IMX…..Intermodal Marketing Extension? Interactive Music Exchange? Icelandic Music Export? No. I M Experienced? Closer, but no. IMX stands for Individual Medley Extreme. The IMX Challenge is USA Swimming’s version of the Iron Man, where swimmers who have completed intermediate to longer distance events in all strokes and the IM and compiled an aggregate Power Points score above a certain minimum, are allowed to attend the regional IMX Challenge meets, held annually.
The events that are swum depend on the age of the swimmer as follows:
9 & Under; 10-year olds: 200 Free, 100 Back, 100 Breast, 100 Fly, 200 IM
11-year olds; 12-year olds: 400 Free (LC) or 500 Free (SC), 100 Back, 100 Breast, 100 Fly, 200 IM
13, 14, 15, 16, 17, & 18-year olds: 400 Free (LC) or 500 Free (SC), 200 Back, 200 Breast, 200 Fly, 200 IM, 400 IM
(*LC, for those new to the party, is Long Course, 50m pool swims which occur between March and August and at all the big stage events)
You must have logged a legal swim time in ALL the IM Extreme events in the current season in order to qualify, no matter whether you have met the threshold of Power Points to qualify in the remainder of the events or not.
So what exactly are these Power points I speak of? Power Points are awarded by a specific formula for each event you swim (even the non-IMX events), and are also a great way to determine how well you are doing between one stroke and another. You can find out how many power points you have accumulated for a specific swim (even if you are not a USA Swimming member, which is kind of cool) by four ways (that I am aware of):
1. You can use a calculator available online at USA Swimming to determine the points.
2. You can look at your recorded swims on the USA Swimming Deck Pass App, which will have all the Power Points listed in the vicinity of their time below whatever National Age Group Motivational Time they achieved for that race (‘B’, ‘AAA’, ‘Slower than B’, etc).
3. Your coach or someone else finds it out for you and tells you.
4. You were kidnapped by aliens as a child, and when they explored your brain, they made improvements that allow you to instantly calculate a Power Points score simply by looking at a swim time (I mean, you don’t even have to know the event!! Creepy, right?). Or you could just be a math savant. That would work, too.
The IMX cutoff scores to attend the Regional IMX Challenge meets are 1500 Power Points, except in the Northeast Region, where the scores are 1800 (because they are better than the rest of you, sorry, Nancy).
Here are some more of the fine print details of who can enter, what scores can be counted, etc:
- For the current IMX Challenge dates (2014-2015 competition period), all times swum after Sep 1, 2014 count towards the score.
- If you achieve the score in the qualifying period (the above date through the entry deadline for the meet, which has unfortunately passed this year for all but the Southern and Northeast Regions, see you next fall, Southeast, Northern Midwest and Western regions!) and you age up, you can still swim the event in the upper age group (in their events obviously). For example, a 12 yr. old who achieves the minimum score as a 12 yr. old but ages up to 13 prior to the start of the meet will be eligible to enter the meet and compete as a 13 yr. old (even if he/she has not completed all the 13-14 events)
- A swimmer must complete all of the events in the same course (SCY or LCM) to have a legal IMX score for entry, so if you entering the event as an 11 year old with your 500 Yard Free time, you must have achieved IMX times totaling the cutoff for all the remaining events in Short Course Yards as well, no mix and match, this isn’t a flea market.
If you scan your times on Deck Pass for an event not listed above, their is still a Power Points value attached. This is for you to evaluate your stroke strength relative to other strokes, and they are also used for another program call the IM Ready program. IM Ready is exactly the same as IMX, except that shorter distance events are used for the most part. This is mainly just a measuring stick for younger swimmers or those entering the sport for the first time as they work toward getting IMX qualifying events under their belt. They will not get you into the IMX meet, even if you had a hundred bazillion power points (which technically would only be possible if you swam three times the speed of light, and if that were the case, you’d be whisked off to a lab where they would seek to harness this great power of yours into the world’s first Warp Drive).
The Northern Midwest Region, however, does run an IM Ready meet alongside the IMX meet, and this year it had no minimum point requirement. Looks like it would be a great travel meet, unless 8 feet of snow has already fallen on the ground in Pleasant Prairie, WI by early November, in which case, maybe not so fun.
One last quirk in the program is that the IMX Challenge meets are open to all swimmers aged 18 & under, EXCEPT in the Northeast region, where there is no IMX for ages 15-18, or the meet would last longer than Lent.
Probably the coolest thing about the program, aside from actually qualifying and going to it, is that anyone can look up their current IMX score and see how well they stack up in their club, in the Local Swim Committee (LSC), or even Nationally. And you can see all the swimmers in all the categories listed online at the USA Swimming site as well, which is fun to browse.
I hope this article has been helpful in illuminating and simplifying (as much as it could be), the IMX Challenge Meet and Qualifying Process. So get out there and get Extreme, swimming phenom!!
MAY THE TIMECLOCK BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOR
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