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Thread: Qualifying for Nationals

  1. #1
    USMS Membership Director Jayhawk's Avatar
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    Qualifying for Nationals

    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.

  2. #2
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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.

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    Very Active Member isobel's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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.

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    USMS Membership Director Jayhawk's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Quote Originally Posted by isobel View Post
    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.

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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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.

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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Quote Originally Posted by rshelfer View Post
    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.

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    Participating Member rdeclercq's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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
    Swim hard - Tri harder

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Quote Originally Posted by rdeclercq View Post
    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.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Very Active Member jroddin's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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

    Jeff Roddin
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    Participating Member rdeclercq's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Thanks jroddin! I wasn't expecting this until November (though we're close).

    See you all in Atlanta next May!
    Swim hard - Tri harder

  11. #11
    Very Active Member jroddin's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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
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  12. #12
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Any adjustment for 'suit effect'?

  13. #13
    Participating Member melondash's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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!

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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Quote Originally Posted by melondash View Post
    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.

  15. #15
    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    AGE QUESTION?????????
    I turned 54 on September 10th. Would I swim as a 54 year old in scy Nationals? What about LCM Nationals?
    HTFU!

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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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.

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    Swimming gives me a buzz! Bobinator's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Thanks Paul for clearing that up. I've been confused. I didn't realize the rule differed per course.
    HTFU!

  18. #18
    timberst
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    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.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Yes the 2 are quite different!

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Qualifying for Nationals

    Where do I find the list of 2011 Mesa Nats Qual. times?

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