A key element of the Australia’s High Performance strategy is to identify our high-potential athletes and ensure they receive the right support at the right time on their pathway to the senior team and onto the podium.

The Athlete Categorisation Guidelines have been developed in conjunction with the AIS and Swimming Australia, with the aim:

  • Identify the athletes with the greatest potential to medal at a Senior Benchmark Competition
  • Inform the prioritisation of support to these athletes.

To inform the swimming specific nominations to the Athlete Categories, Swimming Australia (SA) has developed the SA Athlete Categorisation Nomination Guidelines 2020-2024. SA will review its categorisation nominations in September each year, after the annual domestic season and annual international benchmark events.

SA will use the outcome of the categorisation process to:

  • Nominate athletes to the AIS’s Athlete Categories;
  • Inform SA recommendations made to the National Institute Network (NIN) regarding the provision of support and scholarships as required, noting that not all Institutes utilise the Athlete Categories system;
    • Prioritise:
      • SA’s recommendations around the allocation of Commonwealth Government support through the dAIS scheme (direct athlete support) which is administered by the AIS; and
      • Swimming Australia Camps and Competition Investment for athletes and coaches.

The hierarchy of Athlete Categories will be used to inform (but may not determine) the prioritisation of the SA, AIS and NIN high performance resources. It is important to note that the provision of services from the AIS and NIN is subject to available resources and can vary in each state or territory. Being a categorised athlete does not automatically entitle an athlete to receive support from the AIS and/or NIN, and athletes within the same category may not receive the same level of support across Australia.

Categorisation Nomination Guidelines 2020 – 2024:

The SA Athlete Categorisation Nomination Guidelines 2020 – 24 apply to Olympic Pool, Olympic Open Water and Paralympic Swimmers who compete in an event on the Olympic or Paralympic Games program.

To be prioritised for support an athlete must demonstrate potential for future success. Past results alone are not the sole consideration.

The first requirement for a swimmer to be included in the Athlete Categories is achievement of the performance standards as outlined in the Guidelines.  When these athletes meet the required performance standards, they will be proposed for inclusion when the annual review of nominations occurs.

For 2024, performances at the 2024 Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Junior Pan Pacific Championships, Oceania Championships and World Junior Open Water Championships as well as their Selection Trials and Qualification Events will will be considered for Categorisation.

Second Year Category 4 Athletes

Under the Swimming Australia Categorisation Guidelines, athletes may be categorised as a Category 4 athlete for no more than two years. To remain categorised beyond the current year, an athlete will need to demonstrate a performance progression at the International Benchmark Event (e.g. Aus A or World University Games) or the Australian Trials (if no International Benchmark Meet is attended) that qualifies the athlete for Category 3 or above. The athlete categorisation review process is conducted in September each year, after the international racing season. The categorisation process can take into consideration key areas such as times swum at benchmark events, progression, technical and tactical ability, daily performance environment, coach input and athlete injury or illness factors.