Event Sanctions

The process for requesting a sanction or a recognition for an event begins the same way as it does to add an event to the USMS Calendar of Events. During the process, you will indicate that you want to request a sanction or a recognition, and your request will automatically be routed to the appropriate LMSC Sanctions Chair.

Any sanction or recognition fees, if charged by an LMSC, will still have to be submitted separately and you will receive instructions at the end of the submissions process. But all event related information, including documents such as a meet entry form, should be submitted using the online process.

Sanctioned vs Recognized

ALL competitors in sanctioned events must be USMS members or a member of a FINA-recognized national governing body for Masters swimming. This is necessary for the safety and enjoyment of the swimmers, for liability and excess personal accident insurance coverage to be in force, and for official consideration of performances. Times achieved at sanctioned events, conducted in strict compliance with all mandatory swimming rules of the USMS rule book, as defined in Part 1, shall be considered for USMS national records, USMS Top 10 times, and FINA world records.

In recognized events, swimmers are not required to be USMS members. Only USMS members are covered by liability and excess personal accident insurance. For additional information on insurance coverage, refer to the "Insurance Swim Meet Coverage Grid" in this handbook. Times achieved at events may be considered for USMS national records and Top 10 times if the event has been granted recognition and a designated USMS observer is present and verifies in writing that the conduct of the competition conforms to the relevant USMS swimming rules and administrative regulations.

Pool Sanctions

Please review the following information, including a Meet Director To-Do List and rules that governs USMS pool sanctions and event management:

1. If the pool meets the pool-length certification requirements but is a bulkhead pool, a Pool Length Certification Form needs to be completed following each session of the meet and submitted with the meet results. If the pool does not meet the pool length certification requirements, entry forms and programs must reflect that times swum will not be submitted for Top 10 or record consideration.

2. The sanction is issued under the condition that all USMS, Inc. swimming rules and administrative regulations and local rules and regulations shall be followed. There must be at least two officials. The referee shall be certified as a stroke and turn judge, starter, or referee by USA Swimming, YMCA, or any other USMS-approved certifying body.

3. The rules are listed in the current edition of the USMS Rule Book. It is a condition of this sanction that the rule book shall be available at the meet.

4. This sanction is not transferable.

5. If this event is a competition, the results and required facility certifications shall be submitted within 14 days of the conclusion of the event in the proper format to Laszlo Eger - Top Ten Recorder.

Please direct all pool sanction inquiries to Mindy Williams, NE-LMSC Pool Sanctions Chair.

Open Water Events

Congratulations on your upcoming open-water event. Swimmer safety is the primary concern of USMS and the New England LMSC and is the basis for USMS's Open Water Sanction and Safety Guidelines. A USMS sanction signals that your open-water event is adequately insured and adheres to USMS's rigorous safety requirements.

When planning your event and preparing your sanction application, please carefully read the following guidance documents from the USMS Open Water Guide to Operations.

Sanction and Safety Guidelines

Major Changes for 2015

Please also read Articles 203, 204, 301, 302 and 303 of the 2015 USMS Rule Book, a copy of which must be available at your event. The Rule Book can be downloaded, or printed, bound hard copies can be purchased from the USMS national office for $10 each. To order, contact Claudia Woods at 941-556-6281 or via email.

If you choose not to seek a sanction, you may still promote your event to the USMS community by requesting that it be added to the USMS Calendar. Please note, however, that unsanctioned events do not qualify for USMS's insurance protection and cannot be advertised as a NE LMSC or USMS-affiliated event.


Open Water sanction applications must be submitted through the USMS online sanction system. Please have the following documents ready to upload (in Word or PDF format):

  1. An entry form

  2. A safety plan (see Addendum A above)

Click here for instructions on how to submit a sanction request.

Once submitted, the system will notify the NE LMSC Open Water Sanctions Chair, who will conduct the first-line review of your application and contact you if additional information is required. Once approved at the LMSC level, the application goes to the USMS Open Water Compliance Coordinator for final review and assignment of a sanction number.


USMS requires a $1,000 surcharge for each sanctioned open-water event.

The NE LMSC will, at its discretion, subsidize the entire surcharge for events with 20 or more swimmers, including current USMS members and participants who purchase a USMS one-event membership.

The event host is required to submit a $1,000 deposit, which will be returned following the event.

All swimmers in each sanctioned race must be a member of USMS or USA Swimming. USMS one-event memberships are available at $13 each subject to completion of the NE-LMSC one-event application and USMS liability waiver prior to entering the water, which are available by contacting the NE LMSC registrar.

All sanction deposits must be received prior to the processing of the sanction approval. Please write a check for $1,000 payable to "NE LMSC" and mail it to:

Al Prescott
Treasurer, New England LMSC
16 Lake Shore Drive North
Westford, MA 01886

Please direct all open water sanction inquiries to Charlotte Brynn, NE-LMSC Open Water Sanctions Chair.