NCAP Wins 6th-Straight USA Swimming Club Excellence Program Honor

USA Swimming has announced the results of the 2020 Club Excellence Rankings, and the Nation’s Capital Swim Club has claimed the #1 ranking for the 6th-straight year.

NCAP, the biggest club in the country, earned 81,529 points to easily outpace runner-up SwimMAC Carolina. In fact, NCAP outscored their own total from last year by more than 8,000 points. NCAP is home to USA Swimming National Team member Phoebe Bacon as well as National Junior Team members Paige McKenna, Chase Travis, and Claire Nguyen. World Record holder Katie Ledecky also represents NCAP, her childhood club, at most domestic competitions, although she now trains across the country at Stanford. Only 18 & under athletes are included in club excellence rankings, however.

In total, 20 clubs earned Gold Medal status for 2020. That includes the TAC Titans in North Carolina and Chelsea Piers Aquatic Club in Connecticut, which both earned their first Gold Medal recognition. They became the 85th and 86th different clubs to earn the honor since the program’s exception.

Other teams that were not gold medal clubs last season, but have moved in to the top 20 include Sierra Marlins Swim Team, Nova of Virginia, Bluefish Swim Club, Northern Kentucky Clippers, Badger Swim Club, and Mission Viejo Nadadores.

Illinois swimming had 13 clubs recognized at the gold, silver, and bronze levels to lead all LSCs, while Southern California Swimming had 9 recognized clubs among 200.

100 Gold and Silver Medal clubs receive grant funding that adds up to $400,000. Further, 5 clubs will receive an additional financial bonus as members of the Podium Club – meaning that they have earned Gold Medal status for 4 consecutive years.

2020 Podium Club:

  • Nation’s Capital Swim Club
  • Sandpipers of Nevada
  • Carmel Swim Club
  • Pleasanton Seahawks
  • Marlins of Raleigh

In addition to grant funding, clubs are able to display logos on team banners and team websites promoting their status.

In the Club Excellence program, all 18 & under members of a club (who are also USA Swimming members and US citizens) are given points for each of their best times 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.

Points for Gold swims will be multiplied by a factor of 2.0; points for Silver level swims will be increased by a factor of 1.5. The bronze time standard is equal to the 2019 LCM Junior Nationals standards; the silver standard is equal to the 2019 US Nationals standards; and the gold standard is equal to the 150th ranked time in the world from the prior year (women) or 200th ranked time in the world from the prior year (men).

Collegiate athletes are not eligible for scoring in this program, and the rankings are not controlled for club size. Open water swims from the Open Water National Championship meet are included.

2020 Gold Medal Clubs

Rank  Club Name LSC FINA Points
1 Nation’s Capital Swim Club PV 81529
2 SwimMAC Carolina NC 63258
3 Sandpipers of Nevada CA 53427
4 Mason Manta Rays OH 52621
5 Dynamo Swim Club GA 40554
6 SwimAtlanta GA 40197
7 Carmel Swim Club IN 36221
8 NOVA of Virginia Aquatics VA 32627
9 Long Island Aquatic Club MR 30866
10 Lakeside Swim Team KY 26339
11 Bluefish Swim Club NE 25645
12 TAC Titans NC 25081
13 Pleasanton Seahawks PC 24483
14 Northern KY Clippers Swimming OH 24101
15 Nashville Aquatic Club SE 23103
16 Badger Swim Club MR 21997
17 Marlins of Raleigh NC 21193
18 Sierra Marlins Swim Team SN 21003
19 Chelsea Piers Aquatics Club CT 20854
20 Mission Viejo Nadadores CA 20690

2020 Club Excellence Program Time Standards

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Brian M
3 years ago

I fail to see how giving grant money to the top teams helps grow the sport? News flash USA Swimming, the majority of these teams are flush with cash. I know for a fact that one of them has a “war chest” of over $1MM (outside of normal operating funding) that they can use for strategic planning. If a swim team has 7 figures worth of discretionary cash, they surely don’t need a grant. So just like the majority of corporate America, you preach diversity, but you don’t practice it.

Reply to  Brian M
3 years ago

Dayton raiders are certainly not filled with cash! I wouldn’t speak without facts. Some teams rely on that funding to stay afloat.

Brian M
Reply to  Swimmerinlane9
3 years ago

That’s cute. You do realize that most of these teams are non-profit and you can search their tax returns as it is in the public domain. I am quite sure what kind of money most (you see I mentioned most not all) of these teams are sitting on. The team nearest me that has gold status has over $5 million in NET assets. They received over $400k in various grants last year…..they don’t need the money!

Reply to  Brian M
3 years ago

USA Swimming is basically an aggregator of talent, and it sees these super clubs as the most effective way to get talented kids practicing together under capable coaches. A level playing field for small clubs isn’t their priority because they don’t think it would be efficient.

Brian M
Reply to  Patrick
3 years ago

That’s exactly my point. USA Swimming needs to stop being a hypocrite and preaching diversity when in reality, they just want the rich to get richer (which as an NGB, should be outlawed). It is worth noting that a vast majority of our Olympic Team did not develop under one of these “super” clubs.

Reply to  Brian M
3 years ago

Agree. The system is set up so that small teams……the ones who could really use the grant money……have no shot at it. A team with 50-70 kids may have the highest percentage of them make cuts for LSC champs, sectionals, future, JN’s, etc. but because there are so few, can’t possibly touch the point totals of the big teams who are flush with cash.

3 years ago

Team sizes?

A Matter of 50 Meters
Reply to  WW
3 years ago

Mason has 296 swimmers in one 25 yard pool.

Reply to  A Matter of 50 Meters
3 years ago

Is the mason fundraising your full time job?

A Matter of 50 Meters
3 years ago

4th and the future looks bright!

Reply to  A Matter of 50 Meters
3 years ago

How exactly does the pool make kids faster?

Reply to  Doconc
3 years ago

Why do you consistently attack the Mason Manta Rays in the comment section?

Reply to  Chris
3 years ago

I resent the constant pressure for taxpayers (me!) to fund a 50 million dollar playpen. The success of a few kids is being leveraged into my wallet

No team in the US, including the national team, gets more fawning coverage. Breathless reports over scratches and what some one athlete might do in their next race. Endless videos by parents. Enough!

3 years ago

Is there a link to the full results?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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