SC vs LC Swim Meets

What's the difference and what do you need to know?

This year you will see a blend of Short Course and Long Course over the next few months on the schedule. The majority of our early season meets will be short course, with long course starting to come in mid season.  To help you understand the differences between Short Course and Long Course, as well as how the qualifying process works between Short and Long Course, please read the information below.

Short Course Versus Long Course
A short course pool, commonly abbreviated SC or SCM, is a pool that is 25 meters in length.
A long course pool, commonly abbreviated LC or LCM, is a pool that is 50 meters in length.

Why are SC and LC swims different?
The most notable difference is that SC pools have an extra turn, or numerous depending on the length of the race.  The efficiency of a swimmers turn, as well as the increased power and speed off any wall, impacts the results of a race.   Considering it in reverse, in LC swimmers spend more time swimming and less time turning and streamlining.

What’s a converted time?
Sometimes, times are converted from SC to LC, or vice versa.  Depending on the intended purpose, a conversion factor of 2-3% is the generally accepted practice.  (All things being equal, LC times are slower.  Factors such as technique development, training, experience, and bodily growth are all significant impacts, especially for younger and novice swimmers.)

Are converted times accepted at meets?
As a rule of thumb, converted times are not accepted for entry into meets. 

Coaches may opt to use converted times at local or developmental meets, only if the meet management accepts them, in order to help seed swimmers appropriately in races and to help with meet and time management.

How do I know which standards to use when comparing my swimmer’s times to a grid of meet qualifying times?
You must always use official times, not converted times, when comparing to qualifying standards. 

If the swimmer’s time was swum in a SC pool, then you compare it to SC standards.  If the swimmer’s time was swum in a LC pool, then you compare it to the LC standards.  This is regardless of the format in which the meet you are considering qualification for is being swum. 

Let’s use the 13 & Under Girls Festival 200 FR as an example.

  • Lady Nepean’s best 200 FR in a SC pool is 2:19.80.  This time would have to be compared to the SC standard of 2:19.38.  Therefore, she did not meet the qualifying time.
  • Note, the LC standard is 2:22.17, which her SC time is under.  However, the LC standard can not be used for comparison as she swam the time in a SC pool.
  • Festival Championships are swum SC earlier in the season, and LC later in the season.  Had Lady Nepean qualified, it would not matter the format of the meet.