Explaining USA Swimming’s Sanctioning Rules: the Complete Guide

by Nicole Miller 8

September 11th, 2020 Club, Coronavirus, Industry, National, News

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:

  • The meet host receives a YMCA meet sanction and follows USA Swimming during the meet.
  • A meet is “observed” and uses USA or YMCA certified officials, while still following all other USA Swimming procedures.

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8 months ago

regarding non USA sanctioned meets that have a YMCA sanction: unless something changed and I missed it, these meets must apply for USA “approved” status in order for times to be input into SWIMS. They are not automatically able to be uploaded even though YMCA does follow USA Rules.

8 months ago

Can USA Swimming Sanction High School Dual Meets? Or are High School Championship meets the only meets allowed to be sanctioned?

Reply to  HSCoach
8 months ago

In theory, any meet that checks the box could be an ‘observed meet,’ including dual meets.

Betty Kooy
Reply to  HSCoach
8 months ago

High School culminating meets or invitationals can be ‘observed’ according to the Times Manual. There is no mention of HS duals.

Reply to  HSCoach
8 months ago

In mt LSC can’t sanction, or get a HS dual meet observed.

8 months ago

I wonder if USA Swimming is doing camp selections based on 2020 LCM and post-covid LCM sanctioned meets. Anyone know?