- 1) How is Pacific Swimming organized?
- 2) How are Pacific's age group time standards organized?
- 3) How are Pacific's senior time standards organized?
- 4) How is Pacific's meet schedule prepared?
- 5) What is the difference between short course and long course?
- 6) What's the difference between a timed finals and trials & finals meets?
- 7) What's an LSC?
- 8) What's a zone?
- 9) Where can I find a record of all the times I've swum?
- 10) I have an "A" time in one of my events, but when I look up this time on the USA Swimming website, it says I have a "B" time. Why is this?
- 11) How do I become an athlete of Pacific Swimming?
- 12) If I'm an athlete member of Pacific, how do I transfer my club affiliation?
- 13) If I'm also swimming for my high school team, is there anything I need to do during season?
- 14) What should I do if I'm planning to compete outside of the US? What should our club do if foreign athletes are going to train with us or enter our meet?
- 15) How do I become a non-athlete member of Pacific Swimming?
- 16) How does a club join Pacific Swimming?
- 17) What kind of insurance coverage do I have a member of Pacific and USA Swimming?
- 18) How do I enter a meet in Pacific? How do I complete the entry form?
- 19) How do I check-in at a swim meet in Pacific?
- 20) How to I use short course times to enter a long course meet (and vice versa) in Pacific?
- 21) What is the difference between a sanctioned, approved and an observed meet?
- 22) How do I update my coaching credentials?
1. How is Pacific Swimming organized?
Pacific Swimming (PC) is one of 59 administrative subdivisions of USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming in the US. These administrative subdivisions are known as Local Swimming Committees, or LSCs.
Pacific's territory includes the greater San Francisco Bay Area, the coastal counties of California from Monterey County north to the Oregon border, the Stockton-Modesto area in the state's Central Valley, and the Reno-Lake Tahoe area on the California-Nevada border. This territory is divided into five zones, whose specific boundaries are described on the Zones page.
PC is made up of more than 16,000 registered athlete members and more than 120 member clubs. Each member club is required to have at least one individual who is a coach member of USA Swimming and who has completed CPR, first aid, and Coaches Safety Training. In addition, coaches, officials, and other nonathlete members of Pacific and USA Swimming are required to complete a background check and athlete protection training. Except for those undergoing initial tryouts with a team, all swimmers participating in sanctioned activities (including club practices and workouts, competitions and meets, etc.) must be currently registered athlete members in good standing with Pacific Swimming and USA Swimming.
Pacific Swimming is governed by a House of Delegates, which includes representation from all of Pacific's club members and which meets twice a year, and by a Board of Directors which meets bi-monthly and we maintain this web site.
2. How are Pacific's age group time standards organized?
Pacific has established age group time standards for the following age groups: 8/under, 10/under, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, and 17-18 for individual events, and 15-18 for relays. The time standards are described below roughly from slowest to fastest.
- C/B/A: Age group swimming is where virtually all swimmers begin, and the B and A standards are the basic developmental and meet entry time standards used in Pacific's age group program. B is the entry level standard (a C time is any time slower than the B time standard), and an A time is everyone's first big goal. (Note: Pacific's B and A time standards are not the same as the B and A National Age Group motivational time standards which are published by USA Swimming. The abbreviations PC-B and PC-A are used for Pacific's B and A standards.)
- Junior Olympics: The Junior Olympic, or JO, meet standard is the qualifying time standard set by PC for the Junior Olympic meets that are offered in Pacific in March, July, and December. (There are no separate JO times for 8/unders -- they must qualify for JO meets at the 10/under standard.)
- Far Westerns: The Far Western meet standard, also known as the Q time standard, is the qualifying time standard set by Pacific for the two Far Western Championship meets that Pacific hosts each year in early April and late July. (Again, there are no separate Far Western meet standards for 8/unders -- they must qualify for these meets at the 10/under standard.) The Far Western meet standard is currently the fastest age group time standard in Pacific used for meet entry purposes.
3. How are Pacific's senior time standards organized?
Pacific's senior program is designed to provide Pacific's older and faster athletes with the opportunity to swim the events offered at national championship meets. Senior time standards, and senior competition, are not keyed to a swimmer's age - for qualifying purposes, what matters are only the times the swimmer has achieved. Pacific's and USA Swimming's senior time standard categories are listed below slowest to fastest:
- Senior Open: The entry-level standard. To relate this standard to Pacific's age-group standards, Senior Open times are generally comparable to the 13-14 PC-A time standards. Any swimmer 13 years of age and older is eligible to compete in a Senior Open competition without meeting Senior Open standards. Swimmers 12 and under must meet the listed Senior Open standards to compete.
- Senior 2 (SR-II) & Senior Circuit: Each level moves up a notch in terms of difficulty. As a point of reference, the Senior Circuit standards - the fastest of Pacific's Senior time standards - roughly approximate the Far Western meet standard for the 13-14 and 15-16 girls and the 15-16 boys age-groups.
For Senior 2 competition, swimmers 13 & O are eligible to compete if their best time is at or near the Senior 2 standard. Coach verification will suffice for eligibility. Swimmers 12 & U must have achieved the Senior standard to compete.
For Senior Circuit competitions, all swimmers must have met the listed time standards to compete.
- Sectional Championships: The qualifying standard established for the Sectional Championships, which are open to qualifying swimmers from all LSCs in California and Nevada. Sectional Championships are generally held in March, July and December.
- Pro Swim Series: The qualifying standard established by USA Swimming for the six Arena Grand Prix meets held throughout the US annually.
- Junior National Championships: The qualifying standard established by USA Swimming for this national competition for swimmers 18 & under. This meet is held in August and December.
- National Championships: The qualifying standard established by USA Swimming for this national competition generally held in August and December.
- Olympic Trials: The qualiying standard established by USA Swimming for the quadrennial US Olympic Trials.
4. How is Pacific's meet schedule prepared?
Swim meets in Pacific are scheduled annually, with both the LSC and the individual zones going through a structured process of determining its meet calendar. Each fall, Pacific's Scheduling Committee, which includes representatives from the zones and the senior and age-group programs, prepares a draft schedule of the major meets within the LSC for the upcoming year. This schedule includes Pacific's senior meets and major age-group meets (i.e. Junior Olympics and Far Westerns). The schedule takes into account the dates of important regional and national championship meets as well as holiday weekends. This draft schedule is then approved by the Board of Directors in November.
Each December, through a formal bidding process, clubs that are interested in hosting any of Pacific's major meets for the next season, are required to submit a bid application for the competitions they are interested in hosting. In late December, the bids that have come in are reviewed and meet hosts are awarded by the Scheduling Committee. After completion of the first round of bidding, a second round is conducted for any unbid meets. After the closing of the second round, the host for Pacific's major meets for the following year are set.
Once the major meet schedule is created, each zone goes through a similar bidding process. By May, a full meet schedule for the upcoming swim season is set and it is then published on the PC website.
5. What is the difference between short course and long course?
A short course pool is 25 yards (or, occasionally, 25 meters) long; a long course pool is 50 meters long. The majority of swimming competition in the US is conducted in short course yards. Most US national and major international championships - such as World Championships and the swimming competition at the Olympic Games - are held at the long course distance, although short course meters competition is becoming increasingly popular on the international scene.
The annual swimming calendar in the US is divided into two seasons. From September to March, virtually all competition is short course, while April through August is long course season.
Pacific's Rules and Regulations specify that when you have achieved a specific class level in an event in one course, you are considered qualified at the same level in all courses. Accordingly, you must always enter a time which maintains the class for which you've qualified in an event. Follow this link for more information on short course times and long course times.
6. What's the difference between a timed finals and trials & finals meets?
- Timed Finals: In a meet of this type only heats are swum, and the final placing is determined by the times achieved in all of the event's heats.
- Trials & Finals: In these types of meets, trials are swum in the morning, with the fastest times in the event qualifying for the finals of the same event later in the day. The time swum during the finals determine the placing of the event.
7. What's an LSC?
An LSC (Local Swimming Committee) is an administrative division of USA Swimming with responsibility for administering the sport of competitive swimming within a defined territory. Pacific Swimming is one of 59 LSCs nationwide. There are five LSCs with some or all of their territory in California:
- Pacific Swimming (which includes the San Francisco Bay Area, the coastal counties of California from Monterey County north to the Oregon border, the Stockton-Modesto area in California's Central Valley, and the Reno-Carson City-Lake Tahoe area on the California-Nevada border).
- Sierra Nevada Swimming (which includes the Sacramento area, the Central Valley from Lodi north to the Oregon border, the northern Sierra Nevada area, and much of Northern Nevada).
- Central California Swimming (which includes the Central Valley south of Modesto through Kern County).
- Southern California Swimming (which includes the central coast from San Luis Obispo County south; most of Southern California, including the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area; and Southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas area).
- San Diego-Imperial Swimming (which includes San Diego and Imperial counties in Southern California).
8. What's a zone?
- Pacific Swimming is divided into five geographical zones, whose territories are described in detail on our Zone page. Each zone sets their own meet schedules and conducts their own championships, all of which are sanctioned by PC. While swimmers may normally enter meets in any zone without restriction, zones may offer meets which are exclusively for swimmers affiliated with teams from their zone (such as zone championship meets), and may also choose to give preference in entries into zone meets to swimmers affiliated with teams from the zone.
- Within USA Swimming, the 59 LSCs are divided into four zones: Eastern, Southern, Central, and Western (see map). Pacific is in the Western Zone, along with 16 other LSCs including Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and the states to the west of those four.
9. Where can I find a record of all the times I've swum?
The Historical Times page can provide you with an in depth answer to this question.
10. I have an "A" time in one of my events, but when I look up this time on the USA Swimming website, it says I have a "B" time. Why is this?
Pacific Swimming uses different time standards from the USA Swimming National Age-Group Motivational time standards. PC has its own B and A standards, which are generally not as fast as the Motivational B and A standards. To avoid confusion, Pacific's time standards are usually abbrieviated at "PC-B" and "PC-A" in meet information sheets.
11. How do I become an athlete of Pacific Swimming?
To become an athlete member of Pacific Swimming, you need to complete a Pacific/USA Swimming registration form online with your club's code. Please contact your club administrator or coach to get the correct code to enroll with your club.
Pacific offers both year-round and seasonal athlete memberships. If you register as a year-round member, your registration is valid from September 1, 2023 through December 31, 2024.
Before every meet, the registration status of all entered swimmers is verified with Pacific's Registration Chairman. If your registration cannot be verified, you will not be allowed to swim in that meet.
If you have any questions regarding registration, contact Pacific's Office Membership via email or call (925) 822-7913.
12. If I'm an athlete member of Pacific, how do I transfer my club affiliation?
Swimmers may transfer club affiliation by completing a transfer form or by providing the Registration Chairman with the swimmer's name, address, birth date, the name of the club from which the swimmer is transferring, and the date of last competition with that club. All transfer forms should be sent to Laurie Benton at 1374 Lupine Court, Concord, CA 94521 or emailed to email@example.com.
If you transfer clubs and wish to enter a meet, and if you have represented a previous club in competition within 60 days of the meet, you must enter your affiliation as "unattached" for that meet. Once the 60 day unattached period is complete, you may now enter meets attached to your new club.
13. If I'm also swimming for my high school team, is there anything I need to do during season?
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), the governing body for high school athletics in California, requires that California high school swimmers must compete unattached in any USA Swimming meets held during the high school season, other than Sectional and National Championships.
For Pacific registration purposes, swimmers swimming in high school competition do not need to change their registration status with the PC Registration Chairman; however, they must enter any USA-S competiton as "unattached" during the high school season. If a swimmer enters a meet as attached to their club during the high school season, s/he must change his or her affiliation to unattached with the clerk of the course at the meet.
If you plan to change your club affiliation during this period, you can use the high school as a part of your 120 day unattached period.
14. What should I do if I'm planning to compete outside of the US? What should our club do if foreign athletes are going to train with us or enter our meet?
If you're planning to travel to another country to compete, train, or demonstrate, or if you plan to invite foreign swimmers or clubs to train/compete in PC sanctioned meets, contact Pacific Swimming Office Membership via email or phone at (925) 822-7913.
15. How do I become a non-athlete member of Pacific Swimming?
To become a Non-Coach/Non-Athlete member of Pacific Swimming, send a completed copy of the Pacific Swimming Non-Coach/Non-Athlete Registration Application to Laurie Benton, 1374 Lupine Court, Concord, CA 94521. If you have any questions regarding the form, call (925) 822-7913.
Deck officials, and meet directors must be non-athlete members of USA Swimming and Pacific Swimming.
In addition, all non-athlete members must complete a USA Swimming background check and an athlete protection course in order to join/renew membership. Coaches must also have current certifications in CPR, first aid, concussion protocol training and in-water safety training courses.
16. How does a club join Pacific Swimming?
To become a club member of Pacific Swimming, or to renew your current club membership, send a completed copy of the current USA Swimming/Pacific Swimming club membership application form to Laurie Benton, 1374 Lupine Court, Concord CA 94521. Please note that the club membership application form must be filled out completely. Any questions, call (925) 822-7913.
If you are starting a new club, there are additional forms to complete and issues to consider. You can find links to these forms and more information about the requirements for starting a club on the starting a New Club page on the USA Swimming web site.
In addition to competing a club membership application, you will need a coach who is a member of USA Swimming and holds valid CPR, first aid, concussiion protocol training, and safety training certifications, and you will need registered swimmers. Every coach (paid or volunteer) who is on the deck at a club workout or coaching at a meet must be a current coach member of USA Swimming.
Your club must renew its membership each calendar year, and as part of this renewal process, your coaches must submit proof of current CPR, first aid, concussion protocol training, and safety training certifications. Clubs may join as year-round or seasonal; see the club membership application form (linked to above) for detail on effective dates for each type of membership.
17. What kind of insurance coverage do I have a member of Pacific and USA Swimming?
For general questions about your insurance coverage as an athlete, non-athlete, or club member of USA/Pacific Swimming, we suggest you refer to the resources listed on the Insurance and Risk Management page on the USA Swimming website.
For more specific information concerning coverage and the processing of claims, contact Sandi Blumit, Risk Management Services, PO Box, 32712, Phoenix, AZ 8506, phone (800) 777-4930, fax (602) 274-9138.
18. How do I enter a meet in Pacific? How do I complete the entry form?
19. How do I check-in at a swim meet in Pacific?
Most meets in Pacific are deck-seeded. In this type of meet, you must check in with the clerk of the course 60 minutes before an event is expected to start if you wish to swim in that event. If you do not check in for an event, or if you indicate when you check in that you want to scratch the event, you will not be seeded into the event.
Check-in for all events shall be no more than 60 minutes before the estimated time of the start of the first heat of the event. However, no event shall be closed more than 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the meet.
20. How to I use short course times to enter a long course meet (and vice versa) in Pacific?
Pacific's Rules & Regulations do not require time conversions when using a time achieved in one course to enter a meet in another. However, they do require that when you have achieved a specific class level (for example PC-B or PC-A) in an event in once course, you are considered to be qualified at that same level in all courses. Accordingly, you must always enter a time which maintains the class for which you've qualified in an event.
For example, if you've achieved an A time in an event at a short course meet, you must enter at least a minimum long course A time when you enter this event in a long course meet.
21. What is the difference between a sanctioned, approved and an observed meet?
- Sanctioned Meets: All participants (including the meet director, athletes, coaches, officials, & clubs) must be members of USA-S, and the meet must be conducted under USA-S technical and administrative rules. All times achieved in a sanctioned meet will be recognized by USA Swimming for inclusion in the SWIMS times database.
- Approved Meets: An athlete is not required to be a member of USA Swimming to participate in the meet; however, the meet is conducted under USA-S technical rules. Upon approval of the meet, all times will be recognized by USA Swimming, and the times for USA Swimming members are eligible for inclusion in the SWIMS database.
- Observed Meets: There are no requirements for USA Swimming athlete membership, and the meet is conducted under technical rules other than those of USA Swimming (for example, high school, college, YMCA, or Masters rules). A request for observation of swims for compliance with USA Swimming rules must be made to the host LSC who determines if observation can be facilitated. Times from observed swims in compliance with USA Swimming technical rules are recognized, and times for USA Swimming members are eligible for inclusion in the SWIMS database.
22. How do I update my coaching credentials?
While some required programs (APT, Background Check, etc.) are automatically updated through USA Swimming, other requirements must be hand-entered into your SWIMS record. Please email any CPR and STSC certificates to Laurie Benton for input into your record.