BUSL Format

Each team will be placed into a local conference consisting of 4 teams. These teams will battle throughout the course of our Phase 1 and Phase 2 meets for qualification for our National Finals.

Local conferences = minimal travel times. This allows teams to compete on Wednesday afternoons, as is the norm for the rest of University sport. 

Whilst each insititution is only able to formally enter one team we encourage teams to make the most of the pool having swimmers swim on a time-only basis next to the BUSL 'point scoring' lanes. There are no squad rosters ensuring larger teams are able to rotate swimmers to ensure everyone can compete! There will be ample opportunity for a second and third 'non-point scoring' team to swim in both phases 1 and 2.

Phase 1  - Duel Meets

Inspired by our friends in the States the BUSL is proud to be championing duel meet swimming at university. The four teams within each conference compete in a round robin format over three matchdays throughout the first semester. 

Phase 1 matches have 50 and 100m events of all strokes including a 100m Individual Medley. Our matches begin with Men's and Women's 4x50 Medley Relay and end with a 4x50 Freestyle Relay.

The aim here is that teams use pre-existing training times to host fixtures and keep costs to a minimum – this is similar to how others sports sort fixtures, so there is no reason why swimming can’t follow suit!

Minimum Requirements for Hosting a Phase 1 Duel 

** No requirement for electronic timing or licensed officials - using experienced swimmers is fine!**

Phase 2 - Conference Championship Gala

Phase 2 takes place around January. Teams compete in a more classic type of gala which sees all four of the teams in each conference go head to head to secure their spots in the National Finals. 

Whilst this is a 4 team gala, we again encourage teams to make the most of pool space and it is common place for teams to enter non-point scoring teams which swim alongside the BUSL competition. In all we expect over 100 swimmers at each of our Phase 2 meets. 

To spice things up, Phase 2 sees a slightly modified program of events with the inclusion of a 200m Freestyle and an 8x50 cannon relay, a firm favourite with our teams. Midway through the event 4 swimmers face off in our skins events which with a vast number of points up for grabs makes for a great bit of racing!

By popular request - New for 2023/24 is the addition of a Mixed 4x50m Medley Relay!

By the end of the meet, a conference champion will be declared and automatically have a place in the National A Final in March and receive a formal invite at the end of the competiton window. Those who didn't place first in their championship will have a chance (by invite) to compete in our National B Final in March.

Phase 3 - National Finals

Date TBC

Phase 3, our National Finals are the pinacle of the year of swimming. We aim to have as many teams as possible at our Finals. All conference winners automatically qualify, then we invite the best second placed teams until capacity is reached. 

We are growing more and more each year, with 16 teams and 300 swimmers at Birmingham 2022 Finals, and a whopping 32 team roster and 600 swimmers in Leicester last year, thanks to the addition of a B Final.

The BUSL is centered on participation and providing the chance for over 600 swimmers swim in Phase 3 shows just how committed we are to this. Working once again with our partner, AP Race, who are experienced in the delivery of world class events we are incredibly excited to see what we can do this year!

Phase 3 again sees a changed up program of events with the inclusion of a 4x50 mixed medley relay. Our Skins are back and even better with both an A (fasted 8 teams ranked by 100 IM) and B final for men and women. 

If you need any more details about any of the Phases or any other details - please check out our 'National Conditions' document or contact us via email.