Decoding the USA Swimming organization
LSCs and Sections and Zones, oh my! These terms can be confusing to newcomers to the sport. Here is a summary of the organizational units to which the Douglas Dolfins Swim Team (DDST-PC) belongs:
LSC: the 59 Local Swimming Committees are the basic administrative units of competitive swimming in the United States, under whose rules swim clubs operate and have their meets sanctioned. DDST belongs to the Pacific Swimming LSC (symbol PC when filling out forms). We are neighbors with the Sierra Nevada Swimming LSC (SN, including the Fallon Barracudas, Fernley Swim Team, Sparks Piranhas, and Truckee-Tahoe Swim Team), and we often attend each others' meets. Other nearby LSCs include Central California Swimming (CC) and Southern California Swimming (CA, including the Las Vegas area), and Snake River Swimming (SR, including the Elko and Ely areas).
Section: within their Zone (see below), LSCs are grouped into Sections for purposes of holding entry-level National Championship competition. As part of Pacific Swimming, DDST belongs to the Gold (California-Nevada) Section, and recently some of our swimmers have qualified for winter and summer Gold Sectional Championships.
Zone: the United States is divided into Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern zones for purposes of holding large regional championship meets, such as the Western Zone Championships being held this year in California. The Western Zone includes all of the Rocky Mountain states westward to the Pacific Ocean, plus Hawaii and Alaska.
USA Swimming is the National Governing Body for competitive swimming in the United States. It is a Group-A member of the United States Olympic Committee. Every swimmer, coach, deck official, meet director, and swim club organization must be a registered member of USA Swimming. USA Swimming directly oversees the conduct of National and Junior National Championships and Olympic Trials competition.
FINA: USA Swimming is a member federation of the Fédération Internationale de Natation (or, International Swimming Federation), the international governing body for aquatic sports. FINA oversees Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Synchronized Swimming, Open Water Swimming, and Masters Swimming at the international and Olympic levels. USA Swimming normally adopts all FINA technical rules.
Zone (again!): Because Pacific Swimming LSC is one of the 3 largest LSCs in the United States (by number of athletes), it is divided into five Zones. DDST is in Zone 4, extending along the eastern Sierra Nevada from Bishop to Reno and Lake Tahoe. Zones 1N, 1S, 2, and 3 are located along the north and central California coast, San Francisco Bay Area, and adjacent central California. When Sierra Nevada Swimming was formed from part of Pacific Swimming many years ago, the teams now in Zone 4 chose to stay with Pacific Swimming. The Zone 4 Board of Directors meets every other month in Carson City, and is always looking for new volunteer members from area teams.