Aussies Cautiously Optimistic W/ New Trials Timing Headed To Pan Pacs

The Australians completely dominated the 2018 Commonwealth Games swimming medal table, racing away with a monster 73 total medals, with 28 of them gold. The next nearest nation was England, who achieved a mark of 24 swimming medals overall, with 9 golds to its name. With the Games having concluded on  April 10th, the Swimming Australia brain trust is analyzing these and other results to help determine whether or not its new Trials timing structure can indeed be called a success.

Preparing for the 2018 Gold Coast-hosted Games, Swimming Australia tried something new in a bid to combat the relatively disappointing overall outing at the 2016 Olympic Games. In past selection competitions, the racing took place more in the ballpark of a 3 1/2 month range prior to the actual elite event. However, these Commonwealth Trials were held just a mere 5 weeks out from the actual Games, with Australian trying out the American timeline model.

According to The Australian, Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren cited that 65% of his swimmers under this format improved on their times from Commonwealth Trials to the Games, near double the ballpark of 30% who accomplished the benchmark between Olympic Trials and Rio.

“I think it’s too early to draw conclusions but we’re hitting about 60, close to 65 per cent in terms of personal best times or season’s best times and that’s a very good score, that’s double Rio, so the indications are good,’’ Verhaeren said. “But we selected people from a little bit lower standards here so we have to see in the next three years but the first signs are very good.’’ (The Australian)

Cautiously optimistic on calling the experiment an absolute success, Verhaeren identifies a positive that the swimmers themselves have at least proven the new scheduled is doable.

“What it definitely proves is that it’s no problem to move trials to five weeks out,’’ he said.

“Everybody is confident and I enjoy seeing that it’s across all events. It’s not just the sprint events or distance, or mid-­distance, it’s across all events. We see quite a bit of time improvements and that was the whole aim of changing the structure. We’re happy to see it works out well.

“We definitely need to test it again during Pan Pacs and world championships and obviously the acid test is the Olympics.’’

Yes, the improvement on Trials times to Commonwealth Games times may be attributed to the new schedule. However, the fact that the Aussies competed in their own home country also most likely contributed to the positive Commonwealth Games results.

The Dolphins historically produce their best efforts on their home soil, going back to the Sydney Olympic Games through the more recent performances by both Cate Campbell and Cameron McEvoy.

Pre-Rio, Campbell notched a then-world record-setting time in the 100m freestyle at a Grand Prix meet in Australia, while McEvoy clocked the fastest 100m free ever in textile also pre-Rio. When both were unable to reach the podium come game time in Rio, Verhaeren chalked up some of the disappointment to overall nerves and stage fright.

As such, the upcoming Pan Pacific Trials slated for early July will serve as perhaps a more unbiased test of the new Trials timing, as the actual benchmark meet, in this case, the Pan Pacific Championships, takes place on foreign soil in Tokyo. We’ll be able to see once again how swimmers times improve (or not) in an approximate 5-week time span.

In This Story

9
Leave a Reply

7 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Aussie Swim Coach

I’m an Aussie swim coach but I’m afraid i don’t share Jacco optimism. At the trials on about 8 athletes nade made the qualifying times. Lets face it its the Commonwealth games, not really a tough meet, sure some races were close but compared to World records the athletes were still a bit off. I’m hoping at the next Olympic trials before Tokyo that things will be better and records more make the QTs.
I’m not sold on Jacco as head coach and feel he got lucky with the results

PeatyPiper

Surely it’s less about the meet, more about the performances? Pressure will only be higher for Worlds/Olympics and they won’t be on home soil. I was under the impression an April meet also slotted better into the Australian season compared to July/August but maybe I’m wrong? Appreciate it might take some time to see if this new trials systems bears fruit, but I guess after Rio people were asking questions as to why things didn’t go as expected for some big names. In any case looking forward to how things pan out towards Tokyo. Really hope Aus put out some world class times and performances as Tokyo is likely to be strongest Olympics yet for swimming IMO beind held in… Read more »

Brutus

Aussie Swim Coach is spot on…The Aussies will fall flat being led by a guy named Jacco. Sounds like Jacco the Monkey!! LOL! Many of the Aussies fold under pressure I believe due to the fact that it is a big prisoner colony.

straightblackline

The switch to the new format was justified given the history of underpeformance at the big meets but the jury is still out. A 65% improvement rate looks good and is typically what the USA achieves. However, with the Commonwealth Games being a lesser meet and with the top three qualifying, many of the swimmers took the risk of not doing a full taper. Therefore, a meaningful improvement rate was to be expected. Also, this was in Australia’s back yard. A better test will come next year when trilas for the World championships are held.

Togger

Why wouldn’t they be? Who the big guns are might change, but they’ve never shirked the Olympics, just sometimes under performed when they’re there.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!