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USA Swimming

USA Swimming

What do you do when competing in a monthly dual meet is not enough to satisfy your competitive drive?  You can add USA Swim meets to your competition calendar!

In addition to the SMSL dual meets and Championships, our club offers its swimmers the opportunity to compete in USA swimming meets.

As an Otter your child is automatically a registered member of the SMSL swim league - membership fees have been included in your registration fees.  Membership to USA Swimming is not automatic and NOT included in your session registration fees.  If you want to participate in USA Swimming meets an additional annual membership is required.

Otters encourages confident swimmers age 8 and up who enjoy the swim meet experience, and who have the goal of improving their performance in the pool, to add USA Swimming to their schedule.  Swimmers who plan on continuing their competitive swimming in high school should seriously consider participating.

What is USA Swimming?

Ypsilanti Otters is affiliated with two swimming organizations: the Southern Michigan Swim League (SMSL) and USA Swimming.  USA Swimming is the larger organization that governs competitive swimming in the United States. USA Swimming sets rules for meets, establishes safety procedures, sets criteria for achievement levels, administers USA national teams such as the Olympic, Pan American and Pan Pacific teams, and promotes competitive swimming through research, education, and marketing.

USA Swimming divides itself into regional Swim Committees.  We are part of the USA Michigan Local Swim Committee (http://www.miswim.org).  You will find us listed on the USA Swimming website.  To compete at a sanctioned USA swimming meet, swimmers must be registered with USA Swimming.  However, anyone can join USA Swimming – whether they swim the meets or not.

Additional information can be found by clicking on the USA swimming logo (to your left) that will direct you to the Parent portion of their site.

How much does it cost?

As of August 2011, the annual membership fee to join USA Swimming is $56.00.  This fee is paid to YOSC and we submit electronic forms to USA Swimming.  USA Registration forms are on the registration page or can be found at the USA Michigan link below.  This membership provides your swimmer with some additional insurance coverage, an opportunity to compete in first-rate weekend swimming events through out Michigan, as well as a free subscription to Splash!, the membership magazine.

In addition to the annual registration fee, there are meet specific fees that are charged by the meet’s host club.  Typical fees per swim meet are:

·        Meet Entry Fee (about $1.00)

·        Individual Event Fees (about $4.00/event)

·        Relay Fees (paid for by Otters!)

Why should my swimmer participate?

For some of our swimmers (and their families) competitive swimming is a fun and rewarding experience.  Setting goals and working hard to exceed them fosters self-esteem and strengthens self-motivation.  USA Swim meets provide the opportunity for additional goal setting and provide tools to further track the progress of a swimmer’s development.  For our most competitive swimmers, USA swim meets provide the opportunity to progress on to district, state, zone and national competitions.

USA meets provide an opportunity to compete against swimmers at your level, and that makes the competition more fun for everyone.  Some families start out swimming one USA meet per session to get a feel for it and see if their swimmer enjoys participating.

How does it work?

USA meets are multi-team events, much like our SMSL (or WISC) Championships.  During the swim season there will be several USA meets held throughout the state on any given weekend.  Otters will typically target several meets each session and build coaching costs into the budget to ensure a coach is at the meet with our swimmers.  Targeted USA Swim meets will be listed on the Otters Calendar.  These meets are within driving distance of our home area, but can be farther than usual. 

(Note: Once registered with USA Swimming, a swimmer may enter any USA meet but Otter coaches will be provided only at targeted USA meets.).

Unlike SMSL, at USA meets the competition is divided not only between age groupings but also between skill levels. This allows both developing swimmers and highly skilled swimmers equal opportunity to earn ribbons and medals.  Typical meets divide swimmers into three progressive skill levels, or time standards, (C-slowest to A-fastest).  Swimmers will be measured only against others in their time standard until they achieve the minimum time for the next standard.  After that they compete against the higher level, and so on.

As an example, if you are a first time USA swim meet participant you would enter as a “C” swimmer in your age group.  Your event times will be compared only against other “C” swimmers, regardless of which heat you swam.  After the competition your event time will be officially recorded by Michigan Swimming and you will use that time (or your fastest official time for each event) when entering your next meet.  If you happen to be fast enough to move up to “B” then you would compete against “B” swimmers.  You cannot go backward (it wouldn’t be fair!).  The point is that you keep moving up, competing against better and better swimmers as you progress.

For older swimmers the USA meet results are used to determine qualification for the State Junior Olympics and State Championships.

A typical USA meet covers 3 days, with long distance events occurring on Friday evenings and other events held on Saturday and Sunday, on either a morning or afternoon session.  Swimmers can choose which meets, days, and events they wish to participate in, usually with a 4 event per day maximum.

One very important distinction between our SMSL Otters dual meets and the USA meets is how age groups are defined.  USA meets will place a swimmer in the age group that corresponds to his/her age on the day the meet starts!

Sign me up! How do I get started?

First, register with USA swimming by contacting our USA Swim parent, Stacie Holcombe at: .

You can sign up at any time during any swim session.  However, keep in mind that if you have goals that include qualifying for State championships in the Spring then you will want several qualifying opportunities.

Once you sign up you will begin to receive e-mails noting sign-up deadlines for participating in an upcoming meet.  Our USA meet entry parent will coordinate our team’s entry, collect fees and take care of entering seed times for all participating swimmers.

For questions contact

Stacie Holcombe at: or any of our swim coaches.

More Info and Helpful Links

Times from USA sanctioned events - Click Here to find your swimmer's times, if they have participated in USA Swim meets.

For local USA Swim meet information: Michigan Swimming website.  Follow the links to UPCOMING MEET INVITATIONS

For local USA Swim meet results: Michigan Swimming website.  Click on MEETS & RESULTS.

For time standards and State Qualifying times.  Click here for:

13 and up state cuts
12 and under state cuts
District cuts
Junior Olympic Cuts
ABC meet standards

For More Information Check Out Michigan Swimming or http://www.usaswimming.org/

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