Boys Swimming, Girls Swimming · How are Swim Meets Scored?


Did you win your race? What was your time?

These are the common questions most swimmers face from family and friends that don’t know the sport very well. Swimming, like track, is both an individual and team sport. “Losing” a race is like losing an inning in baseball… its just part of the overall game. Believe it or not, your team’s swimmer could individually win the race, but as a team, you could fall behind in overall points.

So how exactly do points work?

Most schools swim dual meets… that is to say, one school vs another school. We won’t talk about tri-meets or invitationals because they can get a little complicated. There are three relay events at a high school swim meet:

  1. 200 Medley Relay ( 4 swimmers, each swimming 50 yds of one of the four strokes)
  2. 200 Free Relay (4 swimmers, each swimming 50 yds freestyle)
  3. 400 Free Relay (4 swimmers, each swimming 100 yds freestyle)

Even though there could be up to 6 Relay Teams competing in that event, we only award points for 1st (8 points), 2nd (4 points) and 3rd (2 points).

There are eight individual events in a high school meet:

  1. 200 Freestyle
  2. 200 IM (Individual Medley… which is 50 yds of each stroke)
  3. 50 Free
  4. 100 Fly
  5. 100 Free
  6. 100 Backstroke
  7. 100 Breaststroke

Even though 6 individual swimmers are competing, points are awarded for 1st (6 points), 2nd (4pts), 3rd (3pts), 4th(2pts), and 5th (1pt). The last place swimmer does not receive any points.

So in our example above, where the swimmer wins the race but lose the event…

If Team A takes 1st, 5th, and 6th, they earn 6 pts + 1 pt +0 pts = 7 pts

Team B, if there are no Disqualifying (DQs) swims, would earn 4 pts + 3 pts +2 pts = 9pts

So, it is possible for for Team A to win the race, but lose the event 7-9.

Welcome to the wonderful world of HS Swimming.