What we don’t know that you don’t know.

Sept. 1 has come and gone. That is ALWAYS the deadline for the qualifying competition season in US Figure Skating. Every year I attempt to help moms who have not done this before. Here are some of the questions that you should know the answer to before you get to the finish line in Skating.

What is a qualifying competition?

In USFS lingo; a qualifying competition is one in which people attempt to get to Nationals. Single skaters currently start this path at Regionals. Pairs and Dance start at Sectionals (because there are not as many of them – so we just skip that first step).

What levels are Qualifying levels?

Juvenile. Intermediate. Novice. Junior. Senior.

NOTE: Open Juvenile is NOT a qualifying level.

What level is my skater?

Well, you can login to your skater’s Member’s Only account on the USFS Web site and find out. It is the highest Free Skate (not Moves) test they have passed. In the past, skaters at Skate SWP could skate one level up from their highest test level. That was not true this year, or a few years ago. Since this is a club competition – it is up to the Club hosting the event to decide this. So – read the announcement!!! Also this coming year – a Juvenile skater who is over 13 must do open Juvenile. (It used to be 13, they moved if briefly to 14, but now decided that was not a good plan and moved it back).

What is the difference between qualifying and non qualifying?

As you may have guessed – Non qualifying levels are just competing at the competition that happens close to regionals for “fun”. They will not go on to Sectionals. They will get a medal (if they place) like they do at all the club competitions. The competition is run by the club – not US Figure Skating. It is NOT Regionals. It is, technically: “The non-qulifying competition that happens at Regionals”. But that is a mouthful. The one in our Region is called Skate SWP. Our qualifying competition here is SWP (SouthWest Pacific) Regionals.

Older skaters, their parents and coaches may take umbrage at you calling yourself a “Regional Champion” if you win a medal at Skate SWP. You should call yourself the “Skate SWP” champion or medalist. And be very proud of that. And, while we know your moms’ are justifyably proud of you for your accomplishments – they should also refrain from calling you the Regional Champion. So – watch mom’s social media and do your best eye roll at her if she makes this mistake. I am sure ALL the coaches know better than to do this. They would never be invited to play in any Reindeer games if they did this sort of thing.

We do qualifying rounds at every competition; it that the same?

Placing well in the QR at the club competitions qualifies you to skate in the final round at that competition. But it does not make you a Qualifying level skater; or mean that you have skated at a qualifying competition. The word is being used generically there – it is not the “official” use of the word.


I hope this sorts out this particular thorny issue.



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