Frequently Asked Questions about the
USA Swimming Unique ID Number


USA Swimming undertook a major effort to develop a new identifier (ID number) for its members in the 1999 Membership Year.  Every member of USA Swimming will have a unique ID number that will rarely, if ever, change.   This number will be issued to athlete and non-athlete members.

The new ID number will be easy for you to remember: your date of birth (mmddyy), the first three letters of your legal first name, the first letter of your middle name, and the first four letters of your last name.  If your first or last names don't have enough letters (or you don't have a middle name or middle initial), an * (asterisk) will be used to fill in the blanks.  Here are some examples:

Name Birth date Unique ID Number
Rose August Buchman born 05/16/78 051678ROSABUCH
Thomas O'Neal born 09/12/65 091265THO*ONEA
Ty H Ng born 04/05/80 040580TY*HNG**

If Rose prefers to be called "Sissy"; the new registration procedure will now accommodate her.  Her membership card will be issued with her preferred name printed on it.  She will be entered in meets as she is registered, with her full legal name and her preferred name of Sissy Buchman will print on the meet reports.  By the unique ID number, USA Swimming will always know who Sissy really is (Rose August Buchman, born 05/16/78.)  If, as Sissy ages and matures, she decides to not use her preferred name and begins using Rose, her swimming history will always remain with her.  This is very important.

Once assigned, your ID number should never change.  What is crucial is that, once assigned, your ID is unique across the entire USA Swimming membership.  No matter where an athlete goes, the ID number will always identify who they are.

It is crucial that everyone realize the importance of providing complete and accurate information on the registration form for your new unique ID number.  It is also very important that you remember your new ID number and always include it on forms when asked to do so.

Commonly asked questions are:

Q: What happens if there is a duplicate number?

A:
When a duplicate occurs, which should be rarely, the USA Swimming computer will know and USA Swimming National Headquarters staff will change the number of the second individual.  If this happens to you, the LSC Registration Chair will generate a new membership card as well as notify the athlete's swim club. Example ;

Name Birth date Unique ID Number
Samantha Juliet Smith born 05/16/95 051695SAMJSMIT
Samuel James Smith born 05/16/95 251695SAMJSMIT

Q: Why is this formula being used?

A: USA Swimming considered assigning a random number.  The feedback received was overwhelming that the number needed to be something kids and parents could remember easily.  Those individuals who were speaking from a meet management perspective thought that including the birth date was critical.  Social Security Numbers were ruled out due to privacy act requirements.

Q: How will USA Swimming benefit?

A:
It is critical to the growth of our sport that USA Swimming monitor the progress of every member.  This is in effort to improve athlete retention, follow athlete development, and enhance our ability to secure sponsors.  USA Swimming will improve its focus and its capacity to evaluate USA Swimming programs and their costs.

Q: How will clubs and coaches benefit?

A:
The new data collection system will enable USA Swimming to strengthen every club's efforts to recruit, retain, and develop athletes, and to secure local sponsors.

Q: How will athletes benefit?

A:
USA Swimming athletes will experience improved programs and a higher level of coaching.  USA Swimming will be able to identify trends in how an athlete develops.   This information can be educational and motivational to our members.  For instance, it might be reassuring for a 9-year-old boy to see that he is actually in the norm even though he is far from achieving a national Top 16 reportable time.  Once we have the data, it might really help this young athlete to see that even some Olympians were in his same situation at his age.  We will be able to provide our coaches with information that will help with the development of their swimmers.  Clubs and Local Swimming Committees will be able to maintain their own statistics to show trends and changes.

Q: Why do non-athlete members need an ID number?

A:
For many of the same reasons that athletes do.  We want to be able to know how long our coaches and officials have been involved with USA Swimming.  This will help us get a grasp of retention.  Our current system says that we have nearly 3,000 new coaches each year, but we have no way of knowing if this number is accurate because of coaches who have sat out a year or more, or those who have married and changed names.  This becomes especially important in the next year or two as we need to validate the "new" member coaches fulfilling their coaches' education requirement.

Q: Won't this mean more work for clubs?

A:
USA Swimming is trying to anticipate and solve problems that may arise for clubs and Local Swimming Committees because of this change.  Software vendors have updated their team and meet management programs to incorporate the changes.  Use of these applications should simplify both registrations and meet entries.

Q: What do I need to do?

A:
Everyone accurately and completely fill out your registration form and sign it.  It will be easier for all if it is right the first time.  Also, please remember to let your club and LSC Registration Chair know when you have a name or address change.

Other Questions about the new ID number:

Q: Athlete A joins one year, does not

re-register the next year, then joins again the following year.

A: The USA Swimming computer program will alert National Headquarters to the fact that this is a duplicate ID number.Q: What criteria do we use to determine if Athlete A is truly the same athlete?

A: USA Swimming will use the state field on the form.  If the state is the same, National Headquarters will assume this is the same athlete and link him/her with Athlete A.

Q: There could be 3 or 4 John Smiths in a large state like Texas with the same DOB. The state criteria will not work in this case because there would be more than one John Smith in the database to link. How do we handle this?

A: USA Swimming will flag the athlete in question and ask the LSC Registration Chair to advise. The LSC Registration Chair will determine if the athlete is a new registration, or if the entry may be linked to an existing record.

Q: What is the protocol for changing a duplicate number?

A: The LSC Registration Chair will submit all records based on the applications received.  Duplicate ID numbers will be captured and flagged by the computer at USA Swimming National Headquarters.  The duplicate ID will be changed at USA Swimming National Headquarters.  When duplicates exist on the same date of birth, a sequential number will be substituted for the middle initial.  (If we have four John J. Smiths, we will have JOHJSMIT, JOH1SMIT, JOH2SMIT, and J0H3SMlT.)  USA Swimming will notify the LSC Registration Chair of a duplicate number on one of the records and that the ID number has been changed.  The LSC Registration Chair will then be given the code to change the record and will then issue a new membership card as well as notify the club.

Q: What happens if non-athlete refuse to fill in any part of the date of birth field?

A: You should be aware that the DOB field will default to 010120 if a DOB is not submitted.  Currently, only 14% of our non-athlete members are leaving the DOB field blank. There will be more duplicates if 010120 is used too often.  We strongly encourage you to answer the DOB field with the correct date of birth.  If someone absolutely refuses then they will be awarded 010120 in the DOB field automatically.

Changing the unique ID number:USA Swimming wants to make it difficult to change an ID number once it has been issued. This will ensure that there are no inadvertent duplicate or erroneously generated unique ID numbers which could possibly corrupt the USA Swimming master database.

LSC Registration Chairs are not be able to change an ID number in the software program after the registration has been sent to National Headquarters. All changes will be made at USA Swimming National Headquarters.

Reasons for a change would be:

(1) name change due to adoption or marriage
(2) to correct misinformation on the registration form
(3) middle
name or middle initial has been added

Q: What happens when someone wants to change his/her number?

A: If you need to change an ID number,

contact the LSC Registration Chair and inform him or her of the circumstance surrounding the need for the change. Once the LSC Registration Chair has performed the change through USA Swimming National Headquarters, you will be issued a new membership card and notified of the change.

If you have additional concerns or questions about the new unique I.D. number, please contact Vicky Ward, South Texas Swimming Registration & Membership Chair.