Avoid “random acts of capitalization.” The trend in modern writing is to avoid capitalization unless absolutely necessary.
Always capitalize proper names (Janet Evans, Mark Spitz, Tracy, Michael). The following are considered proper names for the purposes of USMS and are always capitalized:
- Board of Directors
- names of standing committees (Rules Committee, for example)
- World Wide Web, Web
The following are not capitalized:
- email (also note the lack of a hyphen—this is an exception to AP style)
- webmaster, website
- freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, individual medley
Titles of books, movies, plays, etc.
Capitalize the principal words, including prepositions and conjunctions of four or more letters:
- Gone With the Wind
- It’s Not About the Bike
Capitalize convention as part of the formal name of a meeting (U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention); otherwise, lowercase (I attended the convention).
Titles of people
Only capitalize titles if they come before a person’s name:
- The president appoints committee chairs.
- The meeting was called to order by President Jim Miller.
Lowercase compass directions (north, south, northwest, etc.), but capitalize when they designate regions:
- Indianapolis is northwest of Lexington.
- Water polo is popular on the West Coast.
- Southerners eat more fried foods than Northerners.
- The climate is wet in the Northwest.
Lowercase earth unless it’s used as the proper name of the planet:
- Where on earth did you go?
- Someday astronauts will travel from Earth to Mars.
Do not capitalize spring, summer, fall, autumn or winter unless part of a formal name:
- The NCAA considers swimming a winter sport.
- The next Summer Olympics will be held in Beijing.
Capitalize terms such as river, county and valley if part of a formal geographic name:
- Mississippi River
- Red River Valley
- Fayette County
Also capitalize plurals (this is an exception to AP style):
- The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers
- Fayette and Jessamine Counties