Frank Busch: The Two Year Selection Process is About “Training”

In a Saturday afternoon press conference, USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch specifically addressed questions about the two-year selection process that USA Swimming uses in the two years leading up to an Olympic Games. Specifically, that means that 2014 will see the selection of both the 2014 Pan Pac Championships and the 2015 World Championships.

For some swimmers, that will mean opportunistic results can keep them at the forefront for a long time, while for others, that means one bad meet can sink a career. There will almost certainly be swimmers, with potential to make the Olympic Team, who are going to be retiring after this week’s National Championships because they simply can’t afford to wait two years to make an operation gold team.

In the press conference, Busch acknowledged that the plan has both strengths and weaknesses, including the admission that there would be Americans in 2015 who will beat the World Championship team members.

In Busch’s opinion, though, the two-year selection is a key to the Americans’ Olympic success.

“When you look at the quad (four-year training plan), you have two years with championship meets in early July,” Busch iterated. “The year after the Olympics and then the year of the Olympics. In the middle years, we want our athletes to be able to train all the way through the end of summer into August. It’s important that swimmers get the most long course training out of the middle two years as they can. There are coaches that agree and disagree with that opinion, but it is what we believe is best.”

This rationalization is an admission that USA Swimming relies on many college and high school-aged swimmers to fill out their championship teams; for the ever-growing post grad ranks, the freedom exists to push through a solid 11 months of training even in those early July championship seasons.

The Pan Pac coaches, Bob Bowman and Teri McKeever, made the point during their press conference this afternoon that this will be a good opportunity for the older stars to re-evaluate where they are as athletes. With younger swimmers nipping at their toes, this is a good time for them to make some changes in regards to how they are training, or to choose to retire.

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Riccardo

I just have zero faith or understanding in this process. Basically all it does is stop the younger generation from having a real chance. I thought they would have re-evaluated this idiotic system when in 2011 they had Missy Franklin who was the best female athlete at the world championships swimming 2 individual events, one of which was the 50 backstroke.
Caeleb Dressel is having an off meet and I bet if he hits a 47 at US opens next summer he’lloyd feel like he got a pretymology raw deal. Same goes for any young swimmer trying to make the senior team.

KeithM

Overall Worlds in 2011 and the Olympics were quite successful so they probably thought this process works on the whole. The issue for me is did it work because of it or in spite of it? Correlation does not equal causation and all that.

Riccardo

I completely agree. They took the “if it’s not broken don’t fix it” approach. But when further examined the only conclusion is that it was not smart. So much can happen in a year. As i said with Missy after 2010 Nationals she was on the National team in one event (100 back). And by the same time the next year was arguably the best female swimmer on the planet.

Recent example: Is team USA now going to have Ryan Lochte swimming the 100 free individually at next summer’s worlds??? I’m a lochte fan but thats just idiotic.

Zanna

Totally agree.

SWSWIMFAN

Of course we won’t know until two years from now, but I hope they seriously reevaluate this approach for the next “quad”. USA swimming has definitely grown the sport, and with post grad training centers like NBAC and SwimMac, I feel like there are significant changes for the sport in America. I have only been following swimming for a few years, but it seems like there are also more sponsorships allowing swimmers to support themselves and train all year.

Becky D

If you miss qualifying this weekend, you’re shut out on international experience for another year. Takes the pressure off those that are already established, but undercuts those coming up that really need to experience. I can’t help but feel like 2015/16 will not turn out well.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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