What’s At Stake At 2017 U.S. Nationals/World Champ Trials?


In Olympic years, the stakes of the American national meet are pretty clear. But in the three years in between, it can be complicated to know exactly for what swimmers at nationals are racing for. To help simplify things, here’s our very bird’s-eye view of what’s on the line at this week’s U.S. National Championships.

We’ve previously broken down most of these factors in more full detail. If you’re interested in digging deeper, you can follow the links below to the full selection process. For the purposes of keeping this story short and sweet, we’ve simplified the selection processes down as much as possible.

Also, bear in mind that though the men’s 800 free and women’s 1500 free were recently added to the Olympic lineup for 2020, the addition came too close to Nationals for USA Swimming to change its selection criteria. Therefore, the men’s 800 and women’s 1500 are still treated as non-Olympic events for Worlds, Junior Worlds and World University Games qualifying. The men’s 800 and women’s 1500 will, however, be used like an Olympic event for U.S. National Team selection for 2017-2018.

Full selection procedures for 2017 World Championships, Junior World Championships and World University Games.

Qualifying For 2017 World Championships

More details here and here

  • July 23-30, 2017
  • Budapest, Hungary

Eligible: Any athlete with U.S. sporting citizenship

Simplified selection procedures:

  • Top 6 in 100/200 free
  • Top 2 in all Olympic events (except newly-added Olympic events men’s 800 free and women’s 1500 free)
  • Top 1 in all non-Olympic events (and men’s 800 free, women’s 1500 free)
  • Second entrant in stroke 50s, M800, W1500 chosen from already-qualified athletes based on world ranks

Qualifying For 2017 World Junior Championships

More details here

  • August 23-28, 2017
  • Indianapolis, Indiana, USA


  • Girls age 14-17, boys age 15-18 as of December 31, 2017
  • Athletes from World Championships team are allowed to qualify for Junior Worlds as well

Simplified Selection procedures:

  • Top 4 in 100/200 free
  • Top 2 in all Olympic events (not including M800, W1500)
  • Top 1 in all non-Olympic events (and M800, W1500)
  • Second entrants in non-Olympic events (and M800, W1500) will be chosen from already-qualified athletes in related events
  • Swim Priority: times put up in A Finals have top selection priority, followed by times from B Finals, then times from C Finals, then times from prelims.
    • Times from time trials, relay leadoffs, swim-offs and intermediate splits are not used for selection.

Qualifying For 2017 World University Games / Universiade

More details here

  • August 20-26, 2017
  • Chinese Taipei, Taiwan


  • Enrolled in a college or university as of Spring 2017 or will enroll in Fall 2017
  • Between 17 and 23 years old as of August 19, 2017
  • Not a member of the World Championships team
    • Except relay-only or solely non-Olympic event swimmers at Worlds

Simplified selection procedures:

  • Top 3 in 100/200 free
  • Top 2 in all Olympic events (not including M800, W1500)
  • Entrants in non-Olympic events (and M800, W1500) will be chosen from already-qualified athletes in related events

2017-2018 U.S. National Team Status

Not to be confused with the American team for any specific meet, the yearly U.S. National Team is a wider roster that determines which swimmers get access to USA Swimming financial stipends, athlete health insurance and a number of other USA Swimming perks. We broke down the biggest benefits of U.S. National Team status here.

Full National Team selection criteria here


  • Top 6 swimmers in all Olympic events (including M800, W1500) from combined results of four meets:
    • U.S. Nationals
    • World Championships
    • World University Games
    • U.S. Open

Leave a Reply

Notify of

1 Comment
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
5 years ago

Anyone know if swimmers that have already completed a year of college are eligible for junior worlds?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

Read More »