In recent months, the term “USA Swimming Sanctioned Meet” has been extremely prominent as teams begin their return to competition amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the term’s meaning remains vague in the minds of most general swimming fans, as the sanctioning process is completed behind the scenes in most cases.
According to USA Swimming, in order for a meet to be considered “sanctioned”, it must meet all of the following standards:
- be conducted under USA Swimming technical and administrative rules.
- All times achieved will be recognized by USA Swimming.
- All participants must be registered members of USA Swimming (including meet host, meet director, safety director, coaches, officials (excluding timers, and marshals), athletes, and participating clubs).
- Any individual that is banned, suspended, or ineligible for USA Swimming membership may not be involved with the meet in any capacity that allows them to be on the pool deck, including serving as timer, marshal, or computer operator.
- Full insurance coverage is in effect (excess medical and general liability) for all registered members of USA Swimming. General Liability coverage is in effect for the meet host and volunteers.
Additionally, all meet hosts have to submit an official sanctioning request form to their LSC in order to receive the sanction. In the form, the host must include information about the meet, including:
- A statement of the nature of prizes to be awarded.
A complete schedule of lanes and times for all warm-up procedures which must be adhered to by all participants.
- Information about water depth measured for a distance of 3 feet 3-1/2 inches (1.0
meter) to 16 feet 5 inches (5.0 meters) from both end walls.
- Information about eligibility and USA Swimming membership requirements.
- Information about safe sport guided procedures surrounding use of the locker rooms and pool deck.
- A liability waiver, including a specific one for COVID-19 related injuries.
If all of these conditions are met, and the sanction is awarded, then a meet will officially be considered sanctioned. With this, times posted at the meet will officially count towards USA Swimming championship meets, national recognition programs, and USA Swimming select programs. Additionally, all times will enter the SWIMS database.
If a meet is not sanctioned, times will not go into the SWIMS database or eligible for qualification towards USA Swimming events. Instead, times will go into the newly created “non-sanctioned times database”.
However, times swum at non-sanctioned meets may still be entered into the SWIMS database and considered “official” if: