Part Two of the series delves into the USA Swimming Competition Pyramid. In the first part 1 of the series, we delved deep into the details of the top level of elite competition. We looked at all USA Swimming-sanctioned meets that are Sectionals and over. In Part II of this series, we will look at every meeting across the US, starting from Sectionals to. We’re going to your questions about the age-group swimming competition levels, so it’s easier to determine what elite athletes are doing.

Suppose you’re beginning to learn about competitive swimming or are in the beginning stages of the competition. In that case, we’ll help you determine which competitions you should aim for and assist you in comprehending how all of these build into the most significant swimming event on the continent of the US: the Olympic Trials.

If you’ve just begun swimming, you’ll likely start with non-qualifying meets. And you’ll probably be anxious! The fear of being nervous and “butterflies,” are standard at all levels of competition. If you’re getting ready for your first swimming meet or want to know how to assist those who are, click here to find helpful coaching tips for helping your child excel at their first competition.

Non-qualification meets are open to anyone who is a USA Swimming swimmer to compete. Why do swimmers need to compete? The answer is that competition is similar to doing. Swimmers are constantly working to improve and enhance their skills. Like athletes and performers who compete in different sports, swimmers require the space and place to showcase what they’ve worked on. The ability isn’t fully learned or mastered until it can be executed under pressure. Swimming meets offer that pressure-free setting. The swim meets are located near or in the swimming pool which the swimmer is practicint. They’re usually low-key, making them an excellent start in the competition pyramid.

Local Qualification Meets

Swimming is a trendy sport. Each team in USA swimming is a member of an LSC or a local pool committee. LSCs have been designated as committees made up of enthusiastic people about swimming. They help in organizing events for swimmers within specific geographic areas. All across the US, there exist at least 59 of them. Yes,  indeedthere are more LSCs than the states of the United States. As some states have lots of swimmers (or huge geographic regions), they are split into several LSCs. LSC committees are crucial because they aid in organizing, controlling, regulating, and promoting swimming competitions and meeting the needs of swimmers living in their region. If a specific area is home to many participants, LSCs can allow teams to host qualifying meets. To be able to take part in qualifier swimming events, swimmers need to adhere to time-specific standards.

The names of these events differ depending on the location in the US you compete. Additionally, the way they are organized, the speed at which they are held to standards, and the time of the year also vary. Your swim club will be able to have some of these meetings already scheduled into their schedule of meets at the beginning of each season.

Age Group Championships

Every LSC of USA Swimming hosts at least one Age Group Championship meet. It is important to note that the Age Group Championship information varies from LSC to LSC. Although this can make understanding the competition structure difficult, there are benefits to this system since each LSC can provide an end-of-season Age Group Championships according to the requirements of their respective locale.

Age Group Championships usually occur two times a year. Once during the shorter course yard seasons and the other time in the event of long course meters. These meets can be named State Championship; additional times, they are organized as Championship Meet. These meets generally include prelims and final formats for predetermined age groups. There are some exceptions to this, as is the case in Maine. In the past, swimmers of the Maine LSC went across the border to St John, Canada, for their Age Group Long Course Championship Meet. However, in 2022 Maine was the first state to host their Long Course Championship in a newly constructed 50-meter pool in Colby College.

For certain states and LSCs that don’t have a large number of athletes or who are scattered, the Age Group Championships is their first USA Swim meet that requires qualifying times. States with greater swimmer density often have other meets requiring qualifying times per USA Swimming time standards. The qualifying time for the time standard is determined in the LSC. Certain LSCs will always permit bonuses up to a certain amount. Some states will only license bonus events when enough space is available in the competition. Other states don’t license bonus events, meaning the swimmers must meet standard time requirements for each race they want to compete in.

LSCs organize Age Group Championships to support all types of swimmers within their communities. It is the responsibility of these committees to make decisions such as if the eight and under age group will be considered an age group that scores points apart from the ten and under or whether they have to “swim up” if there will only be one age group championship event and so on. The time for the Age Group Championship meets varies depending on your location. However, they usually fall between March and the end of August, when we begin “Championship Season.”

When you rise through the USA Swimming Pyramid, a swimmer must remember why they began swimming the first time. Swimming is an honest and challenging sport. If you’re starting to notice your child performs well in the Age Group Championship level, make sure they go through this article to prepare them to succeed.

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