PHOENIX, Ariz. August 4. BOB Gillett, President of the NCSA (National Club Swimming Association) announced that over 600 swimmers from 140 teams from across the USA will be completing next week in the 2004 NCSA Junior National Swimming Championships.
The Jr. Nationals will be held at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, August 9-13. The meet immediately follows the USA National Championships, which are being held this week at the same Stanford facility.
Gillett, coach of the Arizona Desert Fox (AFOX) at his Arizona Sports Ranch, said, “We are extremely pleased with the prospects of an exciting and fun Jr. Nationals for all of our 18 and under swimmers. It will be the selection meet for our NCSA All-Star Team. As we did last year, we plan to travel this All-Star Team to a competition this next season.”
The team will be selected much like all USA teams are selected. The target size for the team is 26 girls and 26 boys, and 8 coaches. The NCSA has revived Junior Nationals after USA Swimming dropped it from their program of events at the beginning of the decade. Many coaches feel that the goal direction and motivation of Jr. Nationals is a very important part of this country’s developmental process.
The NCSA feels that a meet of “consequence” is the key to a prestigious meet for the club swimmers that are 18 and under. Gillett said, “The All-Star Team selections and it’s travel meet are the key to the future of this event. We, the club coaches, need this event for our elite training programs for high school aged swimmers.”
USA Swimming is scheduled to take over the running of the Long Course Summer Junior Nationals in 2005. However, it appears that the NCSA will continue to run a Short Course Spring Junior Nationals each year. Gillett said, “The Junior Nationals will continue to be a political bomb shell for the near future. We want the coaches who are participating in this meet to decide its future direction. USA Swimming has not yet stepped up to the reality that the club coaches are not going away on this issue. We want the coaches who have a “professional stake” in this issue to be in control. Nothing else is acceptable.”