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Altitude Adjustments

USA Swimming Altitude Adjustments

Swimmers coming to the Reno/Tahoe area from lower elevations often notice the effects of our altitude, finding it harder to swim at their best times until they have trained here for a few days or weeks. At the various pools in our area, the air capacity of a lung contains between 79% and 86% of the oxygen found at sea level.

Athletes in many sports, including swimming, often seek out opportunities to train at higher altitudes, to increase the efficiency with which their bodies absorb and use oxygen. An example is the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado at 6035 feet elevation, offering about 80% of sea-level oxygen.

Altitude gives the athletes that train and compete in our area an advantage when they compete in locations closer to sea-level. Did you know that USA Swimming allows your times, for events 200 yards or more, to be adjusted for altitude for entry into swim meets held at lower elevations? (Adjusted times may NOT be used for records or other official times, ONLY for qualification and entry times for meets.)

The allowable adjustments for times achieved at most Zone-4 pools range from 1.20 sec for 200 yards, 5.00 sec for 400 or 500 yards, to 23.00 sec for 1650 yards. The Bishop CA pool is just below 4250 feet, and times achieved there have smaller adjustments.

For more information, click here for the current altitude adjustments in use by USA Swimming.

To see your adjusted times, search the USA Swimming Times Database. (Note that SwimConnection does NOT store or generate altitude-adjusted times.)