What are USA Motivational Times?
- All swimmers are ranked according to their best achieved time in each event.
- A swimmer must swim an event at a sanctioned USA meet for the time to be official (CPAL times do not count).
- A swim must be performed legally to be accepted. (No disqualification times are accepted).
- All swimmers times from each meet are then loaded up to the USA Swimming National Database.
Age group motivational standards are set on a four-year base. The current Age Group standards started on 9/1/2017 and run through 8/31/2020.
To start, the last time of the top 16 (or top 10) for the previous four years as compared to the 16th fastest time in an age group for the current year. If there is no difference, the motivational time standard stays the same. If it’s different it may move up or down either direction.
Swimming Time Explained
USA Swimming uses B, BB, A, AA, AAA, and AAAA based time standards.
USA Swimming publishes a set of time standard for various reasons. One of the reasons behind standards is their usefulness for goal setting. They are also used to control the size of swim meets, as each higher or faster level in standards has fewer swimmers. As the standards get faster, a smaller number of swimmers achieve them. Almost every swimming federation in the world uses some form of stepped standards within their system.
Standards can also be used to offer a general idea of how a swimmer matches up with other swimmers in their age group and between age-groups. In a general sense, a “AAA” time for a 9-10 year-old is not the same time as a “AAA” time for a 13-14 year-old.
Most championship meets have an “A” standard to get in. In Middle Atlantic we also have “JO times”. These times tend to be somewhere between an A and a AA standard in events. “Silver Times” are slower than a JO time but faster than what is determined as a “Bronze Time”.