USA Swimming Meet Tiers and Motivational Times:
A swimmer's USA Swimming path begins at local level meets and can move to tri-state area Junior Olympics (JOs) meet, then progresses to Zones and Sectionals, and then moves onto the “national” stage of Futures then Junior Nationals Championships. The graphic above summarizes the overall path to the top The Olympics.
Here is a great resource to share with your child: The motivational Time Standard progression chart (Long course and short course times)
The time standards set varying marks for swimmers of every age group, ranging from B to AAAA based on relative speed within the age group. Each age group has B standards, BB standards, A standards, AA standards, AAA standards and AAAA standards to give swimmers benchmarks for goal-setting and to track improvement.
Some local club meets also set qualifying standards based on the USA Swimming times, requiring swimmers to be faster than, or in some cases slower than, an A time or a BB time, for example, for entry.
To better manage the size of Junior Nationals and the ability of swimmers to smoothly progress from Sectionals to Junior Nationals, USA Swimming did the following:
- They split the short course Winter Junior Championships into two meets, one for the eastern United States and the other for the western half of the country (PSC participates in the East Junior Nationals Meet);
- They kept the long course Summer Junior Championships meet; and,
- They created a new summer “Futures Championships” meet (Futures) that provides swimmers with a new stepping stone between Sectionals and Junior Nationals. Some think of this Futures meet as a “junior” Junior Nationals.
You can find qualifying times for all of these meets at the USA Swimming Time Standards Page: https://www.usaswimming.org/times/time-standards. They are updated annually.