April 10, 2016


The Neighborhoods named herein, which are located in Montgomery County, Maryland, in the immediate vicinity of Germantown and Gaithersburg, have agreed to form this summer Swim league for the benefit and enjoyment of the children from those communities. By this charter, the Member Neighborhoods hereby establish the rules and regulations under which they agree to compete. Furthermore, this charter establishes the spirit of fair play and mutual enjoyment under which this league was formed.


This league of community swim teams was formed in the summer of 1980 as an ad hoc committee of neighborhood representatives who met to set a swim meet schedule and to adopt a set of rules under which the teams would compete.  Montgomery County, Maryland already held an established swim league, the Montgomery County Swim  League (MCSL), but these communities decided to form an independent league. The founding neighborhoods felt, and still feel, that an independent league could remain more fun, family-oriented, and with a more relaxed atmosphere than the more highly competitive MCSL.


While the neighborhoods herein recognize, appreciate, and subscribe to the concept of competitiveness in team sports, the league wished to emphasize participation, individual accomplishment, the learning and perfecting of strokes, self-discipline, good sportsmanship, and fair play over competition and winning.


The Gaithersburg-Germantown Swim League is an unofficial body. As it was in its beginning, it is an ad hoc committee of several neighborhoods meeting to establish rules and a schedule. The League has no ability or authority to enforce rules upon anyone who disagrees with such rules. Rather, the league exists as a vehicle for people who wish to agree, who wish to freely compete, and who wish to enjoy, as children and adults, the pleasures of competitive swimming. Following are rules and regulations for the conduct of swim meets, under which the member teams freely agree to compete. Technical rules for USS (United States Swim) shall govern the League [1995].



    1. The member Teams agree to compete each summer in swimming events as described in attachment A (The events of dual meets and invitational tournaments) and in attachment B (the events of a relay carnival).
    2. The age groups for events are as follows: 8 & under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-18. The group that a swimmer falls into is determined by that swimmer's age on or before June 1st. [2006]
    3. Swimmers of a specified age may not swim in an event designed for younger swimmers. A swimmer may be moved up, however, to an age class older than his/her age, provided that the swimmer does not "double up" in any one event.
    4. The visiting neighborhood teams agree to abide by the pool rules of the host neighborhood.
    5. The host neighborhood will appoint a Senior Meet Official to act as judge and arbiter during any controversy in the meet wherein the parties to the controversy cannot agree.
    6. The scoring for all events in dual meets will be as follows:
      • 5 points for 1st Place
      • 3 points for 2nd Place
      • 1 point for 3rd Place
    7. Scoring is the same for relays and individual events. In a head-to-head meet in which a team takes 1st, 2nd and 3rd sweep, a courtesy point shall be awarded to the opposing team, if that team fielded a swimmer.
    8. Backstroke flags will be available at each end of the pool at all league meets. [2016]
    9. To be permitted to swim for a neighborhood team, a swimmer must be a member of that community pool - by virtue of residence or by property ownership by his/her family if such ownership provides pool membership. Lifeguards are not permitted to swim for a team if their only relationship with that neighborhood is as an employee. Children of coaches and parent coordinators may participate in league, even if they are not otherwise eligible. [1995]
    10. Winning teams are not to jump into the pool after meet. Such behavior presents an insurance risk and is contrary to the concept of proper good-sportsmanship.
    11. The following protocol should be observed by all league swimmers, coaches and parents: [1995]
      • Swimmers shake hands with swimmers in nearby lanes before leaving water.
      • Swimmers will stay in the water until all contestants have finished the race.
      • Politeness to members of other teams is expected.
      • Respect for property is expected.

    1. Swimmers in age group 8 years and under will not be disqualified in any event for any reason, unless the swimmer fails to complete the event. However, if the swimmer is swimming up in an older age group, he/she may be disqualified.

    1. Meet officials are to be objective in their officiating and must seek to profess impartiality in the conduct of their official functions.
    2. Stroke and Turn Judges are to ensure that the reason for a "DQ" is clearly noted on the swimmer's card so that the coach will be able to inform the swimmer of the reason for his/her disqualification.
    3. The rules for officiating in Dual Meets:
      1. There will be 18 lane timers with digital watches. The time assigned will be the middle time for each lane, and the order of finish in a race will be determined by time alone.
      2. There will be one head timer as back-up.
      3. There will be at least one Stroke and Turn Judge, but the preferred number is two.
      4. The announcer can double as starter.
      5. There will be one Senior Meet Official.
    4. The rules for officiating in the Invitational Meet are as follows:
      1. There will be 3 lane timers with digital watches for each lane. The time assigned will be the middle time for each lane, and the order of finish in a race will be determined by time alone.
      2. There will be one head timer as back-up.
      3. There will be four Stroke and Turn Judges.
      4. There will be one starter.
      5. There will be a separate announcer.
      6. There will be a Senior Meet Official.
    5. Stroke and turn judges must attend a clinic once each season. Starters are urged to attend also. [1995]
    6. The starter may not hold swimmers for more than three seconds after taking marks. After three seconds, starter must sound the start or stand the swimmers up again. [1995]

    1. A roster of the planned swimmers, entered on meet participation sheets and cards, will be ready and presented before the beginning of the meet. The composition of the teams may not be altered after the start of the meet. This rule shall also apply to the Invitational, but shall exclude all relays. Also, this rule can be waived, and a substitution made, if a condition warrants substitution (such as sudden illness or injury of a swimmer), and if both coaches and the Senior Meet Official agree.
    2. Meets will start on time as follows:
      • 7:30 A.M. Warm-ups/8:00 A.M. start for morning meets
      • 6:00 P.M. Warm-ups/6:30 P.M. start for evening meets [2016]
    3. The delinquent team will forfeit the meet after a 30-minute delay.
    4. Starters must either use a starting gun, an airhorn or other officially recognized starting devices. Whistles may not be used for starting.
    5. Timers in all lanes will rotate from end-to-end when needed to ensure that all swimmers are starting from the deepest end of the pool. In order to expedite this, the announcer should be prepared to inform the timers when it is time to switch, and which end of the pool they should be ready to time from. It is understood that during relay events, there will inevitably be swimmers who must dive into the shallower end of the pool. Pools with even depth at both ends may keep the timers in one place. [1996]
    6. Each team MAY provide a person to protect the head of a swimmer at each end of the pool for every backstroke event. The activities of a “head catcher” must not cause a swimmer to be disqualified and shall ensure that the swimmer is able to complete his/her stroke from the start to finish in a legal manner. Timers shall not be utilized as head catchers, and the head catcher shall not interfere with the timers’ (or other pool-edge officials’) performances of their duties unless significant and immediate injury risk is noted. [2016]
    7. If the host pool has no targets at the ends of the lanes, colored towels must be placed over the edge, overhanging into the water, to prevent any injuries from occurring.
    8. At the meeting of Timers prior to the onset of each meet, the Senior Meet Official should review the timing process and do a "practice run" with a horn, a starter gun or other officially recognized starting device. He/she should also remind all timers that it is important to lean over the edge of the pool at each finish so that the first touch made by the swimmer is not missed. Timers will get wet. Optimally, there should be one experienced timer in each of the six lanes, in order to assist new timers.
    9. There will be a 15-minute break in the meet before the Individual Medley event.
    10. Any emergency situation should be brought to the attention of the Senior meet official, who will then contact the on-duty pool operator and anyone else who is appropriate.

    1. General Policies
      1. In two-heat events, the second heat is faster. [1996]
      2. The sidestroke may not be substituted for any other stroke in any event.
      3. There will be an unlimited number of 6 & under kickboard heats at each dual meet, in order to accommodate those teams with a large number of kickboarders. The following apply:
        1. All 6 & under kickboard heats will be mixed (boy/girl) heats.
        2. 6 & under kickboarders should be able to kick the length of the pool within 90 seconds. This should be determined during regular practice.
        3. 6 & under kickboarders may also participate in 6 & under freestyle.
        4. There shall be 3 heats of 6 & under freestyle. A fourth heat may be added if both teams agree to this prior to the start of the meet. [1995] This exhibition (non-scored) event will be held after the backstroke events, immediately before the half-time break. The heats shall all be mixed boys and girls. [1995] If one team does not have enough swimmers to fill its share of lanes in any heat, the other team may fill the remaining lanes.
        5. Kickboarders may have one or two hands on the kickboard during the kickboard event. [1996]
      4. There may be a second, scored, heat of 25 freestyle for 8 & under and 9-10 age groups. Both heats will be combined for scoring purposes, with the usual point schedule being used for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. With the two heats totaling 12 swimmers, places 1-6 will be awarded the appropriate place ribbons. Places 7- 12 will be awarded participant ribbons. [2016]
      5. There shall be a second heat of 25 back and breast for 8 & under and 9-10 age groups if both teams agree on this prior to the start of the meet [1995].
        Each event in a dual meet can have as many as two heats – with only the first two heats of the 8 & under and 9-10 freestyle events scored, as notified in paragraph d. above. Extra heats may be added to every event in dual meets as long as both coaches agree to this. Coaches should keep in mind, when planning extra heats: the overall length of the meet with added extra heats; the size of both teams competing; the ability of the swimmers to legally swim in these extra heats. Swimmers in non-scored heats are considered exhibition swimmers and receive participant ribbons. [2016]
      6. Place ribbons, rather than participant ribbons, shall be awarded to the 6 & under kickboarders and freestylers.
      7. There shall be no second heats for any other event other than those listed in (6) and (7).
      8. 6 & under reseeds will be for one place only. [1995]
      9. 8 & under individual event swimmers with technical violations shall be re-seeded to the place in which they will score no points: dual meets - re-seeded three positions, Invitational – re-seeded nine positions. [1995]
      10. Places are to be determined by the order of finish within heats for all 6 & under events. Participation ribbons are only awarded for places 7-12 in scored events with 2 heats. [1995] Disqualified swimmers will not receive a ribbon. [1996]
      11. 8 & under butterfly is a scored event at all dual meets. [2000]
    2. Breaststroke policies are a follows:
      1. A swimmer's head is allowed to go below the surface of the water during breaststroke, as long as it breaks the surface of the water with each stroke.
      2. A swimmer may take a second underwater pull at the start of each breaststroke leg, as long as that second pull brings the swimmer to the surface of the water.
      3. All forward starts, except kickboarders, must have at least one hand on the wall. [1995]
      4. Breaststroke finishes and turns – shoulders do not have to be parallel to the wall. [1998]

    1. To be eligible for the Relay Carnival, swimmers must participate in 2 previous dual meets. To be eligible for the Invitations Meet, swimmers must participate in 3 previous dual meets. Team managers/coaches should compile rosters for each team and have them available for the inspection of other teams. All score sheets shall be signed by the scorers involved and should be available at the Relay Carnival and Invitational Meets to verify the eligibility of swimmers.
    2. General Policies
      1. During Relay Carnival, 8 & under swimmers may not be disqualified. Relay teams may only be disqualified for errors by 9 & older swimmers. [1995]
      2. All events in the Relay Carnival are run in a single heat. If possible, each team will be assigned two lanes, but only one squad per team may score. [2000]
      3. Entries must be submitted to the timer one card at a time just before each event is swum.
      4. Scoring is: 10-6-4-2 (four teams) or 8-4-2 (three teams).
      5. Swimming up is permitted, but no swimmer can go two legs of one relay
      6. Mixed relays can be any combination of boys and girls, so long as both boys and girls swim. If possible swim boys in legs 1 and 3, girls in legs 2 and 4.
      7. Lanes will be assigned at the pool.
      8. No points for exhibition events.
      9. Scoring will be off the cards. There will be no meet sheets.

    1. To be eligible for the Invitational Meet, swimmers must participate in 3 previous dual meets. All score sheets shall be signed by the scorers involved and should be available at the Invitational Meet to verify the eligibility of swimmers. [2016]
    2. The invitational will not contain 6 & under events. [2016]
    3. Teams will be limited to two swimmers per team for each event, with the exception of the 8 & under and 9-10 freestyle events where each team may select up to four swimmers per event. Only two swimmers for each team may score in these events. [2016] 
    4. Teams may field as many as two relay squads for each relay event, though only one squad is eligible to score in each event. [2016]

    1. For a GGSL record to be established, the following criteria need to be met:
      1. The lane in which the record time is achieved must have at least three timers present prior to the event.
      2. If one or more watches fail during the swim, all efforts should be made to use the watch of the head timer.
      3. The following criteria regarding the swimmer's time shall be met:
        1. When three times are obtained, the middle of the three time is selected and qualifies it for a league record.
        2. When only two times are available, the time is the average of the two times and that average time qualifies for a league record.
        3. When only one time is obtained, it will count for the meet scoring, but cannot qualify for a league record.


    APPENDIX A - Dual Meet Order of Events

    Event # Gender Age Distance
    Stroke Gender Event #
    1 Boys Open Age 200 Medley Relay Girls 2
    3 Boys 8 and Under 25 Freestyle Girls 4
    5 Boys 9 - 10 25 Freestyle Girls 6
    7 Boys 11 - 12 50 Freestyle Girls 8
    9 Boys 13 - 14 50 Freestyle Girls 10
    11 Boys 15 - 18 50 Freestyle Girls 12
    51 Mixed 6 and Under 25 Kickboard (Exhibition)
    13 Boys 8 and Under 25 Backstroke Girls 14
    15 Boys 9 - 10 25 Backstroke Girls 16
    17 Boys 11 - 12 50 Backstroke Girls 18
    19 Boys 13 - 14 50 Backstroke Girls 20
    21 Boys 15 - 18 50 Backstroke Girls 22
    52 Mixed 6 and Under 25 Freestyle (Exhibition)
    23 Boys 12 and Under 100 Individual Medley Girls 24
    25 Boys 13 - 14 100 Individual Medley Girls 26
    27 Boys 15 - 18 100 Individual Medley Girls 28
    29 Boys 8 and Under 25 Breaststroke Girls 30
    31 Boys 9 - 10 25 Breaststroke Girls 32
    33 Boys 11 - 12 50 Breaststroke Girls 34
    35 Boys 13 - 14 50 Breaststroke Girls 36
    37 Boys 15 - 18 50 Breaststroke Girls 38
    39 Boys 8 and Under 25 Butterfly Girls 40
    41 Boys 9 - 10 25 Butterfly Girls 42
    43 Boys 11 - 12 25 Butterfly Girls 44
    45 Boys 13 - 14 50 Butterfly Girls 46
    47 Boys 15 - 18 50 Butterfly Girls 48
    49 Boys Graduated 150 Freestyle Relay Girls 50


    APPENDIX B - Relay Carnival Order of Events

    Event # Gender Age Distance
    E1 Mixed 6 and Under 100 Kickboard Relay
    1 Boys Graduated 150 Freestyle Relay
    2 Girls Graduated 150 Freestyle Relay
    3 Mixed 15 - 18 200 Freestyle Relay
    4 Mixed 13 - 14 200 Freestyle Relay
    5 Mixed 11 - 12 200 Freestyle Relay
    6 Mixed 9 - 10 100 Freestyle Relay
    7 Mixed 8 and Under 100 Freestyle Relay
    8 Boys Graduated 150 Breaststroke Relay
    9 Girls Graduated 150 Breaststroke Relay
    10 Mixed 8 and Under 100 Back-Free-Back-Free Relay
    E2 Mixed Adult 100 Medley Relay
    E3 Mixed 6 and Under 100 Freestyle Relay
    E4 Mixed Adult 100 Freestyle Relay
    11 Boys Open Age 200 Medley Relay
    12 Girls Open Age 200 Medley Relay
    13 Mixed 8 and Under 100 Breast-Free-Breast-Free Relay
    14 Boys 9 - 10 100 Medley Relay
    15 Girls 9 - 10 100 Medley Relay
    16 Boys 11 - 12 100 Medley Relay
    17 Girls 11 - 12 100 Medley Relay
    18 Boys 13 - 14 100 Medley Relay
    19 Girls 13 - 14 100 Medley Relay
    20 Boys 15 - 18 100 Medley Relay
    21 Girls 15 - 18 100 Medley Relay