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Encyclopedia > USA Swimming

USA Swimming is the national governing body of competitive swimming in the United States. It is charged with selecting the United States Olympic Swimming team, and any other teams which officially represent the United States, as well as the overall organization and operation of the sport. A sport governing body comes in several forms. ... Swimming is the method by which humans (or other animals) move themselves through water. ...

USA Swimming Logo
USA Swimming Logo
  • Note: USA Swimming was originally called United States Swimming (USS). Thus, there are several terms used to described the organization at different times. All of these refer to the same organization at the same time. These terms are: USA Swimming, USA-S, United States Swimming, USS, US Swimming. Prior to the existence of the "USS," as the governing body for swimming, the AAU, or the Amateur Athletic Union, served as the governing body for swimming and other sports across the country.


Image File history File links Usaswimminglogo. ... Image File history File links Usaswimminglogo. ... - The Amateur Athletic Union, widely known as the AAU, was formed in United States. ...


Amateur Athletic Union

The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) was the official organization responsible for the running of all amateur sports in the United States, established by an Act of Congress in 1888. The AAU was officially charged with the organization and operation of many sports in the US. During this time, swimming was one of the committees in the organization and was not an independent governing body. - The Amateur Athletic Union, widely known as the AAU, was formed in United States. ... Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate Dick Cheney, R, since January 20, 2001 Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, R, since January 6, 1999 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of January 4, 2005 elections) Democratic Party Republican Party... 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) is a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. ...

In 1978, The Amateur Sports Act of 1978 was passed. This act made each sport set up their own National Govering Bodies (NGB's) that would now be solely responsible for their own sport. Each of these governing bodies would be part of the United States Olympic Committee, but would not be run by the committee. Thus, United States Swimming was born. From 1978 to 1980, the official responsibilities of governing the sport was handed over from the AAU swimming committee to the new United States Swimming. Bill Lippman, the last head of the swimming committee in the AAU, and Ross Wales, the first president of United States Swimming, worked together to make this process smooth. This process was made more interesting because the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics and, during this time, the leadership of the sport was in flux. For USOC in telephony, see Universal Service Ordering Code. ... There were two Olympic Games in the year 1980: 1980 Summer Olympics 1980 Winter Olympics This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...

The AAU still holds several aquatic events, but it is no longer the official governing body of the sport.


  • jerold estolas - Last Head of swimming committee in the AAU
  • jerold estolas (1979-1984) - First true president of USA Swimming
  • Sandy Baldwin (1984-1986)
  • Carol Zaleski (1986-1990, 1994-1998)
  • Bill Maxson (1990-1994)
  • Dale Neuburger (1998-2002)
  • Ron Van Pool (2002-2006)
  • Jim Wood (2006 - present)

Chief Executives

  • Ray Essick (1980-1997)
  • Chuck Wielgus (1997-present)


When it was part of the AAU to 1981, USA Swimming was located in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1981 USA Swimming moved to its present day location at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. At the time of the 1981 move, it had four staff members. The Indianapolis skyline Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana. ... Official language(s) English Capital Indianapolis Largest city Indianapolis Area  Ranked 38th  - Total 36,418 sq mi (94,321 km²)  - Width 140 miles (225 km)  - Length 270 miles (435 km)  - % water 1. ... Colorado Springs is a middle-sized city, located just east of the geographic center of the state of Colorado in the United States. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles. ...

In 1997, work was completed on the official USA Swimming Headquarters at the training center. This now serves as the official home of USA Swimming for the forseable future.

Organizational Structure

There are several parts and levels that make up USA Swimming. There is the National Governing Body (national) level, the Zone (regional) level, and the Local Swimming Committee (local/state) level.

The National Governing Body

The National Governing Body (NGB) of United States Swimming is an extension of the United States Olympic Committee. While all of the separate swim teams, LSC's, and Zones do not officially make up the NGB, they are all members and are subject to the laws of the NGB. For USOC in telephony, see Universal Service Ordering Code. ...

The NGB is made up of both staff members of USA Swimming and volunteer members of the board. The office of the President is the head of the board and is responsible for the overall direction of USA Swimming. The chief executive is the head of the staff located at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The chief executive is responsible for the day to day operations of the organization at the national level.

The NGB is responsible for nearly all aspects of USA swimming, and swimming in the United States in general. Its most important responsibility is to set the rules for the sport in the United States. These rules are guided by the international governing body for aquatic sports (FINA). FINA makes the rules that are to be followed at all international level meet. USA Swimming follows accordingly to make the rules of United States swimming match the rules of FINA, however it does not have to. In theory, the NGB of US Swimming could make the its rules whatever it wanted and have all national level meets and below follow those rules, but it would not have juristiction over international level meets held within the borders of the United States, and such a meet would have to follow FINA rules. Fina may refer to: Fina is the name of Belgian petroleum company Petrofina. ...

The Zone

The Zone is a relatively minor part of the organization. The zone does not make very many policy or procedural decisions that affect the members of USA Swimming. Its primary task is to operate Zone and Sectional meets and facilitate conversation between Local Swimming Committees (LSCs) in the same national region. It is also a way for the LSCs to create a bigger regional voice.

Zone Meets and Sectional Meets are further explained in the Meets section.

The Local Swimming Committee

The Local Swimming Committee (LSC) is the local level of USA Swimming. Each LSC is a separate entity, with each being an individual member of USA Swimming, although all act on behalf of USA Swimming on the local level. The LSC is the organization responsible for nearly all aspects of the operations of amateur swimming.

The LSC gives USA Swimming sanctions to swimming meets in their area. A sanction from the LSC allows the meet to be run under USA Swimming rules. The LSC is responsible for enforcing these rules at the meet. The LSC does this by training officials for the meet. These officials are typically parents' of swimmers and volunteers. The technical swimming rules for USA Swimming are the same for all LSCs as mandated by USA Swimming. This allows an official in one LSC to officiate in another LSC without having to learn a new set of rules. This is able to be done because while each LSC may have its own set of rules they are not different regarding the actual strokes.

An LSC is typically responsible for an entire state. However, the size of the LSCs is supposed to be roughly the same and allow for easier travel between meets. This result is that while borders do normally follow state borders, this is not a rule. There exist many instances where one or two counties in one state will be in the LSC of another state or more than one state will combine into a single LSC. San Diego has so many swimmers, in fact, that it is its own LSC. There are currently 60 LSCs in the country.


There are several different types and levels of meets, all but the very top level directed by individual clubs and the Local Swimming Committee. The following is a list of the types of meets, listed from lowest and most common level to highest and least common level.

Dual Meet

A dual meet is a meet where each individual event is scored based on how individual swimmers on a team swim. It is generally limited to 2 teams, but different variations can have more. In a dual meet, there is almost always a limit to the number of events that a certain person can swim and to the number of swimmers that a certain team can enter. Generally, there is only 1 heat in each event and each team alternates lanes so that each team swims in half the pool, regardless of how fast each swimmer is. While this style of meet is generally uncommon for individual USA Swimming clubs, it is by far the most common of high school swimming, YMCA swimming, college (NCAA) swimming, and summer league swimming. Meets of this variety are almost always a low level meet because entry time standards are almost never applied to enter the meet. It can, however, be rather high level when both teams involved are very fast and have exclusively high level swimmers, as is the case with college swimming.

Invitational Meet

An invitational meet is a meet with many more teams and swimmers than a dual meet. The term "Invitational" comes from the fact that for a team to attend this type of meet, a team had to be invited to attend from the host team, but now is a general catch-all term for this style of meet (although there are still occasional invitation-only meets.) Meets of this variety generally have hundreds of swimmers, many teams, and many different events. Within the definition of an invitational meet, there are dozens of different styles of scoring and placing but the standard method is described here. All levels of swimming use invitational style meets at least once during their season (usually as a championship meet of all the clubs in a league), but the clubs of USA Swimming use this meet almost exclusively since there are very few leagues in USA Swimming and it acts as one giant league itself. Most meets of this style have no limits as to the number of swimmers that a team can enter, and only limit the number of times a swimmer can swim in order to make the flow of the meet manageable. Meets of this style can be at any level of swimming since all of the higher level meets use this style of meet with just more restrictive rules applied. Meets of this style usually do not have entry time standards, but can have them to either reduce the size of the meet, or raise the competition level.

Local Swimming Committee Championships

Each Local Swimming Committee (LSC) is mandated to have a season ending championships twice a year for both Age Group (younger) and Senior (no age requirement) swimmers. Most LSC's split these up into two separate meets. The meet style is universally an invitational meet open only to the USA Swimming club teams within the LSC. Almost universally, entry time standards are applied so that only the top level swimmer of the LSC can attend. Only very small LSCs do not have a time standard. Each LSC sets their own time standards (due to LSC size differences), so the competition level of the meet is not exactly the same across the country. Normally, this style meet is a prelim/final format so that out of the many people that qualify for the meet, only a small percentage of the swimmers in each event qualify to come back and swim for the actual championship later on that night or the next day.

Zone/Sectional Championship

As stated before, there are four zones and 60 LSCs in the country. While the LSC championship is a high level meet, the Zone/Sectional Championships are even higher. These meets are also of the invitaitonal format, but the entry time standards are even higher so that only the fastest swimmer of the Zone qualifies. Zone and Sectional meets are of the same competition level, but serve different purposes. Zone meets are for age group swimmers and Sectional meets are for Senior swimmers. While the intention is to have one champion for the whole Zone, this is generally not possible because to have a meet of that high of a competition level, there would be very little difference between this level and the next level, so the entry times can only be made so fast. Thus, there are sometimes too many swimmers qualifying for this meet to have only a single meet in a Zone. Currently, the Central States Zone is the only one that has more than one Zone Championship meet (Age Group swimmers), and all four zones have multiple Sectional Championships (Senior swimmers). The Zone meet is the highest level meet available for Age Group swimmers. There is no national championship in US Swimming available on an age group basis in a meet format.

National Championship

The National Championship is exactly what the name implies. There is only 1 National Championship meet at the conclusion of each season across the country. In many other sports, this championship is known as the "US Open" and while swimming does have a very high national level meet by that name each year, it is not a national championship meet. The National Championships are also of the invitational meet format and offer extremely high level competition. Only a very small percentage of people who ever swim will make it to this high a level of competition. This meet is generally used to determine the US National Team for various international level meets each year, but is not used to determine the US Olympic Team. Currently, there are 2 National Championships each year, but the Spring Championships are of a significantly lower level than the Summer Championships. This is because the Spring Championships are so close to NCAA Championships and the fact that Spring Championships are never used as a selection meet for national teams.

There has been a recent change in the National Championships structure. The 2006 "US Open" will be the last, to be replaced by the Short Course National Championships in 2007. So 2007 will have 3 National Championships, in April, August, and December. Beginning in 2008, there will no longer be a long course Spring National Champioonships.

US Olympic Trials

The US Olympic Trials can be confusing to someone trying to figure out where it fits on the competition levels. It is held only once every 4 years. Since this meet offers such a coveted prize (a spot on the US Olympic Team) it never fails to attract the absolute fastest in the sport of swimming in the United States. Because of this, the entry time standards are even faster than the National Championships. However, even though this is a faster meet and would actually offer a truer indication of who is the fastest swimmer in the United States, the winner of each event in this meet is not officially considered a National Champion and this meet is NOT held in place of the National Championships every 4 years. This means that the National Championships meet held shortly after the Olympic Trials are very much slower than normal. Unlike all other US Swimming meets, United States citizenship is required to attend this meet.

External links

  • USA Swimming Homepage

  Results from FactBites:
USA Swimming - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2240 words)
USA Swimming is the national governing body of competitive swimming in the United States.
The NGB is responsible for nearly all aspects of USA swimming, and swimming in the United States in general.
All levels of swimming use invitational style meets at least once during their season (usually as a championship meet of all the clubs in a league), but the clubs of USA Swimming use this meet almost exclusively since there are very few leagues in USA Swimming and it acts as one giant league itself.
USA Swimming Organization and Services (2830 words)
USA Swimming was conceived in 1978 with the passage of the Amateur Sports Act (36 U.S.C. ยง371 et seq.), which specified independent administration for all United States' Olympic sports.
USA Swimming is a Group A member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and has voting representation in the USOC House of Delegates.
The mission of USA Swimming is to encourage participation and the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of swimming.
  More results at FactBites »



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