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Dual-Sanctioned Meets with USA Swimming

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Several questions have been asked recently about dual-sanctioned meets with USA-Swimming. The dual-sanction option is a great tool to provide additional opportunities for masters swimming to compete, while sharing pool space, expenses, officials, and other volunteers.

Appendix B in the USMS describes the possible formats that may be used for dual-sanctioned meets. The agreement between USMS and USA-Swimming describes three types of formats that may be used.


  • Parallel meets describe a format where two meets are essentially swum in parallel at the same time. In each event offered, the meet host might designate some lanes for USA-Swimming athletes and some for USMS athletes and the swimmers would compete together in the same heats. However, each organization's rules would apply to their members, so separate stroke and turn officials are recommended. The makeup of USMS heats may be adjusted so the seed times are approximately the same at the USA-Swimming athletes in each heat.



  • Interwoven meets describe a format where USA-Swimming and USMS athletes compete in separate heats. The meet host might decide to run separate sessions for each organization's athletes, alternate events, or alternate heats. Each organization's rules apply to their members, so stroke and turn officials would judge each heat according the rules of the sanctioning organization.



  • Combined meets mean that all swimmers swim together in the same heats without any specific designation of lanes. In this case, all athletes would compete under USA Swimming rules.


The phrase “competing according to USA-Swimming rules” is interpreted to mean that USMS articles 101, 102, 103, 107, and 108 are replaced by the corresponding articles of the current USA Swimming Rules and Regulations, except that the following USMS articles shall apply in all circumstances: 102.1 (eligibility), 102.2 (age determining date), 102.3 (age groups), 102.5 (events), 102.6 (event limit), 102.7 (entries), 102.9 (relays), 102.11 (change of program and postponement), and 102.14 (protests).

During combined meets, the application of USMS rule 102.4, which requires a continuous warm-up area at USMS sanctioned meets, can be adjusted depending on the availability of warm-space at the venue by agreement between the host clubs. If a continuous warm-up/warm-down lane or area is not available, the entry information must clearly state the availability of warm-up for USMS athletes. Once the entry information is published, changes which further restrict the availability of continuous warm-up/warm-down space are not permitted.

The requirements for USMS records and Top 10 times in 105.1 and requirements for USMS record applications in 105.3.8 must be followed at dual-sanctioned meets per the agreement. A liability release (204.1) is also required for all USMS members in USMS sanctioned events, including dual-sanctioned meets.

For dual-sanctioned meets that follow a parallel (specific lanes allocated to each organization) or an interwoven (separate heats for each organization) format, the agreement specifies that each organization’s rules must apply to their members. In these cases, all articles of USMS part one apply to the USMS competition without exception. So, continuous warm-up space is required for USMS athletes in these meets in pools of five lanes or more.

In a dual-sanctioned meet, swimmers must compete as a member of one organization or the other for the entire meet. While there are many athletes who are members of both organizations, this arrangement does not permit swimmers to represent both in a single meet. If a USMS member competes as a USA-Swimming athlete, automatic recognition of the USA-Swimming portion of the meet still applies, and USMS members may submit times that they swim in USA-Swimming meets for USMS records and top 10 recognition.

Please note that the 2016 USA-Swimming rule book contains an older version of the guidelines! We have made that correction, but not all LSC Officials may have the correct version. Appendix B of the USMS rule book is the most up-to-date version of the guidelines. Under the current guidelines, there is no need to provide separate warm-up space for USMS and USA-Swimming athletes, but host organizations may still do so as local option.

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