USA Swimming, who each year selects a Scholastic All-America team based on GPA and swimming performances, has announced they will be altering the requirements for the 2020 team, which is traditionally announced in the fall. USA Swimming has chosen to alter the GPA requirement, changing it from the entire academic year to only the fall semester due to the impact of COVID-19.
In the past, athletes were required to have both achieved a 3.5 GPA during the current academic year as well as having swum a Winter Junior Nationals qualifying time within the year-long qualification window.
Under the USA Swimming GPA calculation process, advanced classes are rewarded an extra half-point GPA boost, while non-academic courses, such as are, band, choir, orchestra, driver’s ed, physical education, and other similar classes are not factored into the calculation.
Previously, the academic requirements were based upon an athletes GPA during the entire academic year, meaning that this year it would be based on 2019-2020. With the new requirements, the GPA criteria is based on “the first reportable semester (term)”. With this new selection criteria, the selection process is based solely on the fall term, instead of taking into account the spring term which was altered by the coronavirus. Some schools went to pass/fail grading, and almost every school had its learning environment disrupted.
This change will potentially cause a fluctuation in the numbers of qualifying high school athletes. Athletes who may have potentially raised their GPA to meet the requirements or lowered their GPA below the 3.5 that is required during the spring semester will instead only be judged based on their first term.
2019-2020 Selection Criteria
- Grade completion requirement – applicant must have completed 9th, 10th 11th or 12th grade
- GPA Requirement – minimum 3.5 GPA for the current academic year
- A=4, B=3, C=2. If numerical grades are used, the following scale will be used unless the school’s letter grade conversion is given on the transcript: A=90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79. In calculating the GPA no rounding will be used – one decimal place only.
- Honors, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and dual credit college-level academic courses will earn one half (.5) extra Grade Point. Grades for academic subjects only are calculated – history/social studies, English, mathematics, sciences, foreign languages, computer sciences, visual and performing arts if indicated as academic. A grade lower than a C in an academic subject will mean automatic rejection of the applicant. Grades for non-academic courses will NOT be calculated – art, band, orchestra, choir, home economics, health, driver education, physical education, shop, etc. and any other class marked as non-academic will not be included in the GPA calculation (unless transcript indicates ‘academic’ or AP or IB).
- There will be no special status designation for a 4.0 GPA other than for a national champion who also has a 4.0 GPA.
- Applicants must have swum an individual pool time equal to a 2019 Winter Junior qualifying time in any individual event during the SAA qualifying period (August 16, 2019 – August 16, 2020) with qualifying times in SWIMS – list of times are posted on the USA Swimming website. A qualifying time will be available for selection from the SWIMS database during the application process. Only ONE time is necessary and only ONE application is necessary.
- Disability/Para or Open Water Requirements (for athletes without pool requirements)
- Applicants must have competed in one of the following meets:
- 2019 USA Paralympic Swimming Nationals – December 6-8, 2019, Lewisville TX
- 2020 World Para World Series:
- February 14-16, 2020, Melbourne, Australia
- 2020 Jimi Flowers Classic, Jan 18-19, 2020, Colorado Springs
(Open Water Juniors is NOT a qualifying meet for SAA)