A Breakdown of State Cuts and Motivational Times
Much of the sport of swimming is purely time based; this is most definitely true for progressing up the ladder of qualifying meets. USA Swimming does a really good job making sure their different levels of meets have properly formulated and adequate number of athletes at each of these meets. The formulae that are used for these time standards have many, many components that I won’t go into here but if you are interested in how they do it please visit:
For our purposes of education and information I will spend some time talking about USA Motivational Times and the South Carolina State Qualification Standards.
The Motivational Times are a series of time standards (ranging from ‘B’ all the way to ‘AAAA’) for each age group (10 and Under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) are based on what is known as the Top 16. The Top 16 are exactly what it sounds like, the best 16 times in each event in each age group for that particular year. The motivational time standards are evaluated on a national basis each quadrennial (done on a four year cycle, after the Olympics are completed) and represent a percentage of all athletes based on those top 16 times. There is a set of times for all competitive courses, short course yards and meters as well as a long course meters variation.
*** 2013-2016 Top 16 Motivational Times***
Now, why are these motivational times important? For any swimmer having goal times, something to shoot for, is one of the most important things for their development. These times can be used as stepping stones for athletes of any age and experience level in the sport of swimming. As it pertains to South Carolina swimming, our LSC uses these motivational times to help derive both our SCLSC Zone Championship team as well as lending its formulae to determining our SC State Championship time standards.
The SC State Qualification Time Standards are taken with a combination of the Motivational Times from USA swimming as well as the results from the State meet each year. It is taken with a combination of the ‘A’ time standards from USA swimming as well as the 40th place time from each event in each age group from the state meet every year. The SC State times are evaluated each and every season so they exhibit a bit more variation than do the motivational times. As with the motivational times; there is a short course yards and a long course meters variety of time standards for the state championship. Unlike the motivational times however, an athlete may qualify for either the short course standards OR the long course standard, and will be eligible to compete in BOTH of the variations of the state championship.
***Link to SC State Time Standards - Be sure to use current times***