Swimming Governing Bodies


As with other widespread competitive sports, water athletics requires guidance for swim coaches and athletes worldwide. Swimming governing bodies oversee team swim, diving, open water swimming, synchronized swimming, water polo, and other aquatic sports in the US and internationally. The aim of this segment is to identify and define a few of the current governing bodies for swimming, as well as organizations that provide educational and training resources to coaches, athletes, and the public.

Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) - Recognized by the International Olympic Committee as being the central governing body for aquatic sports competitions the world over. Founded in London by nine European federations on July 19, 1908, FINA is headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland. The organization administers to, and oversees a number of international water sporting events, and adopted a uniform set of rules and regulations.

World Swimming Coaches Association (WSCA) - An international body of professional swim coaches who, in association with the FINA Coaches Commission, provides support and resources for coaches the world over through its leadership and organizing of coaching clinics and seminars.

USA Swimming - Governing body at the highest national level, originally known as USS (United States Swimming). Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Swimming selects the US Olympic Swimming team, and other teams representing the US internationally. The organization administers national competition swim events according to the Amateur Sports Act of 1978. This law empowered the sport of swimming to establish its own national governing body apart the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), which ran amateur sports in the US since 1888. Besides governing, USA Swimming provides services and programs for members, supporters, and the public.

American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA) - a professional service and mentoring program for swimming coaches nationwide. The organization provides instructional resources and programs to strengthen and improve team swim coaching in the US.

Swim America - A national swimming education program under the ASCA, comprised of more than 500 swim directors nationwide. Swim America works in cooperation with the USA Olympic Swimming Team.

U.S. Masters Swimming - A volunteer organization headquartered in Sarasota, Florida. It is comprised of passionate veteran swimmers and includes a Board of Directors, national committees, and national staff.


You have been given an overview of the national and international swimming governing bodies. Though FINA is the overall highest governing body for competitive water sports worldwide, the federations and local organizations have much to offer in the way of lessons, resources, and even swim clubs. For more information, or to find a swim club near you, contact your local recreation facilities.

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