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How Age Group Standings Work

A new year is here and the 2019 Age Groups Standings page is active. Final Standings for 2018 aren’t quite in final form as we wait for USMS to publish its short course meters top ten list. That list is expected in late February.

Do you follow the Standings? Please let me know.
I’ve been asked to clarify how "The Standings" work.
Full rules are linked to from the top of the Standings page. In this article, I will try to explain them in my own words.
Points may be earned through your swims in pool competitions throughout the year and in Pacific Masters sanctioned open water swims. At this time postal competitions are not part of the Standings.
The open water points are fairly easy to explain. In non-wetsuit divisions the top 10 finishers in each age group in each race earn 22, 18, 16…4, 2 points. Point earnings are limited to your best 5 (2018) or 6 (2017, 2016) races. We don’t give points for wetsuit divisions at this time, because we can’t figure out how to do it fairly. In general, far fewer swimmers wear wetsuits, so the challenge to earn points isn’t equal.
Points for pool competitions
As you know, we swim competitions in three types of pools: 25 yards (SCY), 50 meters (LCM) and 25 meters (SCM). While generally we swim SCY in January-May, LCM in June-August and SCM in September-December, there are occasional meets outside of these timeframes (such as The Olympic Club 1500). Each pool type has a 12 month season: SCY is June 1 – May 31; LCM is October 1 – September 30 and SCM is January 1 – December 31. Technically the SCY season we are in now began last June 1.  For example, swims in last December’s Encore Games are part of the 2019 Standings.
For each course type, points can be earned for:
  • Top Ten Rankings within Pacific Masters for each event (e.g. 50 Breaststroke). The rankings are for the entire season. Right now, for example, I am first in my age group in 2019 50 Breaststroke. As the season goes along, more people will swim the event and my ranking will go down. Last year I finished 8th in 50 Breaststroke. Your best 8 different events count! For maximum points, swim at least 8 different events (e.g five different freestyle distances and 50 of each of the other three strokes).


  • USMS Top Ten Rankings: points are 22, 18, 16 … 4, 2 for places 1 – 10.  Your best 8 events count. USMS Top Tens are generally not published until two months after a season ends. This ensures all slow reporting meets have gotten their results in and there has been an opportunity to validate all the information.


Pretty much any swim that gets into the USMS database, if its your best swim of the season in an event, is considered in the rankings. Road trips to meets in other regions count. Other countries too, if the results get back to USMS. All swims in USMS sanctioned events get into the database. Swims in USMS recognized events (e.g. Senior Games, YMCA Nationals) usually get into the database. If you swim somewhere and don't find your swims in your swimmer results after a month see if this page gives you any guidance.
Click on your name in the Standings and you will see a breakout of your points. Click on each line and more details will appear. Keep clicking until there are no further details.
Take a look at our 2017 Male Laura Val Swimmer of the Year, Andrew McPherson’s points. Click on his name and you will see all the categories he earned points in. Click on each category and you will see which events earned him points. Click on each event and you will see the meet he did that swim in.
Finally, let's talk about "Aging Up". Many of us find that every five years our SCY swims at the beginning of the year are in one age group and LCM, SCM and open water in another. We don't want you to be at a disadvantage in your new age group by missing out on SCY points, especially when you are so excited at having aged up (one of the unique aspects of our sport). We'll keep you in your end-of-year age group all year long. Some people age up during the primary part of the SCY season (January-April). We've got some complicated math to figure out how to give you SCY points. Check out the third footnote on the detail rules page that I mentioned at the top of this article.
Written by Bob Anderson.

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