In swimming, winning isn’t everything. A swimmer may be racing against other athletes in the pool, but she is also racing against the clock.
USA Swimming establishes time standards called National Age Group Motivational times every few years that are designed to encourage age-group swimmers to take their swimming to the next level. Swimmers begin by trying to earn a “B” time and can progress to an “A” all the way to “AAAA” or “Quad A.”
Additionally, many swim meets require swimmers to achieve a minimum time standard in an event to be able to participate. For example, Middle Atlantic Swimming sets minimum standards to qualify for the Middle Atlantic Swimming Junior Bronze, Silver, and Junior Olympic Championships and the Eastern Zone Championships.