USA Swimming has released an updated version of its “motivational times” for the upcoming 2021-2024 quad.
The time standards set varying marks for swimmers of every age group, ranging from B to AAAA based on relative speed within the age group. Each age group has B standards, BB standards, A standards, AA standards, AAA standards and AAAA standards to give swimmers benchmarks for goal-setting and to track improvement.
Some local club meets also set qualifying standards based on the USA Swimming times, requiring swimmers to be faster than, or in some cases slower than, an A time or a BB time, for example, for entry.
Per USA Swimming’s website: “Here you will find age group time standards designed to encourage age group swimmers to step their swimming up to the next level. These time standards guide you from just starting out in your age group to reaching your highest potential. Start at Level B and work your way up to Level AAAA times.”
You can see how the motivational times are determined here. Though this document is still from the 2012 quad, it lays out the mathematical process for determining the motivational standards for each age group.
Note that in the youngest age groups, 12 & under, the recent ban of the most advanced technical racing suits could make some of these standards tougher to achieve. At the same time, age group swimming continues to get faster, and deeper
There are time standards for both each traditional age group (10&unders, 11-12s, 13-14s, etc) and for each specific age from 10 to 18. USA Swimming has also released a document showing how much each time standard has changed from the previous quad. You can see all of these documents below:
*Note that times marked with an asterisk have gotten faster than the 2016-2020 quad standards.