Championship Meet Information
South Texas Swimming changed its championship meet format in October, 2010. This document explains the changes. Click a link below to scroll directly to that section.
Introduction & History
New Championship Format
What is Good About this Change?
I. Introduction & History
USA Swimming is the governing body for swimming in the United States. As members of Lost Creek Aquatics, your swimmers are also members of USA Swimming. Within USA Swimming, there are different governing bodies called local swimming committees (LSCs), which govern different geographical regions of the United States. Some states are their own LSCs. Texas has five LSCs, and Lost Creek Aquatics is part of South Texas Swimming Inc (STSI).
STSI is a nonprofit organization that sanctions meets; sets and enforces rules of membership and participation by clubs, swimmers, coaches, and officials; and acts as a liaison with USA Swimming. STSI is also the organization that governs the LSC championships. Up until now, the two LSC championships for South Texas swimmers have been known as STAGS (an acronym for “South Texas Age Group Swimming,” for 12 and under swimmers) and Senior Champs (for swimmers ages 13 to 25). Swimmers enter into these two meets at the end of each short course and long course season (typically in February and July or August) by earning a qualifying time in one or more events. These meets have been well-attended by LCA swimmers, as many of our swimmers earn one or more qualifying times (also called “cuts”) for these meets. Many LCA swimmers have moved past STAGS/Senior Champs by earning qualifying times for subsequent meets: TAGS (Texas Age Group Swimming, which is a state-level championship for 14 and under swimmers earning qualifying times in the state of Texas), Sectionals (a regional-level championship for all swimmers earning qualifying times in the Southern region of the United States), and Junior Nationals (all swimmers in the U.S. who are 18 & under and earn qualifying times). It is a natural progression in swimming, just like it is in many other sports, for athletes to train with the goal of advancing to the “next higher” competition.
However, one of the difficulties with STAGS and Senior Champs has been that these meets have become very large and time consuming, with some swimmers being extremely overqualified for these meets (by swimming times that are much faster than the cut) and other swimmers not earning any qualifying times, and being excluded from participating in a season-ending championship meet. Changes that the House of Delegates, coaches, and participating teams in South Texas made on October 3 at the annual meeting are with the intention to include as many swimmers as possible in one or more championship meets, and also to make these championship meets more meaningful as true “championships.”
Just like everything else in life, many people have strong reactions to changes. However, these changes are going to have a very positive impact on the team, because the new meet strategy will both include more swimmers and make all swimmers more competitive at their current level of swimming. With that said, the changes are as follows:
II. New Championship Format
South Texas will host championship meets at the end of the short course and long course seasons based entirely on the “Motivational Times” created by USA Swimming every four years for short course yards, short course meters, and long course meters events. Swimmers can review time standards for their age and gender and use these motivational time standards to compare their times, by event, to other swimmers in the country. Motivational times are classified at the lowest level as “All Times,” also called a “C” time, to “AAAA,” which is the highest level (the fastest time). The progression is officially C, B, BB, A, AA, AAA, and AAAA. For example, looking at the 10 & under time standard for the 50-yard freestyle for a girl, a time of 40.10 seconds would represent a “C” time, but a time of 31.89 seconds would represent an “A” time.
You can see your swimmer’s times and time standards by going to the USA Swimming individual times page, entering your swimmer’s legal first and last names, and finding your swimmer in the list. The times will show “All Times” for a “C” time or the time standard for each event.
There will be three championship meets, instead of one, at the end of each season. These meets will be known as the B Championship, BB Championship, and A Championship meets. Swimmers earn a qualifying time into each event by earning the time standard for their age and gender.
If your swimmer has different qualifying times in different events, he or she can choose to attend just one meet. If your swimmer earns a BB cut at a B meet, or an A cut at the BB meet, your swimmer can choose to compete at the next meet. The meets will happen in order, so that it’s possible to advance to the next higher championship.
III. What’s good about this change?
The meets will be smaller in size, ending the 8-9 hour timelines at some of the past season’s championship meets.
More swimmers will have an opportunity to compete at a championship meet. No more “one size fits all” STAGS or Senior Champs cuts, where a swimmer who earns a cut by 0.01 seconds competes against a swimmer who has exceeded the same cut by 25 seconds. Swimmers can participate in a championship that more adequately reflects their current ability.
Swimmers in each meet must earn the qualifying time standard, but cannot exceed it. In other words, swimmers at the B Championship must have earned a B time. However, swimmers who have a BB or higher time cannot swim in that event. This makes the meet more competitive.
Swimmers in the A Championship are A and faster swimmers.
Swimmers can participate in as many events as they qualify for (subject, of course, to meet entry limitations). For example, if your swimmer has an A time in one event, BB times in five other events, and a B time in one event, your swimmer could participate in all three meets. However, you can participate in as many meets as you wish; you do not need to attend all three meets. But the opportunity is there to do so.
Swimmers who earn the next higher time standard at one championship meet can advance to the next championship meet. For example, if your swimmer is in one event at the BB meet and earns an A time at that meet, he or she can enter into that event at the A meet, expanding his season to another championship. Again, participation in the next higher meet is not required.
Because motivational time standards are set and stable for four-year periods, you can determine cuts for each event as your swimmer ages up to the next bracket until 2016. In 2017, a new set of standards will be released, and they will be in place for four years. This makes it easier for swimmers to know what cuts they need in each event that they swim. Motivational times are just that…motivation for the next higher standard. And now the meets match that motivation by providing competition opportunities for these standards.
My swimmer has B, BB, and A times in different events. Am I supposed to go to all three meets?
You choose the meets you would like to attend. You can attend all three, one, or even none. Talk to your coach to decide the right option for you.
If my swimmer has a B time and gets a BB time in the B Championship meet, does he have to go to the BB Championship meet?
No, going to the next meet is up to you.
How do I know if my swimmer has met a time standard?
You can see your swimmer’s times and time standards by going to the USA Swimming individual times search page, entering your swimmer’s legal first and last names, and finding your swimmer in the list. The times will show “All Times” for a “C” time or the time standard for each event.
NOTE: Time standards are grouped as follows: 10&U, 11&12, 13&14, 15&16, 17&18. Single aged time standards (11,12,13,14) are not being used for the Championship meets.
Why was STAGS/Sr. Champs changed?
Simply said, the new championship format gives almost ALL swimmers the chance to participate in a Championship meet.
Do the LCA coaches support this new championship format?
Yes! This change will allow more LCA swimmers to compete at championship meets, and to be more competitive at the meets where they will have the most success. The new format will also encourage swimmers to work toward the next time standard for their age.