Power Points in the USA SWIMS Times Database
Every swim listed in the USA Swimming SWIMS Times Database includes a Power Point value. USA Swimming has developed a power point system for each age level that assigns a point value to each swim. This point system allows for comparison of the quality of performances across strokes, distances and events, as well as between age groups.
About USA Swimming Power Points:
- The power point scale ranges from 1 to 1100 points with 800 points approximating AAAA times from the USA Swimming Motivational Times chart.
- The point system has been created using an algorithm that is adjusted slightly for each age level. Ideally, a 500 point swim at one age level is equal in quality to a 500 point swim at another age level.
- The point system will not be changed from year to year unless there is a rule change that would create a sudden time change for an event or stroke (example: the rule whereby a swimmer can not swim past 15 meters underwater).
- FINA Power Points are for international level swimmers and do not have an associated age. They are calculated off the current world records and used to award Club Excellence points and determine top performances across event and gender.
Specific USA Swimming Uses Power Points: These power point tables are utilized in USA Swimming's Club Recognition programs including IMR, IMX and VCC (Virtual Club Championships).
Other Potential Uses for USA Swimming Power Points:
- To assess strengths between distances in the same stroke. For example, a swimmer can compare his/her point score in the 100 Back vs. the 200 Back or across several freestyle distances such as the 100, 200, and 400.
- Swimmers can look at the relative strength of one stroke vs. another stroke, i.e. freestyle compared to breaststroke.
- To determine the quality of short course vs. long course swims. This comparison is a great way for an athlete to measure progress from the end of the short course season through the long course season.
- Coaches and clubs can use combined power points (perhaps in a certain set of events) as one of their requirements for promotion to higher level practice groups.
- Provides coaches a tool to evaluate relative performance over different maturation periods (i.e. 11-12 boys vs. 13-14 boys or 11-12 girls).
- Allow coaches to evaluate effectiveness of training or taper by looking at point improvement across different strokes and distances.
- Facilitates fun intrasquad competitions between age groups in a club program, i.e. 11-12 girls vs. 15-16 boys. 200 Free results can be ranked by points as opposed to times.
- There are several different ways that power points can be used to determine High Point Awards at a swim meet.
- Meet hosts might use power points as another way to score team points at a swim meet.
- With power points, coaches can award a “Performance of the Meet” (highest point score) or “Most Improved Swim” (greatest number of points improvement) or similar type acknowledgements after each swim meet.
Coaches and clubs can use power points in a variety of ways to recognize and acknowledge swimmers at season-ending award ceremonies.
- LSC’s can use power points as a tool to assess relative strengths in establishing time standards for different levels of meets. Both clubs and LSC’s might use combined points to serve as another way to qualify for participation in certain meets.
IMR, IMX & Power Point Calculator: A swimmer can calculate his or her power point score instantly by using the IMR, IMX & Power Point calculator. A swimmer selects his event and age, enters his time into the calculator and then clicks on the Calculate button. A swimmer also has the option of looking at and printing the chart of all point values from 2 to 1,100 with corresponding times for the selected event. These tables make it possible to look at specific events and research the point value assigned to various times for that event. Note: All 8-under athletes use the 9 yr old scores.
Power points are a valuable measurement tool for swimmers and coaches as well as other segments of the swimming world.