USMS Officially Proproses Addition of 25’s for Short Course Meets

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 13

September 06th, 2014 Masters, News

United States Masters Swimming (USMS) has released their official rules proposals that will be voted upon this year.

Among the most interesting rules changes to be debated is R 15 – which would allow the addition of 25-yard races as short course yards meets, plus 100 yard relays (4×25).

The official rationale:

Rationale: 25-yard races may be less intimidating for new swimmers. Adding 25-yard races and 100-yard relays will increase meet participation, meet revenues, and swimmer recognition through Top 10, All American, and All Star programs.

USMS makes their revenue primarily from participation numbers, and they’re hoping that this rule will increase participation numbers in two ways.

The first is by encouraging more people who are either new to swimming. or who have been out of swimming for decades, to participate, as 25 yard races aren’t very intimidating. Conceivably, meets could be run specifically for Intro Masters swimmers that have only short races of  25 and 50 yards, and they could be run in one day.

Further, it can generate more revenue for meet hosts, especially at meets where athletes are charged “per splash” or “per race.” For the time it takes to run a 200 yard race, meet organizers can host 4-5 (or more) 25 yard races, therefore quadrupling their revenue for the same pool rental fee.

While we wouldn’t expect to see any movement to add 25 yard races to youth, club, college, or elite/pro swimming any time soon, 25 yard races make sense for the mission of Masters’ Swimming. Specifically, it opens the sport up, creates more opportunities, and gives more people a way to stay in the water.

The biggest push back on the 25 yard races is specifically the part of the rule that allows a meet host to bid for a national championship meet with a schedule that includes 25 yard events and 100 yard relay events (though it would be up to the USMS Championship Committee as to whether they’d approve those events at Nationals). There will be a  large group of Masters’ swimmers who see the above-mentioned pros as a great thing for the sport, but won’t want to see the National Championship meet diluted.

See the full list of proposed rules changes here.

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9 years ago

Totally in favor of 25s. They swim them at the Patriot Masters Sprint Classic and they are a blast. No pressure, lots of joking, new friends. They run them so fast, you are basically swimming all four of your 25s in less than 30 minutes.

9 years ago

I think 25s should only be made available in 50+ age Groups. If you’re under 50 and intimidated by a 50 swim then you are probably in the wrong sport.

Also, when you think about the logistics of timing at meets (having electronic timing at both ends or timers having to move ends) it will add hours to what are already really long meets.

9 years ago

I am ok with this at regional and local meets, but do not think they should be added to Nationals or Top Ten or All American ….national meets are already 4-5 days and adding 25’s will make 6 day meets.

9 years ago

I wouldn’t want to see this filter into USA swimming, high school or NCAA meets. If they help older people get involved in the sport, good. But let’s be serious, I consider the stroke 50’s to be less than a totally legitimate event, like the mixed relays.

A 25 is an absolute joke at any sport of mid/high-level meet, the equivalent of having a high school girls’ freshmen football team for people weighing under 90 pounds with GPAs between 2.3 and 3.6.

Reply to  mcgillrocks
9 years ago

25yd and 25m events are almost identical in time to 100yd and 100m events on the track and longer than the 50m and 60m sprints that occur at indoor meets. Just saying.

scott seibert
9 years ago

I like the idea of 25 yard events. This does require the additional cost of renting another touch pad for the other side of the pool. Maybe that is negligible, but that is a cost. It would allow more people to participate. IDK about including it at the national level. Not many people who swim these events would have the desire to go to nationals to spend 13 seconds in a pool.

Steve Nolan
9 years ago

Oh, this could be very fun. I support this.

patrick brundage
9 years ago

25s are a blast to swim. I like the idea of including them officially as we have had them at some meets in an exhibition fashion. I am not such a fan of adding them to Nationals, though, unless they add another day to the meet, preferably on the Monday at the end of the meet devoted to the ultra short sprint events.

9 years ago

Nice. Distance swimmers are still forced to choose between their 2 best events and now we will have 13 events of 100 yards or less? Who is in charge here?

Reply to  H20Tuber
9 years ago

Take a look at proposal R32 in the linked PDF. The proposal is that all swimmers who meet both qual times be allowed to swim both events.

Reply to  Tim
9 years ago

Tim – how many sprinters would be up for doing the 50 and 100 back to back, much less the 1000-1650? Problem is they are almost always offered on the same day. They need to add language about separating them like a USA Swimming Championship does.

Reply to  H20Tuber
9 years ago

Ah, that’s a good point. I agree with you there–I personally can’t stand distance events, but it has always made more sense to me to have the two events split like they are for summer nationals, rather than back to back like spring nationals.

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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