Excerpted from the September 2018 issue of "Take your Mark!", the Potomac Valley Swimming parents' newletter.

Swimming Governance -  How are your child’s swimming experiences organized and governed, and how do they fit within the scope of Olympic/International swimming?

Let’s start at the top. FINA (Fédération internationale de natation) is the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering competition in water sports—swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming, etc. It is based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and currently consists of 209 member nations. Each nation establishes governing bodies to administer the individual aquatic sports under the rules and procedures of FINA, as well as those of the country’s Olympic governing body.

The national governing body for swimming in the United States is USA Swimming. USA Swimming, headquartered in Colorado Springs, is charged with the overall organization and operation of swimming within the U.S. It is divided into 59 Local Swimming Committees (LSCs), which are the local administrative organizations responsible for the registration, support, and governance of the USA Swimming member swim clubs in their designated region. In Washington DC and the nearby counties, that LSC is Potomac Valley Swimming (PVS).

Potomac Valley Swimming currently includes approximately 12,000 athletes in about 50 member clubs. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of coaches, officials, swimmers, and other interested parties. One of the chief responsibilities of PVS is to sanction swim meets, and then to ensure that these meets are run under USA Swimming rules. Please note that there are other organizations in the area that run swim meets that are not typically sanctioned and governed by PVS—these include high school, college, summer leagues, masters, etc.