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ALM
April 17th, 2009, 10:33 PM
There seems to be a lot of confusion about "qualifying" for Nationals. I think the process would make more sense if swimmers understood the background behind the process.

I don't remember every last detail, but I think I can provide some history that help explain why we have qualifying times and how they work. (Disclaimer: This is all based on my recollection and understanding. I'm not speaking in any official capacity here. I've just been to a lot of USMS conventions.)

History

USMS has always been an organization focused on inclusion. Swimmers of all abilities, from beginners to Olympians, are welcome to join and participate in meets. Back in the early days of Masters Nationals, there were no qualifying times. Anyone could enter and swim at Nationals.

As USMS grew, so did the two annual national championship meets. 1987 saw the largest SCY Nationals ever, with 2328 swimmers attending. At this point, there were still no qualifying times.

The next few years saw good attendance at Nationals. But allowing anyone to enter meant that the meet days dragged on into the evening. There were stories about events going on until 10:00 or 11:00pm at night.

I remember a lot of debate at the USMS annual convention about how to control the length of Nationals while still remaining as inclusive as possible. There was a strong feeling that we still wanted to include anyone who wanted to swim at Nationals, but we wanted to do something to keep the meet at a controllable size.

The current system of qualifying times was the compromise. The system works as follows:


ANYONE can enter Nationals, and enter up to three individual events, without meeting any qualifying times.


Swimmers who want to enter more than three individual events must meet qualifying times for those additional events.


The rationale behind these two rules is that we can still allow anyone to enter the meet, but by limiting the number of events swum by the slower swimmers, we can control the length of the meet days.

This system only works as long as everyone is honest. Beyond the first three events, swimmers are on the honor system when they enter the meet. USMS is relying on swimmers to be confident that they can actually achieve the qualifying times.

So there's the history and the rationale. Now I'm going to attempt to answer some common questions about the entry process.

Q: I can't make any of the qualifying times. Does this mean I can't go to Nationals?

A: No. Remember, anyone can enter THREE individual events without having to meet the qualifying times.


Q: When I enter Nationals, do I have to provide proof that I achieved a qualifying time?

A: No. Your entry times for Nationals are submitted on the honor system.


Q: Do I have to achieve my qualifying time in a swim meet?

A: No. You could use a time that you swam in a workout or time trial. Again, remember that this is all on the honor system.


Q: Can I submit the time that I swam 10 years ago as my qualifying time?

A: Only if you think you can still achieve that time! :)


Q: What happens to me if I don't achieve the qualifying time at Nationals?

A: There are no penalties if you swim slower than the qualifying standard for one of your additional events. But keep the rationale in mind. If a lot of swimmers lie about their abilities just so they can enter more events, we'll be right back to 14-hour meet days.


Q: Can I submit an entry time converted from a different course?

A: Yes. You have to do the conversion yourself.

Anthony Thompson
April 23rd, 2009, 02:41 PM
Just another comment (from my understanding and not officially from USMS):

USMS Rule 102.15.14 was created to protect the honor system used at USMS nationals and has occasionally been used to remove slow swimmers to are not honest about seed times.

I think the USMS system for everyone get 3 swims allows "local swimmers" who can easily travel to a nationals opportunity to participate on 1-2 days of the meet; but give highly competitive swimming generally 6 swims over the 4-5 days of the USMS Nationals.

There is also the 6th event rule to help control the length of the meet, but cannot find the citation for it.

isobel
August 3rd, 2009, 01:07 AM
I vaguely remember reading about qualifying for long course nationals. You had to have raced the times you entered in sanctioned meets within the past two years for the events you were qualified to enter.

I might be wrong, but that is my memory for the rules for this year's long course nationals.

And yes, you could still enter some events you didn't qualify for.

ALM
August 13th, 2009, 11:09 PM
I vaguely remember reading about qualifying for long course nationals. You had to have raced the times you entered in sanctioned meets within the past two years for the events you were qualified to enter.

I might be wrong, but that is my memory for the rules for this year's long course nationals.

And yes, you could still enter some events you didn't qualify for.

The meet information for the 2009 LC Nationals reads:



Competitors may enter up to three events without meeting the national qualifying time (NQT), or a maximum of six events if they meet the NQTs, (i.e. have swum a time equal to or better than the NQTs during the past two years.)

Note that it just says "have swum a time equal to or better than the NQTs during the past two years." It does NOT say that the time had to have been swum in a sanctioned meet, or in any meet, for that matter.

rshelfer
September 24th, 2009, 09:51 PM
Somewhere I read that the NQT are based on the previous years' racing times. If that is the case then 2010 non-tech suit year will be effected by the record breaking times set in 2009 when tech suits are in use.

pwolf66
September 25th, 2009, 07:57 AM
Somewhere I read that the NQT are based on the previous years' racing times. If that is the case then 2010 non-tech suit year will be effected by the record breaking times set in 2009 when tech suits are in use.

It's actually an average from the last 3 years of a designated top-10 list from that season (SCY or LCM) position (typically either 5th or 10th place) plus a percentage (either 10 or 15). True there will be some skew but it should not be a major one.

rdeclercq
October 20th, 2009, 11:00 AM
I just saw this post (which is originally a little older) but good timing for me as I have a few questions that I don't know if anyone can help with. My questions are with regards to qualifying for Nationals as well as World Masters.

World Masters qualifying times are already posted so I'll use that as the reference/basis of my first question. The ages are mentioned atop. Are these ages with reference to how old you will be on December 31 of that year, correct? Now, I am 33 today, but will be 34 in December (and thus 35 next year, December 2010). I anticipate that I "age up" next year.

Now, my next question is more in reference to the qualifying times "rules." I understand that USMS wants to keep everyone included, but if those rules are not maintained (or adheared to), why bother having them? How difficult is it to establish a "qualifying" time? I see my race times all automatically posted at USMS - can't those be the "qualifying" times cross-checked prior to any champinship race? USAT has a similar approach in that you can register for USAT Age Group Championship and USAT will contact you if they find a problem about your qualification. During your registration, you simply list the race/event where you qualified. Its quite easy/simple, actually.

Thanks for your inputs.

Rob

Allen Stark
October 21st, 2009, 12:07 AM
I just saw this post (which is originally a little older) but good timing for me as I have a few questions that I don't know if anyone can help with. My questions are with regards to qualifying for Nationals as well as World Masters.

World Masters qualifying times are already posted so I'll use that as the reference/basis of my first question. The ages are mentioned atop. Are these ages with reference to how old you will be on December 31 of that year, correct? Now, I am 33 today, but will be 34 in December (and thus 35 next year, December 2010). I anticipate that I "age up" next year.

Now, my next question is more in reference to the qualifying times "rules." I understand that USMS wants to keep everyone included, but if those rules are not maintained (or adheared to), why bother having them? How difficult is it to establish a "qualifying" time? I see my race times all automatically posted at USMS - can't those be the "qualifying" times cross-checked prior to any champinship race? USAT has a similar approach in that you can register for USAT Age Group Championship and USAT will contact you if they find a problem about your qualification. During your registration, you simply list the race/event where you qualified. Its quite easy/simple, actually.

Thanks for your inputs.

Rob

Re:age,yes you will be 35 for the meet.The Worlds qualifying times are especially important as if you do not equal(or surpass) the qualifying time, your time doesn't count,just like being DQd.
As to Nat qualifying times,like much of Masters swimming it's the honor system.

jroddin
October 22nd, 2009, 11:40 AM
Speaking of NQTs for USMS Nationals:

Attached are the NQTs for Atlanta. As Paul said earlier, they are based on the average 10th place time from the previous three years of USMS Top Ten. For the sprints (50s and 100s), the NQT is the average 10th place time plus 15%. For all other events, it is 10th plus 10%. The reason we take a 3 year average is to smooth out any "bumps" that may occur if one year is unusually slow or fast (whether it be from tech suits or a very fast Nationals in general). And sprinters are not getting preferential treatment - it's simply a matter of trying to help the meet timeline (adding several heats of 50s to the meet has much less of an effect than adding heats of the longer events). Also keep in mind swimmers are permitted to swim three events without meeting the NQT. For example, if you can meet just one NQT, you can swim up to 4 events.

NQTs for Puerto Rico won't be available until right around New Years (can't compute the times until 2009 LCM Top Ten is released). For Puerto Rico, swimmers may enter up to 4 events without meeting the NQT. This was done so the meet director/announcer could at least swim 4 events:bolt:

Jeff Roddin
Championship Committee

rdeclercq
October 27th, 2009, 09:51 PM
Thanks jroddin! I wasn't expecting this until November (though we're close).

See you all in Atlanta next May!

jroddin
January 29th, 2010, 11:53 AM
My apologies for the delay - it just occurred to me I never posted these to the forums.

Attached are the NQTs for Puerto Rico. The NQTs for this meet are based on the average 5th place time from Top Ten for the previous three years. The conversion factor listed (1.15) means that all times are 15% slower than the 5th place average. For Puerto Rico all athletes will be permitted to swim up to four events without meeting the NQT (typically we only allow 3 "freebies"). Since we are allowing the extra freebie, we did not make the sprint cuts slower as we have sometimes done in the past.

Naturally some people will complain that their age group is too "fast" but the times are subject to the Top Ten times from your age group. As an example, a glaring anomaly this year is the M18-24 1500 free time - but if you look up the data one year, only 5 guys swam the event all year so the time is what it is until that year moves its way out of the three year average (that's why we use a 3 year average to smooth out the times and that's why we only base it on 5th place for LCM because many events don't even have 10 swimmers).

Jeff Roddin
Championship Committee

pwolf66
January 29th, 2010, 12:03 PM
Any adjustment for 'suit effect'?

melondash
January 30th, 2010, 04:43 PM
Does anyone know the order of events for August, 2010 LC nationals in Puerto Rico? I thought I saw it somewhere but now I can't find it. Thanks!

pwolf66
January 31st, 2010, 08:04 AM
Does anyone know the order of events for August, 2010 LC nationals in Puerto Rico? I thought I saw it somewhere but now I can't find it. Thanks!

Section 104.5 (Page 29) of the rule book (found here: http://www.usms.org/rules/ ), gives the event order for the next several years Nationals. For 2010 Summer Nationals (LCM), the order is:

Day 1:
800/1500 Free

Day 2:
400 IM
50 Fl
200 Fr
100 Ba
200 Br
200 mixed medley relay
200 free relay

Day 3:
400 Fr (women)
200 Ba
50 Fr
100 Br
100 IM
100 Fly
200 Medley Relay

Day 4:
400 Fr (Men)
50 Br
200 Fly
100 Fr
50 Ba
200 Mixed free relay.

Bobinator
January 31st, 2010, 12:01 PM
AGE QUESTION?????????
I turned 54 on September 10th. Would I swim as a 54 year old in scy Nationals? What about LCM Nationals?

pwolf66
January 31st, 2010, 02:46 PM
Bobinator,

You age for SCY is determined by your age as of the first day of the meet, so if you turned 55 on the 2nd day of the meet, you would compete as a 54years young.

SCM or LCM is different. Competition age is determined by your age as of Dec 31 of the competition year. So for any meters meet, you compete at the age of that year's birthday.

So your 55th is on Sept 20th, 2010, then you compete for that entire year as a 55years young in meters and as a 54years young for any yards meet that the first day of competition starts prior to September 10th, 2010.

Bobinator
January 31st, 2010, 04:33 PM
Thanks Paul for clearing that up. I've been confused. I didn't realize the rule differed per course.

timberst
May 26th, 2010, 09:07 PM
Slight correction ... for SCY age is as of LAST day of meet, not first.

102.2 Age Determining Date

102.2.1 For short course yards, the eligibility of a participant for a particular age
group shall be determined by the age as of the last day of the meet.

102.2.2 For short course meters and long course meters, the eligibility of a participant
for a particular age group shall be determined by the age as of December
31 of the year of competition.

orca1946
November 30th, 2010, 07:47 PM
Yes the 2 are quite different!

orca1946
February 5th, 2011, 01:04 PM
Where do I find the list of 2011 Mesa Nats Qual. times?

orca1946
February 21st, 2011, 02:57 PM
I found them - I was lost not them! :cane::cake:

TRYM_Swimmer
March 5th, 2012, 09:28 AM
Jayhawk,

Thanks for making very clear the qualifying situation. Your post will help a lot of swimmers, I'm sure.

However, your advice about workout times, converting from another course, etc., will not be of much use if one wishes to enter online.

Last night I finally tried to enter the Nationals electronically, as I had just competed in a meet on Saturday to get the last few seed times I needed. However, as a USMS member, when I attempted to enter events, the program tried to find times in the database. The problem is that one of the times I swam last summer in a LCM meet, and the other five from two meets I was using from this year. Neither had been entered into the database, including, of course, the one from this past Saturday.

So I have done a paper entry, which for me is more trouble than online. Can someone suggest a way to help the integrity of the online entries, without chasing many folks to paper?

Having swum in the pool this past weekend, I'm really looking forward to my first nationals in 21 years! See you all there.

jroddin
March 5th, 2012, 09:53 AM
Jayhawk,

Thanks for making very clear the qualifying situation. Your post will help a lot of swimmers, I'm sure.

However, your advice about workout times, converting from another course, etc., will not be of much use if one wishes to enter online.

Last night I finally tried to enter the Nationals electronically, as I had just competed in a meet on Saturday to get the last few seed times I needed. However, as a USMS member, when I attempted to enter events, the program tried to find times in the database. The problem is that one of the times I swam last summer in a LCM meet, and the other five from two meets I was using from this year. Neither had been entered into the database, including, of course, the one from this past Saturday.

So I have done a paper entry, which for me is more trouble than online. Can someone suggest a way to help the integrity of the online entries, without chasing many folks to paper?

Having swum in the pool this past weekend, I'm really looking forward to my first nationals in 21 years! See you all there.

If you haven't already sent in your paper entry form...

In a nutshell, do the conversion calculations ahead of time and write down those calculated seed times. Then when you enter Nationals, just type in those seed times. You don't have to "pull from the database," you can just type in a time in the box.

How did the meet go in the new GAC pool?

Jeff

TRYM_Swimmer
March 5th, 2012, 12:31 PM
If you haven't already sent in your paper entry form...

In a nutshell, do the conversion calculations ahead of time and write down those calculated seed times. Then when you enter Nationals, just type in those seed times. You don't have to "pull from the database," you can just type in a time in the box.

How did the meet go in the new GAC pool?

Jeff

The meet went well. It was a bit hectic, with over 300 swimmers in a one session format. The timeline was about 30 late at one point. But it's a great facility.

The problem must have been my home computer, or was a change just made? I went to the registration again on my office computer and this time it gave me the boxes as well as the database search. There were no boxes on my home computer and both times I was using Firefox.

I mailed my entry on the way to work today. No problem.

See you next month.

orca1946
March 10th, 2012, 10:35 PM
It's very cool to have times listed in the data base!!:applaud:

PatrickJM
May 6th, 2012, 04:36 PM
For two events I used the database times from Auburn Nationals but for the 50 Back my best time was a relay split from Auburn, but not in the database (still entered it). The rules say we can use conversion times if we want and never having done 50 Free or 50 Fly long course, that's what I needed to do. And for the 100 Free I've simply never swum it in a touchpad meet in many years so I used a conversion from a 2011 low-key meet.

ElaineK
May 6th, 2012, 08:22 PM
For two events I used the database times from Auburn Nationals but for the 50 Back my best time was a relay split from Auburn, but not in the database (still entered it). The rules say we can use conversion times if we want and never having done 50 Free or 50 Fly long course, that's what I needed to do. And for the 100 Free I've simply never swum it in a touchpad meet in many years so I used a conversion from a 2011 low-key meet.

Hey Patrick; it's on the honor system, anyway, and you are a very honorable person! :angel: I am your witness that you qualified at Auburn, because I swam on that relay with you. If anybody has any doubts, they can watch the video on YouTube and put a stopwatch to your split. :D

PatrickJM
May 7th, 2012, 06:15 PM
Hey Patrick; it's on the honor system, anyway, and you are a very honorable person! :angel: I am your witness that you qualified at Auburn, because I swam on that relay with you. If anybody has any doubts, they can watch the video on YouTube and put a stopwatch to your split. :D


Yes, the advantage of being the backstroker is your splits count for actual race times too.

orca1946
May 26th, 2012, 02:24 PM
Patrick, I'm sure that times that you figure out will be close enough to be in the right spot in your heat. Now - go swim & have fun.:applaud:

moodyrichardson
March 5th, 2013, 11:14 AM
Going to Nats for the very first time this year. I'm too slow, but I'm going anyway! I sure hope I don't live to regret this!!

ElaineK
March 5th, 2013, 03:24 PM
Going to Nats for the very first time this year. I'm too slow, but I'm going anyway! I sure hope I don't live to regret this!!

No, Moody, you won't regret it! I went to Nationals at Georgia Tech, in 2010, just a couple of months after joining USMS. I had only raced at the St. Pat's meet prior to Nationals and felt like a deer in the headlights. Since I didn't make any NQT's, I could only swim my three breaststroke events; I didn't even make it onto a relay team. And, along with Jayhawk, we were the cellar dwellers in all three of our breaststroke races. BUT, I had a blast! The other Forumites I met up with there were very supportive and encouraging (Allen Stark, Ande, Swimshark, and Swimstud, to name a few).

Do let people you meet there know it is your first one. :agree: You will get loads of encouragement! Hey, at least you have had a lot of meet experience along the way; unlike me at the time only having one meet under my cap prior to arriving at Georgia Tech!

I won't be at Indy, however, I will be in Mission Viejo. Have a blast and good luck! :cheerleader:

Atlantic
March 5th, 2013, 03:55 PM
Going to Nats for the very first time this year. I'm too slow, but I'm going anyway! I sure hope I don't live to regret this!! You will love it! The IUPUI pool is incredible! I just submitted my entry - CAN'T WAIT! :bliss:

orca1946
March 9th, 2013, 12:37 AM
If you go to learn & enjoy Nats. it will be fun. don't go thinking what if I don't place top 10, it will be a bummer.
YES !!!! tell others that this is your 1st Nats. & be proud of that !! See you there.

Glenn
March 11th, 2013, 10:45 PM
Going to Nats for the very first time this year. I'm too slow, but I'm going anyway! I sure hope I don't live to regret this!!

Nats is a blast! Indy is a great facility. Don't worry for one second about how you might do. NO ONE is too slow. Just swim and ENJOY. That's what USMS is all about.

orca1946
March 14th, 2013, 07:04 PM
You get to brag about "going to Nationals". It does not matter your time.

aguins
March 22nd, 2013, 01:21 PM
Hurray for Glenn's post!!!!!
Re: Qualifying for Nationals


http://forums.usms.org/images/misc/quote_icon.png Originally Posted by moodyrichardsonhttp://forums.usms.org/images/buttons/viewpost-right.png (http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?p=283750#post283750)
Going to Nats for the very first time this year. I'm too slow, but I'm going anyway! I sure hope I don't live to regret this!!



Nats is a blast! Indy is a great facility. Don't worry for one second about how you might do. NO ONE is too slow. Just swim and ENJOY. That's what USMS is all about.

orca1946
March 22nd, 2013, 06:45 PM
Good for you! See you there!

orca1946
May 22nd, 2013, 09:13 AM
What is the thoughts on next year's Q times for spring Nats? Will they be raised or lowered or kept the same?

james007
December 13th, 2015, 05:04 PM
How can one find out the qualifying time for a age group before one goes to the Nationals?

200free
December 13th, 2015, 08:15 PM
http://www.usms.org/comp/scnats16/nqt.pdf

orca1946
January 3rd, 2016, 04:35 PM
OK I'm in for a few at age 70

orca1946
July 12th, 2017, 12:09 AM
Does anyone other than me go to this old thread?? todays date is July 12th , 2017

waves101
July 12th, 2017, 08:34 AM
Only when it shows up in my new posts listing.

orca1946
July 21st, 2017, 07:18 PM
That what I thought.

JPEnge
October 11th, 2017, 09:06 AM
I'm glad I found this sticky before starting a new thread like a doofus! I'm thinking of going to nationals next May because my brother lives in Indianapolis so 1) free room and 2) excuse to see him, but I am going to be in a new age group next year (30-34, whew!) and didn't know how qualifying worked if I didn't have a chance to go to a meet while in that new age group beforehand. Good to know I don't have to go through hoops if I want to go!

orca1946
July 23rd, 2018, 11:19 PM
2019 at Mesa. I'm already "dreading" the Q times that , I assume, will be faster than this year!

JPEnge
July 24th, 2018, 09:15 AM
2019 at Mesa. I'm already "dreading" the Q times that , I assume, will be faster than this year!

I'm just happy to get out of the 25-29 buzzsaw age group...I got 17th, 12th, 9th, 7th, 6th in 25-29, same times would have gotten me 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd in 30-34 :P

orca1946
July 25th, 2018, 12:14 AM
JP good for you! My group [70 -74 ]the times were slower for the group 65 -70 than my group in some event??? What gives with that?

JPEnge
July 25th, 2018, 09:00 AM
JP good for you! My group [70 -74 ]the times were slower for the group 65 -70 than my group in some event??? What gives with that?

That's weird! Especially since guys like Rick Colella and Doug Martin are in the 65-69 age group.

It's funny, I was looking at the Nationals results of my 100 IM, going down the list... DI All-American, DI conference champ, DI All-American, DI NCAA qualifier, DI NCAA qualifier, DI conference finalist, DI All-American, DI water polo player, and then me, DII All-American 8 months back in the water after 6 years off, and I was the oldest in that group by at least a year! I felt a little overmatched!

orca1946
July 28th, 2018, 01:27 AM
Those guys might change what happened this year!

67King
August 4th, 2018, 01:39 PM
I don't think I saw this mentioned, but I apologize if I did. Times good for 2 years, okay got it. What happens if one ages up in that timeframe? Weird being around age group swimmers thinking aging up means getting slower, but, well, it sucks getting old! Anyway, I'll be 45 in December, so if I were to do nationals next year, I'd be in the 45 year old group. In practice off a wall, I'm pretty close to the NQT for at least one event for the 45-49 group. If I do a meet this Fall, and make a NQT that would be good for the 45-49's, but short of the 40-44's, would that count as an NQT? Or does it have to be teh age one was when he swam it for it to count?

orca1946
August 7th, 2018, 11:47 AM
That is a valid question. I am not sure of the answer.
Any "official" out there that can answer this for us?

Allen Stark
August 7th, 2018, 03:41 PM
NQTs are really on the honor basis. If you did it in the last 2 years it counts, period. No one checks it, just be honest.

jroddin
August 8th, 2018, 08:32 AM
I don't think I saw this mentioned, but I apologize if I did. Times good for 2 years, okay got it. What happens if one ages up in that timeframe? Weird being around age group swimmers thinking aging up means getting slower, but, well, it sucks getting old! Anyway, I'll be 45 in December, so if I were to do nationals next year, I'd be in the 45 year old group. In practice off a wall, I'm pretty close to the NQT for at least one event for the 45-49 group. If I do a meet this Fall, and make a NQT that would be good for the 45-49's, but short of the 40-44's, would that count as an NQT? Or does it have to be teh age one was when he swam it for it to count?

It doesn't matter what age group you do the time, times are good for 2 years. You could do a time the day before you age up to a new age group and it is still good for 2 years.

There used to be an NQT FAQ posted on the USMS website, but I can't seem to find it. I'll ask that it get restored to the National Championship page.

Jeff Roddin
USMS Championship Committee

daniel.paulling
August 8th, 2018, 10:39 AM
It doesn't matter what age group you do the time, times are good for 2 years. You could do a time the day before you age up to a new age group and it is still good for 2 years.

There used to be an NQT FAQ posted on the USMS website, but I can't seem to find it. I'll ask that it get restored to the National Championship page.

Jeff Roddin
USMS Championship Committee

I believe this may be the page you guys are looking for: https://www.usms.org/comp/NQT-FAQ.pdf

67King
August 9th, 2018, 05:57 PM
Thank you! Yes, point 10 appears to answer the question

orca1946
August 11th, 2018, 06:20 PM
Daniel - that answers many questions for us. Thanx.

daniel.paulling
August 13th, 2018, 09:57 AM
Daniel - that answers many questions for us. Thanx.

You're welcome.

orca1946
December 1st, 2018, 01:58 PM
Daniel --- as I sit here in Chicagoland with 14 inches of snow & ice on the ground and broken tree limbs, I think of you that might be swimming outside today!!