the final.

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