Swim Meet Info

Philosophy of Competition

SDAC engages in a multi-level competition program with USA Swimming that, like our training program, attempts to provide challenging, yet success-oriented competitive situations for swimmers of all ages and abilities. The following policies outline our philosophy with regards to competition:

  • We emphasize competition with oneself. Winning ribbons, medals, or trophies is not our main goal. Even if the swimmer finishes first, but has swum poorly in comparison to his/ her own past performances, he/she is encouraged to do better. The individual's improvement is our primary objective.
  • Sportsmanlike behavior is of equal importance to improved performance. All the coaches teach swimmers how to behave like a champion when the swimmer has both a "good" and a "bad" swim. Respect for officials, congratulations to other competitors, encouragement to teammates, determined effort, and mature attitudes are examples of behaviors praised and rewarded by SDAC’s coaching staff.
  • In the event of a dispute during competition, all matters should be referred to the SDAC coaching staff.
  • A swimmer is praised for improving his/her stroke, time and race strategy. It is the coach's job to offer constructive criticism of a swimmer's performance. It is the parent's responsibility to provide love and encouragement that bolster the swimmer's confidence along the way.
  • Swimmers are taught to set realistic, yet challenging, goals for meets and to relate those goals to practice.
  • Swimmers are prepared and encouraged to compete in all events, distances, and strokes. This policy promotes versatility and encourages the swimmer to explore his potential in the wide range of events offered in competitive swimming. Oftentimes, a swimmers "best" stroke changes as they mature and his/her body goes through physical changes.

Competitive Strokes

The four competitive strokes are freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly. Events are held in all of the competitive strokes at varying distances depending on the age group of the swimmer. In addition, there is a combination of the strokes swum by one swimmer called the individual medley. Other swimming events include relays, which are a group of four swimmers who either all swim freestyle (freestyle relay) or each swim one of the competitive strokes in the order of backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and freestyle (medley relay).

Levels of Achievement

There are seven different age group classifications recognized by USA Swimming: 8-Under, 10-Under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18, and Senior. The Senior classification includes any age registered swimmer who has achieved the prescribed qualifying time for the event. Not all age group classifications are offered at every swim meet. The swimmers age on the first day of a meet will govern the swimmers age for the entire meet.

Within each age-group there are different nationally recognized levels of achievement based on times. All swimmers begin as "C" swimmers. As they improve, they advance from "C", to "B", "BB", "A", "AA", "AAA", and ultimately "AAAA". The times required for each ability level are published each year by USA Swimming. This permits fair, yet challenging, competition on all levels.

In some cases, a swimmer may be in a different class in each stroke. An example: a "C" breaststroke time, a "B" freestyle time, and an "AA" backstroke time.

Some swim meets set certain qualification standards. In order to swim in a certain classification, a swimmer must have achieved the qualifying time for that particular classification.

Types or Levels of Swim Meets

  1. Qualification Meets - These meets have some type of qualification time standard(s) that a swimmer must meet in order to enter the meet.
  2. San Diego Swimming Championships (Junior Olympics) - At the end of each short course (winter) and long course (summer) season. Generally, the standards fall between the national "A" and "AA" time standards.
  3. Far Western Championships - At the end of each short course (winter) and long course (summer) season. Generally, the standards fall between the national "AAA" and "AAAA" time standards.
  4. Western Zone Championships - After the Far Western Championships are held in the summer, a swimmer may qualify to participate in the Western Zone Championships through a qualification process outlined by San Diego Swimming. This is an all-star meet where swimmers compete as a member of the San Diego Imperial Swimming Zone Team competing against other LSC’s from the western region.
  5. Speedo Sectional Series Championships (Junior National Championships) - One of the highest levels of achievement SDAC swimmers strive for is the participation in Sectionals. SDAC swimmers meeting qualifying time standards for this meet travel to different 40 General Swim Meet Information locations throughout the western half of the United States to compete against the best swimmers in the nation.
  6. Conoco Phillips USA National Championships (Senior National Championships) - Other than the U.S. Olympic Trials, which is held every four years, the highest level of competition for our senior swimmers is the USA National Championships. As with Sectionals, SDAC swimmers meeting the national qualifying time standards travel to various cities throughout the U.S. to compete against America’s best swimmers. Swimmers can qualify for national teams that represent the U.S. in international competition by their performances at USA Nationals.

Meet Schedules

Each season's meet schedule is distributed at the outset of the season.

  • The meet schedule has been established with the expectation that swimmers will attend every meet available at their classification level. In other words, a "B" level swimmer should participate in all "B" level meets. We do not schedule a meet unless we feel it is important to participate. However, it is not mandatory to attend meets. One can also choose to enter only one day of a two or three day meet.
  • On average, all team members can expect to compete every four weeks. In some cases, meets of a similar classification are scheduled as close as two weeks apart or as far as one month apart.
  • As a general rule, we do not encourage any swimmer to compete in competition on two successive weekends (except in championship meets). In situations where there is a "developmental" meet one weekend and a "B" meet the following weekend, the swimmer must choose one meet or the other. This policy holds true for all levels of competition.
  • At SDAC, swimming is a team sport. The coaching staff will make the final decision concerning meets SDAC's swimmers will attend. Coaches also make event decisions. Any departure from SDAC's meet schedule must be cleared through your child's coach.
  • Team Effort Meets- Designated team championship meets are indicated on the meet schedule. As SDAC's staff places the most emphasis on these meets, swimmers who qualify are REQUIRED to attend. The San Diego Imperial Junior Olympics, Far Westerns, Western Zone Championships, Sectionals and Nationals are always considered "Team Effort Meets".