USA Swimming Time Standards


Category Course
USA Swimming Motivational SCY/LCM/SCM
NC Age Group State Championships SCY/LCM
NC Senior State Championships SCY/LCM
Age Group Sectionals SCY/LCM
Senior Sectionals SCY/LCM
Olympic Trial LCM

For more information on standards please visit the North Carolina LSC website.


Time Standards Explained


Time Standards
USA Swimming Meets come in a variety of different formats, from Novice all the way through Junior and Senior National Championships. All of these formats, however, are determined based on time standards which indicate the minimum (and sometimes maximum) achievements under which a swimmer may compete in a designated meet. All NCS meets use the USA Swimming Motivational Time Standards.

North Carolina Swimming classifies their time standards into 6 groups: B, BB, A, AA, AAA, AAAA.  These levels represent a progression upward (i.e. A times are faster than BB times), and usually indicate the type of meet a swimmer may compete in.

USA Swimming publishes sets of time standards for various reasons.  One of the reasons behind standards is their usefulness for setting goals.  They are also used to control the size of swim meets, as each higher or faster level in the standards has fewer swimmers.  As the standards get faster, less swimmers achieve them.  Almost every swimming federation in the world uses some form of stepped standards within their system.

Standards can also be used to offer swimmers a general idea on how they match up with other swimmers in their age group and between age-groups. They can be used to compare swimmers in different age-groups with each other, but just because a swimmer has "AA" times as a 9-10 year old does not mean that same swimmer will get "AA" times as a 13-14 y

Percent of USA Swimming Swimmers by Time Standards (2009 Data)



US Open or Faster


Juniors or Faster


AAAA or Faster


AAA or Faster


AA or Faster


A or Faster


BB or Faster


B or Faster


It is very normal for your Swimmer to have different time standards for different strokes.  They may even have different standards for the same stroke but in different distances.  As your swimmer matures their best stroke and distances may change.

A swimmer should not specialize until they have completed maturing physically.  Swimming all the strokes and all the distances will only improve your swimmer's physical and mental development throughout their career.