HOW COMPETITIVE SWIMMING IS ORGANIZED
The national governing body of sanctioned, competitive swimming is USA Swimming, of which Florida Swimming is the local swim council. The Blue Dolfins are a registered team and our swimmers compete in a variety of USA Swimming-sanctioned meets. Local swim clubs host local meets or invitationals. Florida Swimming hosts championship meets, such as the Florida Age Group Championships (FLAGS) and Senior Champs. Finally, USA Swimming hosts larger meets, such as Sectionals or Junior and Senior Nationals.
Many meets are open to any swimmer registered in USA Swimming, but some require a swimmer to qualify based on times. A swimmer's times are kept in a national database maintained on the USA Swimming website.
One you child reaches high school, he or she may have the opportunity to swim for their school swim team. This is governed by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) and has its own set of rules and regulations.
There are other types of swim leagues, including YMCA swimming, country club and summer leagues, as well as swim teams registered under the Amateur Athletic Association (AAU), but the Olympic Committee recognizes USA Swimming as the authority on swimming in the USA.
To make the competition fair, swimmers are divided into competitive age groups:
- 8 & Unders
- 9&10 year olds
- 11&12 year olds
- 13&14 years old
Championship meets, such as FLAGS, are for 14 and under swimmers.
Once a swimmer turns 15 years old, they are categorized in the Senior Group:
- 15&16 year olds
- 17 and over
Oftentimes the focus for these swimmers is to try to qualify to compete for a national meet or to swim in college.
For swimmers that want to compete past college, US Masters Swimming sanctions meets for swimmers from college age to over 100 years old.