Nation’s Capital Swim Club has claimed the top spot in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence Rankings for the seventh consecutive year, USA Swimming announced Monday.
The Club Excellence Program recognizes USA Swimming’s top performing clubs in the development of athletes aged 18 and under, using a point system to rank the nation’s clubs.
NCAP, based out of Bethesda, Md., scored 71,900 points to top runners-up SwimMAC Carolina (47,489) by over 24,000. Last year the two teams finished 1-2 with scores of 81,529 and 63,258 points, respectively
Dynamo Swim Club (34,522), NOVA of Virginia Aquatics (34,247), and Mason Manta Rays (34,140) rounded out a close race for third, fourth and fifth.
Among the top junior performers this season for Nation’s Capital included National Team member Phoebe Bacon, who won a pair of gold medals at the 2019 Pan American Games, her first-ever senior international competition. Bacon ranks as the country’s third-fastest swimmer in the women’s 100 backstroke (LCM) since the beginning of 2019, while also sitting eighth in the 200 back.
Five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky also frequently represents NCAP, her childhood club, at most domestic competitions, though she now trains across the country at Stanford University.
Due to limited access to long course competition throughout the summer of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, USA Swimming’s Senior Development Committee chose to honor all 2020 Club Excellence Clubs in the 2021 Program. In other words, clubs that struggled to have access did not lose their ranking, but those teams that were able to compete had the opportunity to improve their medal status.
The date range decided on by the committee was July 1, 2019-August 31, 2020 to calculate the Club Excellence Points this year.
Generally the top-20 clubs earn a Gold-medal ranking, but because of the pandemic, this year there are 26.
The following are the six clubs who achieved Gold Medal status for 2021 after not doing so in 2020, accompanied by their ranking:
- Sarasota Sharks (11)
- DART Swimming (13)
- Bellevue Club Swim Team (15)
- Elmbrook Swim Club (17)
- Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics (18)
- Aquajets Swim Team (19)
For both Bellevue Club and Elmbrook, this was their first-ever Gold Medal ranking. Since the program’s inception, 87 clubs have earned Gold Medal status at least once.
Teams earn points for each of the best times their 18 & under swimmers perform throughout the season. Athletes are given “power points” for their times, with bonus multipliers when an athlete achieves a silver or gold time standard. Only long course meters times are accepted.
Among the 20 Gold Medal Clubs from last year, the TAC Titans (+5), NOVA of Virginia Aquatics (+4) and Mission Viejo Nadadores (+4) made the biggest moves up the rankings.
2021 Gold Medal Clubs
|Rank||Club Name||LSC||FINA Points|
|1||Nation’s Capital Swim Club||PV||71900|
|3||Dynamo Swim Club||GA||34522|
|4||NOVA of Virginia Aquatics||VA||34247|
|5||Mason Manta Rays||OH||34140|
|6||Sandpipers of Nevada||CA||33376|
|9||Lakeside Swim Team||KY||29687|
|10||Badger Swim Club||MR||29073|
|12||Long Island Aquatic Club||MR||24023|
|14||Carmel Swim Club||IN||21357|
|15||Bellevue Club Swim Team||PN||19907|
|16||Mission Viejo Nadadores||CA||19796|
|17||Elmbrook Swim Club||WI||19581|
|18||Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics||MR||18709|
|19||Aquajets Swim Team||MN||18237|
|20||Nashville Aquatic Club||SE||17881|
|21||Marlins of Raleigh||NC||17755|
|22||Sierra Marlins Swim Team||SN||17225|
|23||Bluefish Swim Club||NE||17098|
|24||North KY Clippers Swimming||OH||11954|
|26||Chelsea Piers Aquatics Club||CT||6881|
In total, 235 clubs were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze recognition. Illinois Swimming was the top-ranking LSC with 15 clubs honored, followed by Southern California Swimming with 13.
USA Swimming will also honor nine Podium Clubs this year. A team earns Podium Club status by achieving a Gold Medal ranking for four consecutive years.
SwimMAC, Mason Manta Rays, SwimAtlanta and Long Island Aquatic Club are the newcomers to this category compared to last year.
2021 Podium Clubs:
- Nation’s Capital Swim Club
- SwimMAC Carolina
- Mason Manta Rays
- Sandpipers of Nevada
- Long Island Aquatic Club
- Carmel Swim Club
- Marlins of Raleigh
- Pleasanton Seahawks
USA Swimming’s Senior Development Committee also made changes to the grant funding process for 2021 in light of the pandemic. The program will provide grant funding for 78 different clubs across the nation, which will help enable the teams to “expand and enhance their programs as they strive for the highest ideals of athlete performance”. For full information about the 2021 program requirements and grant funding, click here.