Saturday, April 2, 2011

What are FINA Points?

The question has come up quite a bit lately (likely because I referenced them in my post about HHBF recognition) about FINA points and what they are. Actually the most common question about them I have answered in March was "How can I get some FINA points?".

FINA Points are accumulated for EVERY event as long as the event was done in a sanctioned meet (although they are technically attached to time, not to a sanction).

The FINA Point Scoring allows comparisons of results among different events. The FINA Point Scoring assigns point values to swimming performances, more points for world class performances typically 1000 or more and fewer points for slower performances (Canadian Senior National Times typically hover around 700pts).

Point values are assigned every year. The charts have one set of points for Short Course and another for Long Course. The scoring is named by the year after which the base times were defined, e.g. "FINA Point Scoring 2009".

The points are calculated using a cubic curve. With the swim time (T) and the base time (B) in seconds the points (P) are calcualated with the following formula:

P = 1000 * ( B / T )3

The exact formula is used to calculate points from times. Then all point values are rounded to the next integer number using normal rounding (932.499… -> 932, 932.50… -> 933).

If the needed time (T) for a certain number of points (P) should be calculated, the exact formula is used to calculate a first estimation. Then the time should be reduced by one hundredth of a second as long as the reverse calculation with the time still results in the original number of points.

Base times for 1000 points
The base times are define for all common individual events and relays, separated for men / women and long course / short course.

The base times are recalculated every year, based on the average of the top ten of the All Time World Rankings. For short course (SCM) the base times are defined with the cut of date of June 30th. For long course (LCM) the base times are defined at the end of the year (December 31st).
For "FINA Point Scoring 2009" this means for example: Short course times until "30 Jun 2009", long course times until "31 Dec 2009".

The base times are published on the FINA website within one month after the end of the relevant period.

There are several ways to check you FINA scores:
- has a good automatic calculator you can play with:

-'s swimming database can provide you with all of the detail you need:
Simply find yourself. Then on your page, on the left hand side of the screen, choose the FINA points you are after based on year.

A lot of camps choose based on the combination of points from several events. For fun, figure out what your combined total is for any 2 200 events and 400IM added together.