PHOENIX, Arizona, September 27. WITH the announcement of the return of the short course national championship to USA Swimming's national calendar of events, SwimmingWorldMagazine.com caught up with National Team Head Coach and General Manager Mark Schubert. We wanted Schubert’s thoughts on the change, as well as his opinions on the short course national championship overall.
SWM.com: What was the reason for reinstating a short course championship?
We haven’t had a short course national championship at all for several years. It is really in the culture of our sport in the United States to swim short course. Looking at the reality of what was happening in the (Local Swimming Committees) around the country, everyone was competing short course. Very few LSCs were competing long course. I think short course is an important part of American swimming. A lot of our strength is technique in our starts and our turns. I think because high school swimming, college swimming and YMCA swimming is swum in a short course pool, there is a lot of focus on that distance. That is something we need to continue to do as a country.
SWM.com: Why was December, rather than March or April chosen as the time of the year to have a short course championship meet?
I thought it was important, if we were going to have two nationals, to give all of the best swimmers the opportunity to swim there. I didn’t feel that the meet in March gave that opportunity. The spring championships has been a lame duck championship where athletes either had to taper quite a few times beforehand after coming from NCAAs, or not attend the meet at all.
SWM.com: What thoughts do you have on the short course season?
My number one goal is to make the short course season shorter for those that can take advantage of that, and the long course season longer. Hopefully, for some athletes, it will give them the opportunity to shave only twice during the year. It is going to be interesting to see some of the performances at a meet when we have most of our best swimmers there. I think a lot of the colleges will participate. Probably more colleges will compete in it than the U.S. Open. It will be a lot of fun to match up the times of the best high school and professional swimmers against the NCAA Championships, and see what the comparison is between the events.