The Global Swim Series season runs from May 1st to April 30th the following year


1) One of 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) Divisions: The Global Swim Series recognizes champions in the following 4 divisions:

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” as legal "FINA-style", open water textile swimsuits.

Races must offer results in these divisions if they allow swimmers to swim both with and without a wetsuit. Due to local race conditions some races may be wetsuit mandatory or have wetsuits not allowed. (see "Scoring", rule #3 with regards to scoring issues).

3) All races must track swimmers ages as of the next April 30 (the end of the GSS season), so that a swimmer remains in the same age group throughout the season.

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:

- The 4 winners of the Global Swim Series. (based on the Global Ranking, as described below. These swimmers are the “GSS Global Champions” and have their name on the trophy.)
- The winners of each GSS Regional Championship Race for each distance. (based solely on time at the race)
- The winners of the GSS Global Championship Race for each distance. (based solely on the time at the race)

Distance Points

Designed to reward those of our swimmers who accomplish one of the several marathon swims on the GSS schedule.

The way it works is simple, for a GSS race that is over 10km long, each swimmer will gain 10 bonus "distance points" for each kilometer over 10km. So for any swim 10km and under you get 0 distance points, but for a 20km swim you would earn an extra 100 points (20-10=10km x10points = 100points).

So for example say you compete in the 3.8km LOST Race and win, you could get something like: 50 participation points + 49.5 percentile points = 99.5 points. If you were to complete the 25km Rottnest Port to Pub swim and win you might get something like: 50 participation points + 48 percentile points + 150 distance points = 248 points.

This rule change is designed to reward swimmers who compete in the ultra-long GSS races. Many of these races have a much smaller field and therefore someone coming 5th completing a 20km swim might get the same amount of points as someone coming 200th in a 1km swim. We designed this change to even the playing field a little for our long distance swimmers. While 250 points (for a 25km) might seem like a lot for a single race keep in mind that the swimmer is still only getting 150 points more than a swimmer doing a 1km swim despite swimming 25x the distance.

Distance bonus points are rounded to the nearest km.


New starting for the 2018/19 Season: Relays will be eligible for GSS points that go towards your Global Ranking!

Previously only individual events were counted, but now all relay events will also accumulate GSS points, with the points divided equally among the swimmers. So for example: a 2-person, 8km relay, scoring 88 points would earn each swimmer 44 points. Relays are also eligible for distance bonus points, for example: a 4-person, 25km relay, scoring 240 points (including distance points) will earn each swimmer 60 points.


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 races. 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, stay safe and have fun!