Short and Long Course Meters to Yards Swim Conversion

Learn how you can calculate meters to yards swim conversion by using the latest NCAA conversion factors.

Thanks to two measuring systems, there are three types of competitive swimming pools—short course meters, long course meters, and short course yards. Different pool lengths creates uncertainty for swimmers regarding how fast they would have swam in another pool. Even if the United States ditched the imperial system for the metric system, swimmers would still need to convert their times between short course meters and long course meters.

Consequently, conversion factors allow swimmers to convert their times between short course meters, long course meters, and short course yards. It just takes a bit of math; but don’t worry, this post will guide you through the simple steps of converting your swimming times from one pool to another.

Short and long course meters to yards swim conversion

Every year, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) publishes conversion factors to convert meters to yards in swimming. In the sections below, you’ll find examples of how to convert swimming times between the following distances.

  • SCM to SCY – short course meters to short course yards
  • SCY to SCM – short course yards to short course meters
  • LCM to SCY – long course meters to short course yards
  • SCY to LCM – short course yards to long course meters
  • SCM to LCM – short course meters to long course meters
  • LCM to SCM – long course meters to short course meters

Short Course Meters to Yards Swim Conversion

When converting short course meters to short course yards and vice verse, use the appropriate conversion factor from the table below.

Short Course Meters to Yards Swim Conversion Factors

EventFactor
400 meters to 500 yards1.143
800 meters to 1,000 yards1.143
1,500 meters to 1,650 yards1.003
All other events0.896

While you multiply the time by the conversion factor to go from meters to yards, you divide the time by the conversion factor to go from yards to meters. Here are some examples below.

Convert SCM to SCY Example

To convert a time from a 25 meter pool to a 25 yard pool (SCM to SCY), multiply the time by the appropriate swimming conversion factor from the SCM table.

For example, Florent Manaudou swam the world’s fastest 50 freestyle in a short course meter pool with a time of 20.26 seconds. To convert from SCM to SCY, use the All other events conversion factor of 0.896.

Manaudou’s short course meter world record time for the 50 free equates to 18.15 seconds in a yards pool.

Convert SCY to SCM Example

To convert a time from a 25 yard pool to a 25 meter pool (SCY to SCM), divide the time by the appropriate swimming conversion factor from the SCM table.

For example, let’s say you swam the 500 yard freestyle in a short course yard pool in 4:53.46. To convert from SCY to SCM, use the 400 meters to 500 yards conversion factor of 1.143.

Therefore 4:53.46 for the 500 yard freestyle equates to 4:16.74 for the 400 meter freestyle in a short course meter pool.

Long Course Meters to Yards Swim Conversion

When converting long course meters to short course yards and vice verse, use the appropriate conversion factor from the table below.

Long Course Meters to Yards Swim Conversion Factors

EventMen'sWomen's
50 meter freestyle0.8600.871
100 meter freestyle0.8630.874
200 meter freestyle0.8650.874
400 meter freestyle1.1051.112
1500 meter freestyle0.9650.975
100 meter butterfly0.8680.877
200 meter butterfly0.8660.881
100 meter backstroke0.8350.853
200 meter backstroke0.8490.857
100 meter breaststroke0.8560.870
200 meter breaststroke0.8580.878
200 meter individual medley0.8570.867
400 meter individual medley0.8650.876
200 meter freestyle relay0.8600.871
400 meter freestyle relay0.8630.874
800 meter freestyle relay0.8670.874
200 meter medley relay0.8580.869
400 meter medley relay0.8560.868
800 meters to 1000 yards1.1051.120

While you multiply the time by the conversion factor to go from meters to yards, you divide the time by the conversion factor to go from yards to meters.

Convert LCM to SCY Example

To convert a time from a 50 meter pool to a 25 yard pool (LCM to SCY), multiply the time by the appropriate swimming conversion factor from the LCM table.

For example, Michael Phelps swam the world’s fastest 200 butterfly in a long course meter pool with a time of 1:51.51. To convert from LCM to SCY, use the Men’s 200 meter butterfly conversion factor of 0.866.

Phelps’s long course meter world record time for the 200 butterfly equates to 1:36.56 in a yards pool.

Convert SCY to LCM Example

To convert a time from a 25 yard pool to a 50 meter pool (SCY to LCM), divide the time by the appropriate swimming conversion factor from the LCM table.

For example, Katie Ledecky swam the 200 freestyle in 1:41.55 in a short course yard pool which is a USA high school national record. To convert from SCY to LCM, we use the Women’s 200 meter freestyle conversion factor of 0.874.

Ledecky’s high school record time for the 200 yard freestyle equates to 1:56.18 in a long course meter pool.

Short Course Meters to Long Course Meters Swim Conversion

Although the NCAA doesn’t specify how to convert long course meters to short course meters, the same swimming conversion factors can be used to accomplish this.

Convert SCM to LCM Example

To convert a time from a 25 meter pool to a 50 meter pool (SCM to LCM), first multiply the time by the appropriate SCM conversion factor, then divide by the appropriate LCM conversion factor.

For example, Ryan Lochte swam the world’s fastest 200 individual medley in a short course meter pool at the 2012 World Championships in Istanbul with a time of 1:49.63. To convert from SCM to LMC, use the All other events conversion factor of 0.896 and the Men’s 200 meter individual medley conversion factor of 0.857.

Lochte’s short course meter world record time for the 200 individual medley equates to 1:54.61 in long course meters. As a comparison, Lochte also holds the world record for the 200 IM in long course meters with a time of 1:54.00.

Convert LCM to SCM Example

To convert a time from a 50 meter pool to a 25 meter pool (LCM to SCM), first divide the time by the appropriate LCM conversion factor, then multiply by the appropriate SCM conversion factor.

For example, Paul Biedermann swam the world’s fastest 200 freestyle in a long course meter pool at the 2009 World Championships in Rome with a time of 1:42.00. To convert from LCM to SCM, use the Men’s 200 meter freestyle conversion factor of 0.865 and the All other events conversion factor of 0.896.

Biedermann’s long course meter world record time for the 200 freestyle equates to 1:38.47 in short course meters. As a comparison, Biedermann also holds the world record for the 200 freestyle in short course meters with a time of 1:39.37.


As a former NCAA Division I swimmer for Loyola University Maryland, I enjoy writing about competitive swimming. Check out some of my other swimming blog posts here, and let me know if you have any questions about short course and long course meters to yards swim conversion below.

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