ACE is a member of USA Swimming, our national governing body, and Midwestern Swimming, our local swim committee (LSC). As such, we compete in swim meets sanctioned by USA Swimming through Midwestern Swimming. 

Types of Swim Meets

Swim meets are often categorized by the time standards required to compete in the meet. The time standards are usually referred to like this, from fastest to slowest...  AAAA, AAA, AA, A, BB, B

Most of our local meets are categorized as B+ or B- meets.  A "B+" meet means that a swimmer must have achieved at least a B time in an event  in order to enter that event. This type of meet might also be called a "B minimum" meet. A "B-" meet means that a swimmer's best time in an event must be slower than the B time standard in order to enter that event. This type of meet might also be called a "B maximum" meet.

You might see meets categorized as BB+ or BB-, A+, etc. It works the same way as the B+ or B- meets, just using a different time standard.

A NTS, or No Time Standard, meet has no qualifying time requirement.

 

Midwestern Championship and Qualifier Meets

For many of our club's swimmers, the biggest meet of the season for both our short course season (25-yard pools, meets usually run September through March) and our long course season (50-meter pools, meets usually run May through August) is the Midwestern Championship meet. The minimum time standards to qualify for this meet are listed for each age group in the "Midwestern Swimming Long Course or Short Course Championship qualifying times" document on the Time Standards page. To qualify for these meets, the time standards are typically somewhere between an “BB” and a “A” time.  

The Midwestern Qualifier meet is for swimmers who have not achieved the championship meet qualifying times in an event or events. Swimmers who are faster than the championship meet qualifying time in an event are not allowed to swim in that event at the Qualifier meet. This meet is the perfect "last chance meet" for swimmers who are trying to qualify for the championship meet. It is also ideal for swimmers who will not compete in individual events at the championship meet, even if they are not likely to achieve the qualifying time at the Qualifier meet.

 

Beyond the LSC Championships, there are regional and national level competitions with their own time standards:

All Stars

The All Star meet is held in January each year and includes swimmers in the 13-14, 11-12, and 10 & Under age groups. Swimmers are chosen by Midwestern Swimming and compete for our LSC. To qualify for this meet, a swimmer usually has to achieve one of the 5 fastest times in our LSC for the short course season (from September through December of a given season) in at least one event. The all star meet usually includes Colorado, Iowa, Midwestern, Missouri Valley, and South Dakota.

To understand Zones and Sectionals, know that USA Swimming divides the 59 LSCs into four zones: Eastern, Central, Southern and Western.  (It’s sort of like the NHL, where all of the hockey teams are divided into four separate divisions).  Like each LSC, each zone holds championship invitational meets at the end of the winter and summer seasons for select age group and senior swimmers for LSCs within that zone.

 

Zones

The Zone Championship meet in only held in the summer, usually at the beginning of August right after our Midwestern Championship meet. Swimmers represent Midwestern Swimming at this meet.  It is an age group meet for 14 & Under swimmers, with the age groups 10 & Under, 11-12, and 13-14. The qualifying standard is a AAA time for each event in the respective age group. Our zone meet typically includes the following LSC's:  Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Midwestern, Missouri Valley, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ozark, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. 

 

Sectionals

Region VIII Sectionals is a championship-level meet held near the end of each season. It is considered to be a "Senior" meet because there are no minimum or maximum age limits for the meet. Everyone swimming in the meet competes together in the same category; there are no age groups. There are separate time standards for this meet. See the "Summer or Spring Sectionals Qualifying times" document on the Time Standards page.

 

Futures 

This is the USA Swimming sponsored Futures meet.  Qualifying times are faster than those for the Speedo Sectionals.  This meet is held in August using a long course meter (50m) format.  This meet provides athletes with the opportunity to swim against the nation’s best 18 and under athletes as well as the opportunity to swim in front of many college coaches.

 

Junior Nationals

This is the USA Swimming sponsored Junior Nationals meet.  Qualifying times are faster than Speedo Futures.  This meet is held in winter (December) using a short course yards (25 yd) format and in summer (August) using a long course meter (50m) format.  This meet provides athletes with the opportunity to swim against the nation’s best 18 and under athletes as well as the opportunity to swim in front of many college coaches. 

 

National Championship

This is our country’s National meet.  This meet has time standards second only to Olympic Trials and allows athletes to compete against the country’s best swimmers. 

 

US Olympic Trials

This is the meet in which athletes compete for an opportunity to represent our nation on the Olympic Team. Simply qualifying for this meet is in an honor; it gives athletes a chance to earn a position on the USA Olympic team.  The time standards to compete at this meet are slightly faster than US Nationals.  In order to make an Olympic team an athlete must be top 2 in non-relay events (every event except the 100m Free and 200m Free) or top 6 in relay events (100m Free, 200m Free). 

 

For those of you new to the sport, you can see there is a progression of achievement based on time standards within the sport of swimming.  Our goal at ACE is to help each athlete get to whatever level he or she sets for him/herself by providing the resources and coaching.  

The athlete (and frequently the parents as well), however, must provide the most important ingredients to achieve his/her goals – commitment and dedication, hard work, and sacrifice!

 

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