Season Structure

Below you will find information about (1.) the Strypers Season Structure (2.) USA Meet Structure, and (3.) YMCA Meet Structure.

Season Structure:

The South Shore YMCA Strypers (SSYS) compete in two seasons: the Winter Short Course and Summer Long Course.

As a competitive swimming program, the SSYS supports United States Swimming and YMCA Swimming. The focus of the SSYS is on providing opportunities for all of our swimmers to showcase their hardwork and dedication. As such all swimmers are expected to compete in both the meets for which they are eligible and the meets targeted by the coaching staff. All of our swimmers are eligible for all meets sanctioned by the USA (must be registered) and YMCA meets.

Fall/Winter Short Course (SC) Season

Short Course season is named based on the measure of distance in which the swimmers compete (25 yards or 25 meters). The SC season starts in September and the regular season lasts into mid-January. Championships for SC are held from mid-January through March / early April, depending on the level of competition for which the swimmer qualifies. The Strypers train and typically compete in 25 yard pools.

Spring/Summer Long Course (LC) Season

Long Course season is named based on the measure of distance in which the swimmer competes (50 meters). The LC season begins in late April and the regular season lasts into mid-July. Championships for LC are held from mid-July through mid-August, depending on the level of competition for which the swimmer qualifies. 

Below is a diagram of an example long course (LC) pool:

USA Meet Structure

United States Swimming is the governing body for all types of competitions involving American swimmers. All teams for all international meets, including the Olympic Games, are selected by United States Swimming. As such qualifying time standards are often more rigorous than YMCA qualifying times and provide an excellent pathway for athlete, coach and program goal setting.


USA swimming meets are sanctioned the United States Swimming organization. Competition is divided by age and gender.

- 8 & under.
- 9-10.
- 11-12.
- 12 & under.

- 13-14.
- 15 & over.
- Open.

Swimmers are expected to compete in both the USA meets for which they are eligible and the meets targeted by the SSYS coaching staff.


Meets are often classified as A, B, C or some combination of letters. These classifications refer to the cutoff times for the fastest and slowest swimmers that are allowed to swim at that meet. These A, B or C (all times) time standards are determined based on the fastest performances in the US during the last few years, called National Age-Group Motivational Times (Top 16 based).

In USA A/B meets anyone with an A or B time can compete, but C swimmers cannot. In B/C meets, anyone (even without a time) can compete, but A or faster swimmers cannot. Other meets called All Ages meets have no cut-off times and are sometimes swum in single year age groups e.g. 9 & under, 10, 11, 12, etc.

USA meets provide swimmers with an unique opportunity to compete in an environment similar to a championships style meet both in format, quality of opposition and intensity of racing. These meets are viewed as critical by the SSYS.


i) Regional Championships.
ii) 12 & U / 13 - 19 Age Group Championships (New England LSC).
iii) Zone Championships.
iv) Senior Championships (New England LSC).
v ) Sectional Championships (National Level 1).
vi) Junior Nationals (National Level 2).
vii) US Open Championships or Senior Nationals (National Level 3).
viii) Olympic Trials (National Level 4).

To be eligible for an USA Championship meet, a swimmer must be a member of USA Swimming and have achieved the event’s qualifying time standard within one year prior to the meet start date.


YMCA Meet Structure


Ever since YMCAs began offering competitive swimming and diving in the early 1920’s, these sports have proved to b excellent opportunities for putting into action the YMCA mission. Over 1000 YMCAs offer competitive swimming and/or diving with over 50 000 youth participating. Over 1400 YMCA swimmers annually compete at the YMCA National Championships, making it the largest youth swim meet in the country. YMCA Competitive Swimming and Diving programs are for the beginning swimmer to the most competitive and skilled swimmer and helps to train individuals of all ages to compete in League, State, Area and National Championships.


The Eastern Mass. YMCA Swim League is composed of twenty-five teams separated into five divisions:

Division IV: Charles River, North Suburban, Oak Square, Roxbury, Waltham, West Suburban.
Division III: Cambridge, Greendale, Malden, Metro West, MIddleboro, Old Colony.
Division II: Danvers, Dorchester, Lowell, Montachusett, Somerville, West Roxbury.
Division I: Attleboro, Burbank, Hockomock, Melrose.
Division IA: Andover, North Shore, South Shore.

New England YMCA Swim League is composed of swim teams from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

National YMCA Swim League is composed of teams from all fifty states.


YMCA meets are sanctioned by the YMCA and officiated by YMCA officials. Competition is divided by age and gender.

Class "E" is 8 & under.
Class "D" is 9-10.
Class "C" is 11-12.
Class "B" is 13-14.
Class "A" is 15-18.

A swimmer’s age is determined by his/her age as of December 1st.

Swimmers are expected to compete in both the YMCA meets for which they are eligible and the meets targeted by the SSYS coaching staff.


The Short Course YMCA regular season (October - January) is composed primarily of dual meets, one team competing against another team. Occasionally, there will be three swim teams at one meet, which is called a tri-meet. Meets are typically held on Saturdays with warm-ups starting at 12:30pm and lasting around four hours. All swimmers are eligible to swim in our regular season and are allowed to compete in either: a) two individual and one relay or b) one individual and two relays.


i) District (Eastern Mass.).
ii) New England.
iii) National.

To be eligible for the Short Course YMCA Championship season (February - April), a swimmer must have competed in three regular season YMCA meets prior to the beginning of Y Districts and have achieved the event’s qualifying time standard during the regular season. An exception to this qualifying standard is YMCA Nationals whose times are valid for one year.

Definition of closed Y meets is as follows from the YMCA of the USA Black Book:

YMCA inter-association meets are closed competitions (Rules That Govern Rule I Sec. 7) in
• At least two (2) teams from different YMCA associations take part
• At least six (6) competitors from each team participate
• At least six (6) events are contested, including one four-person single-sex relay
• At least two (2) YMCA Certified officials are present for the conduct of the meet and
the meet is conducted under YMCA rules. USA Swimming Certified Officials may
assist with the officiating at such meets, provided that there are at least two YMCA
Certified Officials, one of whom is the Referee.

A closed YMCA invitational meet lasting two or more days may be counted as two YMCA
meets for the purpose of meeting the YMCA National Championship qualifying requirement
of competing in three closed inter-association meets. In order to take advantage of this
special allowance, a swimmer must compete in at least two separate days of the meet.
A single meet, regardless of length of days contested, may not be counted both as one of
the closed inter-association meets and a sanctioned championship meet for the purpose of
satisfying those qualification requirements for YMCA Nationals.

(By this ruling the Virtual Meet counts as 1 closed meet, and invitationals like the Thanksgiving meet can be counted as 2 meets if a swimmer competes on 2 days.)

To be eligible for the Long Course Championship season (July - August), a swimmer must have achieved the event’s qualifying time standard within one year of championships.