Time Standards?

What are time standards?

  1. What are time standards?
    Time standards are a measureable, concrete way for swimmers and coaches to know exactly how an athlete is performing.  Swimmers compare their times to pre-established time standards to see how they rank.
  2. Are there different time standards?
    Yes!  Lots! The first set to be aware of is MOTIVATIONAL TIME STANDARDS, these are grouped by age and level.  Everyone is a “C” swimmer to start with.  Once a swimmer makes a “B” time, he/she becomes a “B” swimmer.  These standards run through “AAAA” level for each event.  These are formulated and prepared by USA Swimming and can be accessed by visiting the USA Swimming page at  TIMES/TIME STANDARDS.

The next set of standards to be aware of is TAGS (Texas Age Group Swimming).  These times are somewhere between “AA” and “AAA” times.  They qualify a swimmer to attend the semi-annual TAGS meets.  These meets are the state age group champs for 14-under athletes.  The time standards are for individuals and relays.  These are set by TSA (Texas Swimming Association) and are based on 16th-20th place for the previous 3 years of TAGS meets.  These standards are not allowed to get slower, but they can (and will) get faster.  They can be accessed by visiting the TSA page at

The next level is Sectionals.  These times are aimed at athletes 13 and older and are faster than TAGS.  However, it is not unusual for a 13-14 year old athlete to have both TAGS and Sectionals.  Sometimes they attend both meets.  Sectionals are also semi-annual.  There are two kinds of times.  Hard times get a swimmer straight into the meet.  Bonus times are available, but to swim an event with a bonus time, an athlete must have the hard cut in another event.  There are no times for relays.  Athletes qualified for the meet may swim any relay offered.  These times can be accessed by visiting the TSA page at

The next two levels are Junior and Senior Nationals.  These times are faster than Sectionals.  To swim in Juniors, athletes must be 19 and under.  There is no age limitation on Senior Nationals.  These times are formulated by USA Swimming and can be accessed by visiting the USA Swimming page at TIMES/TIME STANDARDS

  1. Why should I care about time standards?
    They are a way to measure progress.  Athletes need something to train for, this is one more goal.  Also, athletes mature and benefit greatly from traveling out of their home town for meets.  Making time standards begins to open doors for them to take their swimming to another level.