Time Standards


 2017 - 2020 USA Swimming National Age Group Motivational Times:

Other Motivational Times

Q: What are USA Swimming Age Group Motivational Times?

A:  Motivational time standards are set by USA Swimming and designed to encourage age group swimmers to step their swimming up to the next level. Time standards are also sometimes used to group swimmers of similar ability for different swim meets.  Time standards guide swimmers from just starting out in your age group to reaching your highest potential. 

All swimmers start out as Level "C" swimmers.  As they swim different events and achieve these motivational times in those events, they become B swimmers and can work their way up to AAAA times.  Motivational times are separated by age group and give swimmers a goal to work towards individually with the aim of improving their times.  

When swimmers have attended their first USA swim meet their times will automatically be recorded in the USA Swimming "SWIMS" database and you will see the motivational standard letter listed next to the results.  

These times can be found at the following link: 

Individual Time Search

Q: How are Age Group Motivational Times Determined?

A:  Age Group motivational standards are set on a four year, or “quad”, base. The current Age Group standards started on 9/1/2016 and run through 8/31/2020.

To start, they take the last time of the top 16 (or top 10) for the previous four years and compare it to the 16th fastest time in an age group for the current year. If there is no different, the motivational time standard remains the same.

Time standards for short course meters and long course meters are based off of the time standards for short course yards. They use a formula that multiplies the distance conversion by the short course yards base time. 



Q: What is TAGS?

A:  TAGS is the acronym for Texas Age Group Swimming (i.e., for athletes up through age 14), but the term is usually used to refer to the TAGS meet or its qualifying times ("TAGS times").  The Texas Swimming Association organizes two end-of-season TAGS Championship meets each year, one for Short Course in early March and the other for Long Course in late July.  These meets are the top championships for age 14-under swimmers in the state.  Time standards are published annually for the TAGS meets.   Swimmers must achieve the qualifying times for each event during the season in order to enter that event at TAGS.  The location of each meet varies.  Short Course TAGS meets have recently been held in Dallas, the Woodlands, and at Texas A&M.  Long Course TAGS meets are usually held at the University of Texas in Austin.



Q: What are Gulf Champ Times?    

A:  These times are set by Gulf Swimming and are required times for Gulf Age Group Champ meets. They are sometimes used as cut-off times to make some meets more competitive. Refer to the "Swim Meet Lingo" document in the Parent tab on the SCAT website for an explanation of cut-off times.