Swimming World Presents “A Voice For the Sport: Does USA Swimming Need to Revisit Its Selection Date For World Championships?”

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A Voice For the Sport:

Does USA Swimming Need to Revisit Its
Selection Date For World Championships?

By Brent Rutemiller

USA Swimming changed the date for selecting its World Championship team in the early ’90s to be a year in advance of the competition. That early selection date has not changed for the past two-and-a-half decades. The original intent for early selection was to allow swimmers to focus training for the World Championships for an entire year in advance.

When the early selection date schedule was first implemented, there were no professional swimmers, no professional series of meets, no prize money and no incentives for the athletes to taper or rest outside of the NCAA Championships. Athletes swam for medals and best times. Club and college swimmers had no reason to lose their focus on the World Championships.

According to Mark Schubert, all of that has changed and it is time to revisit that policy: “The theory was that everybody would work hard a year in advance in preparation for the Olympics. That just has not happened. People are now resting for the pro meets, international meets, and I don’t feel there was a sense of urgency for the World Championships this year.”

Two coaches on USA Swimming’s Steering Committee, who wanted to remain anonymous in order to not influence any future decision process, said that they really like not having a selection meet the year before the Olympics. The collective thought was that if the team was selected this year, they would have had to taper and rest this year, re-taper for the Championships, and then taper again for NCAAs in the spring of next year, and then again for the USA Trials and then again for the Olympics.

Both said they like having a year off in the quad where there wasn’t any pressure of a selection meet. They added that the “money meets” was not a deterrent to training.

When asked about the increase in “money meets” as a deterrent to training, David Salo pointed out that some athletes get in just as much yardage during competition as they do in training. “If you add in the warm-up, warm-down, multiple races in a day, prelims and finals, it all adds up to a lot of training. I think the increase in race frequency is actually an advantage now versus then,” said Salo.

Schubert remains concerned: “I just did not have a sense that there was that urgency for the World Championships this year. Those swimmers competed in some form of competition prior to the World Championships in which there were incentives to taper or rest in order to compete for prize money.

“I just think the whole concept of people working hard for an entire year before the Olympic year has been lost, and I think it showed at this year’s World Championships,” said Schubert.

Schubert still believes that a selection date that is closer to the actual championship meet gives the young athlete an opportunity to evolve quickly and helps the club coach to evolve alongside the athlete.

“We saw it with Katie Ledecky while in high school. We need to send a message to the club coaches that they can still do it, and that those club swimmers are still developing—like 17-year-old Regan Smith. They need to feel like they can do it before they get to college,” said Schubert.

Gregg Troy put it best when he said, “The results are not in as of yet. Let’s see how we do next year at the Olympics before we judge the benefits of an early selection.”

USA Swimming is a mix of high school, college and pro swimmers—all with different needs and expectations. Some are proven and some are untested. In any event, this topic will be revisited again after Tokyo 2020. v

Check out the September 2019 issue of Swimming World Magazine, available now!

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Swimming World Magazine September 2019 Issue

FEATURES

016 TEST RUN FOR TOKYO
by Craig Lord, John Lohn and David Rieder
With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo a year away, this summer’s World Championships, July 21-28, in Gwangju, South Korea was a global meet of watersheds, with pioneers refusing to yield to youth and youth seizing their day to overtake pioneers. It also served as confirmation that we live in a new age of longevity and strong dynasties.

18th FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS MINI-FEATURES:

018 CAELEB DRESSEL: ALWAYS STRIVING TO GET BETTER AND FASTER

020 ADAM PEATY: MAKING “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE” POSSIBLE

021 REGAN SMITH: SUDDENLY, AN OLYMPIC FAVORITE

022 KATIE LEDECKY: DESPITE ILLNESS, LEDECKY REMAINS CONFIDENT

024 DOPING: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY

026 RISING TO TOKYO

028 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS PHOTO GALLERY

030 EMERGING FROM THE SHADOWS
by David Rieder
The Carmel High School girls swimming team has won six national titles in the last nine years. But at the end of the 2018-19 season—and after finishing national runner-up the last two years—it was the Carmel boys who seized the spotlight as the best swimming team in the country.

033 SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE’S BOYS’ NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIPS MOCK HEAT SHEET
by Bob Klapthor

035 REPEAT CHAMPIONS
by Dan D’Addona
Coach Polly Linden’s Harpeth Hall (Tenn.) swimmers have dominated the last two Swimming World girls’ national high school championships, winning by 35 points last year and nearly 50 this year over Santa Margarita Catholic, 168 to 118.5.

038 SWIMMING WORLD MAGAZINE’S GIRLS’ NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIPS MOCK HEAT SHEET
by Bob Klapthor

042 MENTAL PREP: BEFORE THE BEEP WITH NATALIE COUGHLIN
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COACHING

010 LESSONS WITH THE LEGENDS: PHIL MORIARTY
by Michael J. Stott

014 SWIMMING TECHNIQUE CONCEPTS: RISK FACTORS FOR SHOULDER INJURY IN SWIMMING
by Rod Havriluk
The most common risk factors for shoulder problems are overuse, muscular imbalances and harmful technique. Fortunately, there are also options to minimize risk.

044 SPECIAL SETS: EARLY AGE GROUP TRAINING—GETTING STARTED
by Michael J. Stott
Megan Hughes, an Aquajets Swim Team lead age group coach, offers insight on what a youngster with some summer league success can expect when deciding to try a year-round program.

046 KNOWING THE BASICS OF AGE GROUP SWIMMING
by Michael J. Stott
Here’s everything parents need to know about age group swimming.

051 Q&A WITH COACH ALICIA KEMNITZ
by Michael J. Stott

052 HOW THEY TRAIN: JESSICA MACDONALD
by Michael J. Stott

TRAINING

013 DRYSIDE TRAINING: FALL STRENGTH—BUILDING A STRONG FOUNDATION
by J.R. Rosania

JUNIOR SWIMMER

049 GOLDMINDS: NEVER SAY NEVER
by Wayne Goldsmith
When success doesn’t come easily or early—relax! Success will come if you give everything you have to the achievement of your goals, and if you work tirelessly to be all you can be.

055 UP & COMERS: TRISTAN PRAGNELL
by Shoshanna Rutemiller

COLUMNS

008 A VOICE FOR THE SPORT

009 BEYOND THE YARDS

040 THE OFFICIAL WORD

041 MOMS AT MEETS

054 HASTY HIGH POINTERS

056 GUTTERTALK

057 PARTING SHOT

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