Midnight Sun Swim Team




USA Meets are broken down into different categories and tiers to best suit each swimmer’s ability.  From the beginning age group swimmer to the elite senior athlete there are different level meets to set goals to qualify for and compete at, as well as meets to compete in to achieve those goals.  The structural breakdowns of common meets throughout the seasons are as follows:



Time Trials – As an opportunity to offer competitive opportunities for our swimmers to better themselves and qualify for higher level meets we offer Time Trials through the season.  These meets are held at our own pool and are for our own team.  Events are set up and swimmers compete against each other.  These events are free and require parents volunteers to help run.  All swimmers regardless of group can be in attendance for these meets.

Open Qualifier – These are one of the most common meet types through the seasons.  Open qualifier meets are those that do not require swimmers to be faster than a certain time or slower than a certain time.  Any ability athlete may enter these meets.

Slower Than Meet – These meets are primarily for newer swimmers to the team or the sport itself.  Although few meets of this type are held in Alaska, they are a common meet down south.  Swimmers with a time slower than the listed time standard in the meet information may enter these meets.  Athletes who have not swam an event, and thus do not have a time yet, may enter these meets.  Athletes are not penalized for swimming faster than the time standard in the meet.  These meets are great for all Swimmers just starting out. 

Faster Than Meet – Swimmers need to qualify for these meets with previous swims where they swam faster than the cut off time.  Qualifying times are usually in line with the National Age Group Motivational Time Standards (NAG16).  Meets may require ‘B’ times or ‘A’ times to have been previously achieved in order to enter these meets.  Cut off times are specified in the individual meet info as well as the meet schedule.

Preliminary/ Final Meet – Many faster than meets are swam as preliminary/ finals.  This means that there are multiple sessions in the same day for the same age group.  In prelims all athletes entered in each event compete in various heats in order to qualify to swim at finals.  Finals are what every swimmer works to compete at, an opportunity to race all of your competition at once without other heats.  Finals are typically held in the evening and consist of the top swims from preliminaries.  All finals include a Championship (A) final consisting of the top 6-10 swimmers from preliminaries depending on the number of lanes in the venue.  Some events offer a Consolation (B) final of the next 6-10 fastest swims, few meets offer a bonus (C) final and even a D final.  Only athletes competing in finals score team points and are eligible for awards.  Swimmers can only place in their own final; meaning if a swimmer in the B final swims faster than someone in the A they would not place higher than first place in the B final.

Championship Meets – Championship meets are the culmination of the season or a particular portion of the season and are typically faster than meets held as preliminary/ finals. Many championship meets have qualification standards (times) that must be met in order to compete at that meet. Our Northern Area Championship does not have qualification standards, and all of our swimmers are encouraged to compete in that meet. The remainder of our championship meets do have qualification standards, and this pyramid will show you the championship meet progression. All athletes that qualify for these meets should be in attendance at them.