Resources for Hosting a Pool or Open Water Event

Are you considering hosting a meet or an open water race? It can be a very rewarding way to increase enthusiasm and interest in your local masters program — and possibly even generate some revenue for your club — but the task can be a little daunting! Never fear, here are some resources to help you through it.


  • Planning and Running a Masters Meet,” prepared by the Virginia LMSC Board, should be the major document that you use to guide you in planning pool meets.
  • Choosing a Date: hosts should not choose a date that conflicts with another sanctioned or recognized event in our LMSC, or with Colonies Zone or USMS National Championship meets. Please see our Upcoming Events page for more information about nearby events.
    • For OW events, coordinate with the local Parks & Recreation Department to find a date that the body of water is available and typically safe (water quality, temperature, and conditions) for a swim. You may want to have a backup “rain date” for your swim.

Application for Sanction/Recognition

  • USMS uses an online sanction/recognition request process.
  • The event director enters the event information. He/she indicates whether he/she wishes to apply for a sanction or recognition, or whether he/she just wants the event to be listed on the calendar.
  • When the event is submitted, an email is sent to the LMSC sanctions chair.
  • The sanctions chair logs into the system, reviews the event information, may request additional information if needed and as long as all appropriate requirements have been met, approves the request.  The event will be automatically added to the USMS calendar of events and the meet director will receive a confirmation e-mail of the approval.
  • In order to properly advertise your event, you should apply for a sanction/recognition at least two months in advance of the planned event date.
    • Planning and sanctioning an Open Water event takes a little longer than a pool event because it involves some extra steps, so be sure to start the process early. Read the next section for details.
  • Tutorial for Event Directors provides a step-by-step guide for submitting a sanction/recognition request.
  • Worksheet for Event Directors provides a printable worksheet that the event director can use to prepare for a sanction/recognition request.

Safety Planning for Open Water Events

  • The Event Director will need to recruit volunteers and Open Water Rescue Squad coverage for race day.
  • The Event Director will need to appoint or to serve as the event’s Safety Director.
    • The event’s Safety Officer will need to complete the Open Water Safety test to become certified. This process needs to be completed every two years to maintain certification. The USMS Open Water Compliance Coordinator provides the exam and study materials.
  • The Event Director will need to complete and submit the following to USMS:
    • Open Water Safety Plan
    • Open Water Safety Checklist
    • The Event Director will complete this process in tandem with the USMS sanctioning process. They will submit the Safety Plan and Checklist to the USMS Open Water Compliance Coordinator after receiving sanctioning approval from the LMSC Sanctioning Chair.

Running the Event

  • Running an event with Meet Manager
    • It is always easiest to use online registration through Club Assistant. Once the registration deadline has passed, you can download a file for import into Meet Manager, and all the USMS ID and other information will be correct.
    • You should look at the latest USMS Records file and import it into Meet Manager. That makes it easy to determine if a record has been broken, and it will even print out the (partially filled out) record application form. It is always much easier to collect all the supporting documentation at the meet, rather than afterward.
    • If you would also like to have a LMSC records file for import — so LMSC records and record-breakers are displayed in your results — please contact the LMSC Top 10 Recorder.
    • As of 2017, the USMS rules for backup times with a missed/failed touchpad have been changed. You can no longer apply “corrections” calculated from previous heats or other lanes; now you must use buttons or, if they are inaccurate, watches. This requires a special setup in Meet Manager; please contact the Sanctions Chair if you are unsure about this.

Fees and Reports

Here is a flow chart to help you understand the fee structure under various scenarios.

  • Within a week of the event, send a copy of the results in an appropriate electronic format (usually as a Meet Manager backup file) to the Records/Top 10 chair.
    • For pool meets, also include split requests forms and the appropriate pool measurement forms.
    • If any national or world records were set, work with the Records/Top 10 chair to complete and submit the appropriate record application forms.
    • The Records/Top 10 chair will submit the results to the webmaster for posting on the LMSC website.
    • For Recognized Meets, please also send the completed Observer Report.
  • For Pool Meets:
    • For Sanctioned pool meets, the director/host is responsible to pay $1 per participant to the LMSC. The LMSC will cover the USMS sanction fee, which is billed by USMS directly to the LMSC.
    • For Recognized pool meets, the director/host is responsible to pay $100 to the LMSC to cover the USMS recognition fee, which is billed by USMS to the LMSC.
    • The meet report form to be filed within 30 days of the conclusion of your meet. Send the report, with the check, to the Virginia LMSC Treasurer.
  • For OW events, the following fees are required. Please contact the LMSC Treasurer if you have any questions.
    • $5 per participant (USMS fee) + $1 per participant (LMSC fee) for a total of $6 per USMS member participant
    • $15 per One Event participant (USMS fee) + $10 per One Event participant (LMSC fee) for a total of $25 per One Event participant
    • One check with all fees should be mailed to the LMSC Treasurer, along with the OW Event Report Formwithin 30 days of the conclusion of the event.

Miscellaneous Information

  • Other forms that you may need:
  • Other useful links:
    • Online version of the USMS Rule Book. You should have at least one hardcopy of the current Rule Book at the meet.
    • The USMS Guide to Operations (GTO) has a lot of useful information, including links to most of the forms in the previous section. In particular, be sure to study one of the following GTOs, depending on the nature of your event.
    • Current HyTek records files for national and world records. The first link also gives instructions for importing them into Meet Manager, which can also print out pre-filled Record Application forms when a record has been broken.
    • Club Assistant website. Allowing online registration for your event is strongly encouraged since it will usually increase participation, as well as offer greater convenience to participants and decrease errors in processing and posting meet results.
    • LMSC upcoming events calendar. You should not plan your event to be too close to another event in our LMSC. You should also consider the timing of big events in neighboring LMSCs (many of those are included on our calendar).
    • USMS events calendar
    • Description of the new USMS Officials Certification program.
  • Communications with LMSC Officers

Good luck!