SwimSwam

Austin Psych Sheets Showed Elite Standards Swing Too Far the Other Way

The Austin Grand Prix psych sheets were released today, and if USA Swimming’s goal by ramping up standards were to limit the meets to a truly elite competition, then they got exactly what they wanted.

Full Psych Sheets here.

The entry lists for the 2013 edition of this meet, the first swum actively with the new prize money, are among the briefest you’ve ever seen for a USA Swimming meet. Out of 29 individual events, fewer than half (14) will be able to fill a full slate of A-B-C finals (meaning, 24 or more entries). There are two events (the women’s 200 breaststroke and the women’s 800 free) that won’t even see full A-finals.

When the new standards first came out, there were fans on both sides of the aisle. Some saw creating an elite atmosphere as a good thing that would help bolster the popularity of the sport; others thought that it was taking away valuable experience from the younger tier of the sport. I don’t think anybody wanted to see 7 swimmers entered in the women’s 200 breaststroker, however.

The list of those who are coming, however, is packed thick with elite swimmers. That includes names like Matt GreversEugene Godsoe, and Arkady Vyatchanin in the 100 backstroke – which should be the race of the meet given how well Godsoe has been swimming as of late.

Missy Franklin’s going to try out the 400 free, a sort of follow-up to the 500 yard free that she swam at her last high school meet, along with the 100 and 200 frees, the 100 and 200 backstrokes, plus the 200 IM.

There are quite a few Canadians coming down for the chance at prize money. That includes Olympic silver medalist Ryan Cochrane, though he’s not entered in the 1500 and will instead swim just the 200 and 400 freestyles plus the 200 backstroke. It’s sort-of too bad that he’s not taking on the metric mile, because with Chad La TouretteMichael KluehMichael McBroom, and Mads Glaesner that’s a really good field as well.

Chloe Sutton will be attending and taking on the middle-distance and distance freestyles. She’ll race against the likes of Kate ZieglerBarbara JardinAndreina PintoAshley Twichell, and Leah Stevens, among others, in what is probably the deepest specialty entered in this meet.

The men’s breaststrokes could be really good, led by American Olympian Clark Burckle. Glenn Snyders, a New Zealand Record holder, will be up for the event, as well another American Mike Alexandrov. Former Stanford Cardinal BJ Johnson, former Texas Longhorn Christian Schurr now representing Mexico, and open water Olympic champion Ous Mellouli will challenge for breaststroke medals as well. Mellouli’s schedule seems to have him focusing more on the IM’s, as he’s swimming the 200 breast, the 200 fly, and the 400 IM, but not a single freestyle event where all of his Olympic success has come from.

Teenage sensation Allie Szekely from Central Bucks in Pennsylvania is the headliner of the women’s breaststroke races.

In the men’s sprint freestyles, we’ll see the renewal of a rivalry, in a college facility, between USA Swimming’s new heartthrob Nathan Adrian and Texas’ Jimmy Feigen. The Longhorns will gang up on Adrian a little bit, as Garrett Weber-Gale and Ricky Berens will be entered (though interestingly no Dax Hill). Anthony ErvinConor Dwyer, and Canadians Tommy Gossland and Luke Peddie will also be there.

And it wouldn’t be a Grand Prix meet without Mr. Fan-friendly Ryan Lochte showing up to swim a few races and sign a few autographs. He’s swimming the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles, the 100 fly, the 100 breast, and the 200 IM. After getting beat in his last two major 200 backstrokes in a row (Short Course Worlds and the Olympics), it would seem as though Lochte is pushing himself even further toward the butterfly races where he’s come close to breaking into the world’s podium.

The swimming begins on Friday, January 18th, and will be live streamed here. Certain sessions will also be available live on Universal Sports.

Comments

  1. 0
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    What a powerhouse meet to start 2013 ! Wowwwwwwwwww
    So many great names for great races . Owesome

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    Ryan Lochte did a good choice to swim more butterfly events ! Good pick .

  3. peeterdeeter aka pa thug says:
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    Renewing the college rivalry between Adrian and Feigen is like saying next year we will be renewing the college rivalry between Alabama and Notre Dame. We don’t buy that stuff in the SFC

  4. The Grand Inquisitor says:
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    Hilarious – sanction sheet says top 32 swimmers from prelims advance to finals (format envisions 4 finals heats!) However, only ONE event has enough entries to completely fill 4 finals heats!

    If they are going to make standards substantially more restrictive, they need to think it through better. Worse than an A final with just seven swimmers, there is a chance that the women’s 400IM B final could have just one swimmer in it – bleh!

    Not advocating for this, but if this is the direction they want to go, go all the way: have just one A final – like the FINA grand prix format. Curious what these changes will do for “butts in seats.” My guess is fewer not more.

  5. Ben says:
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    kind of interesting… but 7 of the top 8 guys in the 1 free have a gold medal at the olympics…

  6. Swimma says:
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    I can give a perspective on this that I probably share with a lot of others. I’m 15 and consider myself pretty good and based on the times in place last year I could have swam the 200 fly and free and 400 free and a “bonus” event in 100 fly. A few now college age and older high school kids I train with told me this was a really good meet because of the combination of national team type people and high School/college age kids (along with Santa Clara which our group has also attended in the past). When my coach saw that the times had changed he told all the kids who qualified that we weren’t going because most of us couldn’t swim it now. I was pretty disappointed because I thought it would be a really valuable and cool experience that I miss out on now.

  7. No screwing around says:
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    While mixing it up with the pros is good for youngsters, it is not the purpose of the grand prixs. They are there to make team USA better. The current team USA. Medal,money and smaller meets are a great step toward that happening. Once ncaa’s is over it will be nice to see the meets a tad bigger as we get to see college kids-who are now the developmental in the new era of pro swimming (as careers are longer and we only sent two ppl with eligibility remaining to the games on the men’s side;milers)-mix it up with the pros. now that there is a big enough difference between “college” and “pro”, it is nessecary for USA swimming to create another level of a developmental stage.

    Instead of kids getting to mix it up college/pros, college will get to mix it up wi pros while only the top kids get to as well. It is a nessecary step in our sport with the changing climate.

    Now in my opinion we need to cut it down to only top 16 (or even 8) swim at night, cuz it only matters if there’s dough on the line.

    • swimmer says:
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      I agree last year’s grand prixs were out of hand, but the cuts have gone too far. This meet should be for the elite, but it also has to be for the almost elites. Those kids could get valuable experience racing against the best in the world. Not every kid becomes world class at 15, but its still good to get big meet experience in case they ever do.

    • Coach says:
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      There is NO EXCUSE for USA Swimming’s poor planning. Any idiot would understand that in year one of the Olympic quad, post grads are slowly easing back to training and your college kids are not going to race LCM one month from their conference meet. How could they not predict a mediocre turnout for this meet with those standards (especially after a terrible original entry count for November)? I’m not advocating for slow time standards, but why not even offer bonus cuts so the kids with two or three Jr National cuts can justify the travel cost?

      I support tighter standards after NCAAs, but this is plain stupid. In looking at the psych sheet, USA Swimming is doing more to take care of international swimmers than they are junior national level swimmers.

      • MomoJamo says:
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        Yup, and apparently USA Swimming has forgotten who their “bread and butter” athletes are, and it’s NOT THE PROS!

        Age group/Club swimming is the backbone of USA Swimming, without which there was most likely be no or very little “USA Swimming”. Club swimmers pay the dues, meet fees, etc. by the thousands, while the pro ranks are in the hundreds. I know several teams who will no longer participate in the Grand Prix series since they only have 1 or 2 athletes who qualify for these new time standards, and they believe their resources are better spent on competitions in which a greater majority of their swimmers can compete. The travel costs and coaching time away from the rest of the club for the benefit of so few athletes just doesn’t make sense. Knowing USA Swimming, they won’t figure it out until it’s too late, and then will stand around scratching their heads wondering “what happened?”

    • baxter says:
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      Unless this intended to be an international only level meet you’re kidding yourself. We’ve all been at P/F meets with only barely enough athletes to fill the final heat, and regardless of the level the electricty is off and makes for a lame meet.

      Why not a progressive cut format? Where cuts get faster as the meets & year progresses? As it was, there where not very many kids even at the the MINN prix due to the poor planning & reversing the decision on the cuts 6 weeks out from the meet.

      I understand the need for the elite of the elite getting time and space to get their meets in. However, simply overhauling cut times and keeping meet format the same does not seem to be working (yet, though it’s only been two meets, and yes, I’m agree that attendance will pick up come the Charlotte & Santa Clara meets). But at what cost?

      I know it is intangible and therefore may seem a little pointless to some, but you really cant’t underestimate or underrvalue the opportunity for a Sectional level athlete to sit on the same bench as Missy Franklin, or say “hi” to Ryan Lochte. If the goal of changing these meets is to grow the upper level of the sport (the 1% or 1%) you MIGHT be accomplishing that, but I know, given the majority of response to these articles, that it is alienating the other top 20-30% of the age group portion of the sport – the portion that provides the long term growth of the sport (those kids and their kids’). And I don’t think that this is necessarily what Michael Phelps envisioned when he wanted to “change the sport.”

      I don’t know, I know there is a way, and I understand the plight of the pro athlete, but I think it is going about it the wrong way.

    • coacherik says:
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      “While mixing it up with the pros is good for youngsters, it is not the purpose of the grand prixs.”

      Where is the sound bite or USA Press release that says that?

  8. Just a swim parent says:
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    Does USA Swimming pick up the full tab for this meet or is the cost of hosting this meet shared by the host team (the meet sheet says Longhorn Aquatics)? I can’t imagine that the entry fees and viewing tickets are going to come close to covering the cost of hosting this meet. I think at least half of tickets sales in the past have come from parents and family members coming to see their kids swim. Might not be right, but I wouldn’t want to pay to fly or drive there, get a hotel, and then watch a bunch of people (albeit phenomenal) swim I don’t know.

    I know they wanted to make this meet more elite but it’s a bit embarrassing to see 7 swimmers entered in an event when the organizers were planning for 32 swimmers to make finals. The one good thing though, any of the athletes who complained in the past that it took too long to get through the prelim sessions won’t have that problem now. Finals should take about 25 minutes.

  9. Coach2016 says:
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    This is a huge mistake on USA Swimmings part. I don’t mind faster cuts, but just have one standard to get in and keep it. Having A and B cuts makes it impossible for club teams to travel and book hotels and plane tickets in advance- we have no idea who will get in from the B cuts.

    I liked the old format where they capped the meet at 600. These venues can easily fit that many swimmers with the timeline in tact. HS swimmers should get an opportunity to swim against pros at high level meets. With the college season in full swing and most college teams not attending, the number of swimmers missing out on this meet is ridiculous.

  10. baxter says:
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    Unless this intended to be an international only level meet you’re kidding yourself. We’ve all been at P/F meets with only barely enough athletes to fill the final heat, and regardless of the level the electricty is off and makes for a lame meet.

    Why not a progressive cut format? Where cuts get faster as the meets & year progresses? As it was, there where not very many kids even at the the MINN prix due to the poor planning & reversing the decision on the cuts 6 weeks out from the meet.

    I understand the need for the elite of the elite getting time and space to get their meets in. However, simply overhauling cut times and keeping meet format the same does not seem to be working (yet, though it’s only been two meets, and yes, I’m agree that attendance will pick up come the Charlotte & Santa Clara meets). But at what cost?

    I know it is intangible and therefore may seem a little pointless to some, but you really cant’t underestimate or underrvalue the opportunity for a Sectional level athlete to sit on the same bench as Missy Franklin, or say “hi” to Ryan Lochte. If the goal of changing these meets is to grow the upper level of the sport (the 1% or 1%) you MIGHT be accomplishing that, but I know, given the majority of response to these articles, that it is alienating the other top 20-30% of the age group portion of the sport – the portion that provides the long term growth of the sport (those kids and their kids’). And I don’t think that this is necessarily what Michael Phelps envisioned when he wanted to “change the sport.”

    I don’t know, I know there is a way, and I understand the plight of the pro athlete, but I think it is going about it the wrong way.

  11. Mac says:
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    They just miscalculated and made the cuts too tight. Period.

    • Coach says:
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      But even a monkey could figure out that the meets weren’t going to fill this year like last year, especially during the collegiate season.

  12. Mac says:
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    I suppose they could adjust like they did for Minnesota

  13. bobo gigi says:
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    Only 7 swimmers in the women’s 200 breast? It’s not serious. I understand it’s better to have a smaller number of swimmers but it goes a little too far.
    Missy Franklin and my favorite American junior swimmer who still swim without a modern suit and who is for me the future biggest swimming star on the women’s side, the baby face Allie Szekely, will be in Austin so I’m very happy. For your information, Allie has swum 1.58.67 in the 200 IM in SCY the last weekend. She’s in a very good shape and I believe she will swim very well in Austin. Happy to see also that Kate Ziegler still swims. I had big doubts about her future. My other concern was about Katie Hoff. Please don’t stop your career! You’re still very young. Also happy to see Nathan Adrian in the water. He looked very good in the short course nationals before his finger problem so I expect good times from him.

  14. baxter says:
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    ORLANDO’S BEEN REVISED! I bet the rest (besides maybe Charlotte & Santa Clara) probably will too(?).

    • Jcoach says:
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      They’re capping the next grand prix meets at 600 – and then also let in some world-ranked swimmers as well as the clubs of buddies of those at USA Swimming who didn’t get entries in on time.

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