A Beginner’s Guide to Swim Meets


PWAC belongs to 2 different swimming leagues:

  1. Suburban Aquatic League (SAL) - This is a local league and all PWAC swimmers are members.

  1. USA Swimming - This is a national league and swimmers must be registered with USA Swimming.  Registration is handled by PWAC.  USA swimmers are either attached to a specific team or they are designated as unattached.  Any swimmer registering for USA Swimming with PWAC who was previously attached to another team or was unattached must submit a transfer form to Middle Atlantic to become attached to PWAC.


SAL Meets:  

  1. SAL Dual Meets

  • These are meets where PWAC competes against another local team in the same SAL division.

  • Dual meets are TEAM functions, not individual functions. There are 5 dual meets in a season.

  • All swimmers are expected to swim in dual meets. 

  • Parents are expected to volunteer for meet jobs.  Most jobs do not require any special training or experience.

  • Coaches pick the events. Swimmers swim up to 4 events which represent a combination of individual events and relays.

  1. SAL Championship Dual Meets (playoffs)

  • Conference Dual Meet Finals - PWAC swims against a team in the other division of our conference with a comparable record.

  • League Dual Meet Finals - PWAC swims against a team of the other conference with a comparable record.

  • Swimmers must have competed in a minimum of 2 regular season dual meets to be eligible to swim in either of these championship meets.

  1. SAL Individual Championship Meets

  • Division Championship (a.k.a. B champs) - This meet is open to all swimmers in SAL.  There is no minimum meet requirement to participate.

  • League Championship (a.k.a. A champs) - Swimmers must qualify for this meet.  Only the top 18 swimmers in the league for an event may swim that event in this meet.  Swimmers must have competed in a minimum of 2 regular season dual meets to be eligible to swim in this meet.

  • A swimmer may swim a maximum of 5 events (3 individual events and 2 relays) between A and B champs combined.

  1. SAL Invitational Meets

  • These are optional meets that are hosted throughout the season by various teams throughout the league.

  • All SAL swimmers in the league may attend these meets.

  • Swimmers select their own events.

  • These meets provide swimmers with the opportunity to obtain times or better times in specific events that they may not swim often in dual meets.

  • There is a per event fee charged for these meets.


USA Swimming Meets (U.S. Meets)

  • PWAC typically competes in one U.S.swim meet per month.

  • U.S. meets are often multi-day events that may require a hotel stay.

  • Times achieved by swimmers are maintained in a national database and are used to determine eligibility for meets from the local level up to Olympic Trials.

  • With the exception of a few Invitational Meets, times achieved in a SAL meet cannot be used in U.S. meets.

  • US meets are either short course meets (25 yard pools) or long course meets (50 meter pools)

  • Short course meets occur in the fall and winter and conclude in March with championship meets.

  • Long course meets occur in the spring and summer and conclude in July with championship meets.

  • All US meets charge a fee per event for swimmers which is typically $5.00 per short course event and $6.00 per long course event.  In addition, PWAC adds a per event surcharge to cover the coaching expenses for the meets.