The first meet in a new line of Grand Prix stops in Orlando, Florida will already be in the midst of some minor controversy before its even begun. On Monday, the same day that USA Swimming released the much-shortened start lists for the Austin Grand Prix, they also announced a revision to the “b” qualifying standards for the next stop that will run February 14th-16th in Orlando.
The new ramped-up time standards in 2012-2013 are a part of an effort by USA Swimming to increase the “eliteness” of the Grand Prix Series, but with the Austin meet (this coming weekend), it swung the pendulum a bit too far with some events having as few as 7 entries. A huge factor in this is the fact that many or most of the qualifying swimmers are in college, and college the “A” standard “B” standard system doesn’t mesh well for these meets in a college season.
The February meet in Orlando will run into the same issues, as college teams will be ramping up for their conference championship meets; and there will be even more conflicts for the few eligible high school swimmers; many of whom will be in their high school championship seasons.
The changes are significant, though not massive. In the men’s 100 free, for example, the standard for yards went from a 46.49 to a 48.39.
These cuts, as of yet, have not been extended to other meets after Orlando. The remaining events in the series:
January 18-20, 2013 USA Swimming Grand Prix, Austin, TX – LC
February 15-17, 2013 USA Swimming Grand Prix, Orlando, FL– LC
April 11-13, 2013 USA Swimming Grand Prix, Mesa, AZ – LC
May 9-12, 2013 USA Swimming Grand Prix, Charlotte, NC – LC
May 30-June 2, 2013 USA Swimming Grand Prix, Santa Clara, CA – LC