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Below you will find information about (1.) the Sharks Season Structure (2.) USA Meet Structure, and (3.) YMCA Meet Structure


Season Structure:

The YNS Sharks (YNS) compete in two seasons: the Winter Short Course Season (September – April) and Summer Long Course Season (April – July/August). YNS is a year round program.

As a competitive swimming program, YNS supports United States Swimming and YMCA Swimming. The focus of YNS is on providing opportunities for all of our athletes to showcase their hard work and dedication. As such as swimmers are encouraged to compete in the meets which they are eligible and the meets that are determined by the coaching staff of YNS. All of our swimmers are eligible for all meets sanctioned by the USA and YMCA leagues.

Winter Short Course (SC) Season (September – April):

Short Course season is named based on the measure of distance in which the swimmer compete (25 yards or 25 meters). The SC season starts in September and the regular season lasts into mid-January. Championships for SC are held from mid-January through March/Early April, depending on the level of competition for which the swimmer qualifies. YNS train and compete in 25 yard pools during this season.

Summer Long Course (LC) Season (April-July/August):

Long Course season is named based on the measure of distance in which the swimmer competes (50 Meters). The LC season begins in late April and the regular season lasts into mid-July. Championships for LC are held from mid-July through mid-August, depending on the level of competition for which the swimmer qualifies. YNS is lucky to have a 50 Meter pool in our association at Beverly.


Below is a diagram of a Long Course pool:




USA Meet Structure:

United States Swimming is the governing body for all types of competitions involving American Swimmers. All teams for all international meets, including the Olympic Games, are selected by United States Swimming. As such qualifying time standards are often more rigorous than YMCA qualifying times and they provide an excellent pathway for athlete, coach, and program goal setting.

USA Meets:

USA Swimming meets are sanctioned by the United States Swimming Organization through New England Swimming (our Licensed Swimming Committee). Competition is divided by age and gender.

8 & Under




15 & Over

Open (Open means that events offered in this category do not have age restrictions - anyone can participate)

Swimmers are expected to compete in both the USA meets for which they are eligible and the meets targeted by the YNS coaching staff.

USA Regular Season:

Meets are often classified as A, B, C or some combination of letters. These classifications refer to the cutoff times for the fastest and slowest swimmers that are allowed to swim at that meet. These A, B, or C time standards are determined based on the fastest performances in the US during the last few years, called National Age-Group Motivational Times (top 16). Motivational Times can be located on our website under ‘Time Standards’ or on USA Swimming’s website.

In USA A/B meets anyone with an A or B time can compete, but C swimmers cannot. In B/C meets anyone (even without a time) can compete, but A, or faster cannot. Still other meets have no time limits and anyone can compete. Most of YNS’s meets are open to all level of swimmers.

USA meets provide swimmers with an unique opportunity to compete in an environment similar to a championship style format, quality of opposition, and intensity of racing. These meets are viewed as critical by the YNS Sharks.

USA Championship Levels:

  1. Regional Championships
  2. 12 and Under / 13-18 Age Group Championships
  3. Senior Elite Championships
  4. Senior Championships
  5. Sectional Championships
  6. Junior Nationals
  7. US Open Championships, Senior Nationals, Grand Prix
  8. Olympic Trials

To be eligible for an USA Championships meet, a swimmer must be a member of USA Swimming and have achieved the event’s qualifying time standard within one year prior to the meet start date.




YMCA Meet Structure:

Ever since YMCAs began offering competitive swimming and diving in the early 1920’s, these sports have proved to be excellent opportunities for putting into action the YMCA’s mission. Over 1000 YMCAs offer competitive swimming and/or diving with over 50,000 youth participating. Over 1400 YMCA swimmers annually compete at the YMCA National Championships, making it the largest youth swim meet in the country. YMCA competitive swimming and diving programs are for the beginning swimmer to the most competitive and skilled swimmer and helps to train individuals of all ages to compete in League, State, Area and National Championships.

YMCA Leagues:

The Eastern Mass. YMCA Swim League is composed of twenty-five teams separated into five divisions:

Division IV: Charles River, North Surburban, Oak Square, Roxbury, Waltham, West Suburban

Division III: Cambridge, Greendale, Malden, Metro West, Middleboro, Old Colony

Division II: Danvers, Dorchester, Lowell, Montachusett, Somerville, West Roxbury

Division I: Attleboro, Burbank, Hockomock, Melrose

Division IA: Andover, North Shore, South Shore

New England YMCA Swim League is composed of swim teams from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

National YMCA Swim League is composed of teams from all fifty states.


YMCA Meets

YMCA meets are sanctioned by the YMCA and officiated by YMCA officials. Competition is divided by age and gender.

Class “E” is 8 and Under

Class “D” is 9-10

Class “C” is 11-12

Class “B” is 13-14

Class “A” is 15-18

A swimmer’s age is determined by his/her age as of December 1st.  If you have specific questions regarding this matter discuss it with your site coordinator.

Swimmers are expected to compete in both the YMCA meets for which they are eligible and the meets targeted by YNS coaching staff.

YMCA Regular Season:

The Short Course YMCA regular season (October – January) is composed primarily of dual meets, one team competing against another team. Occasionally, there will be three swim teams at one meet which is called a tri-meet. Meets are typically held on Saturdays and Sundays with warm-up times starting at 12:30pm and lasting around 4 hours. All swimmers are eligible to swim in our regular season and are allowed to compete in a predetermined number of events and relays.

YMCA Championship Season:

  1. Districts (Eastern Mass.)
  2. New England Championships
  3. National Championships

To be eligible for the Short Course YMCA Championships season (February – April), a swimmer must have competed in three (3) regular season YMCA meets prior to the beginning of Y Districts and have achieved the event’s qualifying time standards during the regular season.

Definition of closed Y meets is as follows from the YMCA of the USA Black Book:

YMCA inter-association meets are closed competitions (Rules That Govern Rule I Sec. 7) in
• At least two (2) teams from different YMCA associations take part
• At least six (6) competitors from each team participate
• At least six (6) events are contested, including one four-person single-sex relay
• At least two (2) YMCA Certified officials are present for the conduct of the meet and
the meet is conducted under YMCA rules. USA Swimming Certified Officials may
assist with the officiating at such meets, provided that there are at least two YMCA
Certified Officials, one of whom is the Referee.

A closed YMCA invitational meet lasting two or more days may be counted as two YMCA
meets for the purpose of meeting the YMCA National Championship qualifying requirement
of competing in three closed inter-association meets. In order to take advantage of this
special allowance, a swimmer must compete in at least two separate days of the meet.
A single meet, regardless of length of days contested, may not be counted both as one of
the closed inter-association meets and a sanctioned championship meet for the purpose of
satisfying those qualification requirements for YMCA Nationals.

(By this ruling the Virtual Meet counts as 1 closed meet, and Invitationals like the Thanksgiving meet can be counted as 2 meets if a swimmer competes on 2 days.)

To be eligible for the Long Course Championship season (July - August), a swimmer must have achieved the event’s qualifying time standard within one year of championships.


YMCA vs USA Swim Meets - A flow chart to help delineate the differences between YNS meets. 


Which meets should your swimmer enter? (YMCA or USA or Both)

Determining when, where, type of meet, events and how often a swimmer competes is an integral part of the swimmers’ training routine. Your swimmer’s coach will discuss meets and a swimmer’s participation in a particular meet as the season progresses. If you have questions about which meets are appropriate for your swimmer, please discuss this with your swimmer's coach, the Site Coordinator or the Head Coach of YNS. Relays are determined by the coaching staff and may not always be swum by the fastest four swimmers in an age group.




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