What is Age Group Swimming about?
link: What is USA SWIMMING?
“Age Group Swimming” generally refers to swim meets in which swimmers compete
only against other swimmers in their assigned age group. Events are also organized by
stroke (e.g., freestyle, backstroke, etc.) and by gender
(i.e., boys compete only against boys, and girls compete only against girls).
The Age Group State Championship Meet has three age groups: 10 & Under, 11-12, and
13-14. A typical meet, however, would have the following age groups: 8 & Under, 9-10,
11-12, and 13-14.
In special "SYOA" or “swim-your-own-age” meets there are even more age
groups: 7 & under, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. Some meets will include older
swimmers, e.g., 15-18 and “Senior” swimmers (19 and older).
Competition Strokes and Distances
Swimmers compete in four strokes: freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.
In addition, “individual medley” events are held in which swimmers must
swim lengths of each stroke during the race.
During the winter short-course season, the events often offered are:
8 & Under Swimmers (10 events): 25 yard and 50 yard races in each of the four strokes,
plus a 100 yard freestyle and a 100 yard individual medley
(25 yard lengths of each of the four strokes).
9 & 10 year old Swimmers (10 events): 50 yard and 100 yard races in each of the four
strokes, plus a 200 yard freestyle and a 200 yard individual medley
(50 yards of each stroke).
11 & 12 year old Swimmers (11 events): All of the 9 & 10 year old events (see above),
plus the 500 yard freestyle.
13 & 14 year old Swimmers (14 events): The 50 yard, 100 yard, 200 yard, 500 yard,
1000 yard and 1650 yard freestyles, 100 yard and 200 yard races in each of the other
three strokes, plus the 200 yard and 400 yard individual medley races.
Summer long course events are similar, except that the distances are measured in meters
and there are no races shorter than 50 meters.
“Short Course” (fall/winter season) vs. “Long Course” (spring/summer) Meets
Swimming competitions are divided into “short course” and “long course” competitions.
Short course meets are held in 25 yard pools, the size pool you typically see in a high
school. The events in a short course meet are measured in yards, e.g., the 25 yard
freestyle, 100 yard breaststroke, etc. All winter season meets are short course, including
the state championship held in March.
Long course meets are held in 50 meter pools, the size pool you see in the Olympics. The
events in a long course meet are measured in meters, e.g., the 50 meter freestyle, 100
meter breaststroke, etc. Most summer season meets are long course, including the state
championship held in July.