Ever wondered how swim meets are scored? Here’s an overview of the official rules for the Valley Cabana Swim League (VCSL).

The Short Version: Every Swimmer Can Be a Winner

The Valley Cabana Swim League places equal emphasis on place points and on improved times. Teams are awarded place points for 1st through 5th place times in individual events, and for 1st or 2nd place times in relay events.

But swimmers who do not place in the top five (or even the top 30!) can still help their team by improving on their own personal best times. The team’s total number of improved times is converted to a percentage and added to the place points to determine the winning team.

Swimmers with ribbons

The Details: Some Math Required


Place points for each event are awarded as follows:

Individual events

  • 1st place: 6 points
  • 2nd place: 4 points
  • 3rd place: 3 points
  • 4th place: 2 points
  • 5th place: 1 point

Relay events

  • 1st place: 12 points
  • 2nd place: 8 points

Based on this point system, each team can score a maximum of 1,136 points.

Each team’s points are converted to a percentage by dividing the team’s total place points by the total possible (1,136) and then multiplying by 100 and rounding to the nearest tenth of a percent.

For example, say Los Paseos swimmers score a total of 700 place points. 700 divided by 1,136 is 61.62 percent, so Los Paseos would get 61.6 place points.


Every swimmer who improves his/her entry time in any individual event receives 1 point.

The team’s total number of improvement points is converted to a percentage by dividing by the total number of entries, then multiplying by 100 and rounding to the nearest tenth of a percent.

As an example, at a typical LPAC swim meet there are a total of about 400 individual entries. If 200 of those are improved times, then that is a 50 percent improvement rate, which would translate to 50.0 points for the team.

Note: relays are not scored for improved times.


In this example, we’d add 61.6 (place points) plus 50.0 (improvement points) for a total score of 111.6.

If that score is greater than the other team’s total score, then LPAC wins!