Swimming New Zealand homepage

The start of something extraordinary

FAQ - Events & Competition Restructure

Competition Restructure & Competitive Pathway Review (July 2020)

An 18-month review of the competitive swimming calendar and landscape was released in July 2020 - click here to view entire the review. A summary of the 8 recommendations and their progress is provided below:



Brief Description




Three distinct 4-month training cycles with a significant racing opportunity at the end of each cycle (13+ years)


The 2021 event calendar has been aligned to the training cycles – page 16 of the review


17 – 18 years to be hosted at NZ Swimming Champs


This change was implemented in 2021


10 designated meets per region annually


Policy 007 has been updated and implemented. This outlines the minimum requirements for designated and development meets.


The list of designated meets for each season (July - June) will be displayed on the results webpage


Regional champs don’t require designated meet times


Should be applied in each region


To qualify for national champs, a qualifying time will be required from a designated meet


Consistent age groups at national & regional competitions


Should be applied in each region – page 17-18 of the review


Revamped XLR8 program and re-align 12&U calendar

Work in progress

This program is currently in development. More information will be announced when the program is ready


Each national & regional event has a clear purpose


All national meets now have a clearly defined purpose


4-year cycle calendar


Next review to commence in June 2023


What is the reason for the age as of dates change in 2021?

As part of the competition restructure and competitive pathway review, the 17 – 18 year old age band was shifted to the NZ Champs from 2021 onwards. As part of this move, if the old method of using the age as of the first day of competition, the issue of some athletes potentially being 16 years old on 5 April 2021 (NZ Champs start) but turning 17 by 19 April 2021 (NAGS start), in which this athlete would not be eligible for any age bracket at all in 2021. Much consideration was given to how would this situation be managed and handled for 2021 but also for each year to come afterwards. The Events Advisory Committee working group was also consulted to decide upon the fairest and most consistent option going forward.


With the age as of date being at the end of the training cycle for each year going forward, there will not be a scenario where some athletes completely miss a whole age group beyond 2021, when the event date may slightly adjust given the nature of venue availability and the way the weeks fall in each respective year. For example: NAGS is 19 April 2021 and 20 April 2022 – therefore the age of date would have been different for the following year and not consistent, resulting in some athletes missing a whole age group.


In this case, each athlete has a training cycle and respective significant racing opportunity where they are youngest, mid-range and oldest in their age group each year and the age as of date is consistent yearly moving forwards, without the scenario described above where an athlete may skip an age group entirely with the event changing dates from year to year.


Therefore, the age as of date for the following events will be:


Age as of Date

2021 NZ Short Course Swimming Championships

31 August 2021

2021 Regional Championships

31 December 2021

2022 NZ Swimming Championships

2022 NZ Age Group Swimming Championships

2022 NZ Division II Swimming Championships

30 April 2022


How old must I be to enter an open age event?

As part of the review, the senior calendar was stated to be 13+ years. This means that you must be 13+ years to enter any national championship event. 


What is the focus for 12 & under swimmers?

To align with the Sport NZ Balance is Better program, the Junior Festivals are entirely focused on fun participation and involvement in swimming. National 12 & under records have also been removed to complement this focus. Therefore, the focus for 12 & under swimmers should entirely be on enjoyment in the pool, learning the skills of how to swim and racing opportunities that celebrate personal bests, with no early specialisation into any particular stroke. 


What is a designated meet?

A designated meet is the new terminology used for a meet that a swimmer can use times achieved at to enter national championships, previously known as "approved meet". These meets have set minimum official requirements which must be achieved (click here to view the current Policy 007). 

Designated meets are limited to 10 per region in the 12-month season (July - June) plus regional champs for open and age at both long and short course. These meets must be nominated by 30 June for the following season by the respective region. These designated meets will be listed on the TM results webpage (click here to view the list of designated meets).

All national meets delivered by Swimming New Zealand will be designated meets.


What is a development meet?

A development meet is the new terminology for a previously known "unapproved meet". Development meets are any meet delivered other than the designated meets listed on the TM results webpage. These meets do not require any qualified officials and there aren't any disqualifications to be performed at these meets.

The purpose of a development meet is to provide swimmers with the opportunity to race for fun without any pressure on them to perform, and to allow the coaches to encourage skill development rather than focusing on a result.

As part of the Competition Restructure and Competitive Pathway Review (July 2020), some issues identified included:

  • There was too much emphasis on having "approved meets" in order to gain qualification times for regional or national meets. The reason for having approved meets has become blurred resulting in these becoming the norm as opposed to the exception
  • With every meet being approved and an opportunity to qualify for national meets, coaches struggled to implement a training cycle for swimmers to improve and swimmers were under pressure to perform every time rather than focus on skill development and enjoying swimming
  • The requirement of having enough officials to be an approved meet was being a burden for meet organisers and uncertain until the day of competition when the number of officials in attendance could be confirmed to have the meet approved

Development meet times can be used to enter regional championships or any other level of competition, but can not be used to enter national championships.