Monday, April 24, 2017



The rules for GSS have been deliberately designed to offer simple and well defined standards that allow individual races to continue to operate independently, while also simultaneously providing a field of standardized competition across the globe.


1)  The key guiding principle is that each race or event is independent and will be in charge of their own specific rules for their own race(s).  Our goal isn’t to standardize races, rules or distances and have races lose their local flavor, that is what makes each race different, interesting and exciting.  However, we do have some overriding standards that are common among all the races and are used to derive the points, ranking system and season’s Global Champions.

2)  Categories: All races must have offer results in following 4 categories for which the Global Swim Series recognizes champions.  The categories are:

  • Men’s Non-Wetsuit (also known as “Naked” or “Skins” in some races)
  • Women’s Non-Wetsuit (also known as “Naked” or “Skins”in some races)
  • Men’s Wetsuit
  • Women’s Wetsuit

*GSS defines “Non-Wetsuit”, “Naked” or “Skins” are defined as legal FINA-style, open water textile swimsuits.

3)  All races must track the swimmers ages as of “the next April 30” (as this is the end of the GSS season), so that a swimmer is in the same age group for the whole year.

4)  Global Rankings will be calculated by 10 year age groups and within each Category.  The following are the official GSS age groups:

  • 19 & Under
  • 20-29
  • 30-39
  • 40-49
  • 50-59
  • 60-69
  • 70-79
  • 80 & Over

5) Winners – as well as having individual age group recognition for each of the 4 categories (Male Wetsuit, Female Wetsuit, Male Non-Wetsuit, Female Non-Wetsuit), there will be 3 types of major champions:

  1. The 4 winners of the Global Swim Series.  (based on the Global Ranking, as described below)
  2. The 4 winners of each Regional Championship Race for each distance. (based solely on time at that race)
  3. The 4 winners of the Global Championship Race for each distance.  (based solely on the time at that race)


The Global Swim Series Ranks swimmers off total accumulated point scores they get during the season.  After the completion of the last race of the season the top swimmer in each of the 4 Categories will be crowned Global Champion.  The top age group swimmers will also be recognized.

1) Individual Race Point Scores are calculated as follows:

  • Maximum possible points per race: 100
  • Every competitor will receive 50 points for participating.  This allows slower swimmers to rank higher in the overall Series if they do more races than faster swimmers that don’t do as many races.  Life is a participation sport!
  • Every person will also receive a portion of the next 50 points based on their percentile ranking in the race. So if you place first you will get up to 50 points to add to your 50 participation points based on the number of other competitors, usually amounting to around 99 points for a race win (eg. 50 participation points + 49.9 placing percentile points = 99.9 points for the race).  Given that it is a percentile, you can’t get exactly 100, but the larger the race, the closer your points are to 100, if you win.

2) Points in the series are added up throughout the season with all the GSS races you do around the globe counting towards your total score.

3)  You can NOT combine the points from different races if you swam one race in a “Wetsuit” and another “Non-Wetsuit”.  You would simply have 2 separate rankings, one in “Wetsuit” and one in “Non-Wetsuit”.

NOTE: the only exception to this rule is that if the race OFFICIALLY doesn’t offer your category then you can swim in whichever category is offered.  For example: if it is a cold swim and all swimmers are required to wear wetsuits then a non-wetsuit swimmer could still swim and have points counted.  The opposite is true too, if the water is too warm and wetsuits are not allowed, then a wetsuit swimmer may swim non-wetsuit and still have the points count towards their ranking.  GSS reserves the right to modify categories based on temperature.

4)  If a swimmer was able to swim in more than one race at the same event on the same day, only one race would be included in the GSS rankings.  So for example if an event offered a 1km, a 3km and 5km race on the same day and a swimmer competed in more than one of those events only one of those scores would count towards the series.  We would select the race in which the swimmer achieved the most points.

5)  Some races and swimmers do not count towards the Series (ie. Kid’s Splash and Dash, swimmers using fins, snorkels and other aids, etc.  Ask the local Race Director if unsure).  Typically races less than 1 km are not eligible to collect points, nor are relays.

6)  Swimmers who DNF (did not finish) do not get any points in the Series.

7)  The GSS season runs from May 1 to April 30 the following year. 

8)  Each race sends GSS their results, which we then formulate into GSS points and post on our website.  If there is an issue with the points or placing of your swim, please contact the specific race director and discuss the issue, do not contact GSS.  The race director will then need to resubmit the corrected results to GSS.  Except in exceptional circumstances, all results are final after 1 month, as it is not fair to other swimmers to change results if they aren’t discovered within that time frame.  Only if there are specific GSS ranking related issues should you contact GSS.

9) The GSS wants to grow and add races to the series, therefore races can be added during the season.  This may effect some swimmers race schedule and plans, therefore all races must be officially registered on the website at least 1 month prior to the race.


It is important to remember that GSS sets the rules for scoring results across the member races but the individual rules with regards to event safety, organization, timing, placing, etc. can often vary widely from race to race and are the responsibility of the individual race.  Please review the rules of the specific GSS race you are competing in or consult the race director should you have any questions.  GSS has no legal relationship or ownership holding in most GSS member race, each race is independently owned and operated.  Each race signs a waiver of liability with the GSS and each race is solely and legally responsible for their own race.

Remember: obey all the rules, be safe… and have fun!