Age Up Rule Change in YMCA League

Some of you may have heard our YMCA league, SWOYSL, has changed the age rule for competition. This rule is commonly known as the age-up rule.

Old Rule in South West Ohio Swim League (SWOYSL) – Swimmers age is determined by the age of the swimmer as of December 1st for the winter season and June 1st for the summer season. This means that any swimmer that is born after December 1st / June 1st would continue to compete in the lower age group, through the championship meet of the respective season. This would only make a difference for those who turned 9,11 or 13 yrs. of age after December 1st.

New Rule in South West Ohio Swim League (SWOYSL) – Swimmers age will be determined by the Swimmer’s age as of the first day of competition. This is for all competition throughout the season including championship meets. This rule is the same rule that is used by USA Swimming. With this rule changing it will make all meets that we attend the same rules for all.


History of the Rule:

As far as I know the SWOYSL has always used the “Old” rule. In 2006, the YMCA adopted the USA technical rules for competition for national meets but kept the “Old” rule for age up a part of the YMCA of USA rules that govern youth sports for all other meets including league championships. Since 2006 many YMCA leagues have switched to the USA age up rule, leaving a few leagues still using the December 1 and June 1st dates.

On September 1st, USA Swimming adopted the 12&under competitive suit rule that changed the type of suits 12 & under swimmers can use during competition. This rule is part of the technical rules that govern USA Swimming. Under the “Old” rules we would have 13 yr. old’s competing as 12 year old’s at championships but would be permitted to wear the higher level technical suits giving an advantage to those swimmers over the rest of the 11-12 year olds.

The changing of this rule was one of the biggest reasons that pressed the league to vote 21-9 to change to the USA rules on age of competition.


What Does This Mean to My Swimmer?

Since you received this email your swimmer is affected by this change immediately for the 2020-2021 season. Your swimmer will compete at our championship meet as their exact age vs. what they have done in the past when they were older than the age group they competed in at championships. In short, they will be at the bottom of their age group this championship season.

While many may feel this is unfortunate or not fair to their swimmer it was decided by the league to institute this rule immediately.


Does my swimmer move training groups so they are swimming in the age they will swim championships?

This season we will look at each swimmer individually on when we will move them up. After this season we will plan to move swimmers up based on their age at championships. This is the way I have ran my programs prior to coming here. I can assure you it is a system that has been proven to work and is used by many programs across the area and country. If a swimmer ages up during the back part of a season our coaches can hold off on making the move up to early if they feel it will be detrimental to their development.

Our lead coaches will be in contact with you in the next couple weeks on the plan. If you have questions on this feel free to contact them.


What about Top 10 and Records?

Our coaching staff determined that this season we will recognize all times that make the teams Top 10 All Time list and/or Team records based on the old rule. Starting in Spring/Summer of 2021 we will begin using the new rule for ages.

I know this is a lot of information. Your swimmer is not alone. We have 27 swimmers that are affected by this rule change on our team. Over the next week my goal is to work with our lead coaches and set up a time to explain this rule to the swimmers during practice. Our goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible.


Do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions.