After pulling off a virtual 18 & Under Winter Championships in December, which spanned multiple weekends and a plethora of meet sites nationwide, USA Swimming is coordinating a similar event for March.
Titled the ‘2021 18 & Under Spring Virtual Championships,’ the event will run similarly to the winter meet: there will be many sites nationwide so as to limit the number of competitors in one pool. The meet period is longer this time around; in December, the meet was officially recognizing eligible meets between December 1 and 13, while the Spring Championships will be between March 3 and 28.
That means the first day of the meet period begins on Wednesday, and the ongoing meet will run through the Pro Swim Series – San Antonio (March 3-6), women’s NCAAs (March 17-20) and men’s NCAAs (March 24-27). At the end of March, the top-3 men’s, women’s and combined team finishers will be recognized in each format.
The meet description for this event says racing will be in both short course yards (SCY) and long course meters (LCM), giving swimmers more opportunities to focus on a long course meet as the Olympic Trials are suddenly only three months away. Qualifying times for this meet are Futures cuts + 1%, which is the same standard set used for the Winter Championships in December.
The qualifying time period for this meet is November 1, 2018 and March 2, 2021. Times will be accepted from all existing sanctioned meets, such as Speedo Sectionals and LSC Championships, and meets specifically created for the virtual event.
Like with the Winter Championships, there is no mandated meet format. That means some sites will operate on a small scale, like an intrasquad with only one club or just a few clubs, while other sites, if they can do so under local/state/federal COVID-10 guidelines, can host LSC championship-style meets. Meet hosts can also decide to do prelims/finals or timed finals, and further, what course each session is in (LCM or SCY).
In a non-pandemic year, there is no Spring 18 & Under Championships, so this is a new offering to encourage peak racing nationwide.