USA Swimming has published the time standards for the 2014 Winter Short Course Championships, and have followed suit from summer nationals, including 18 and under bonus times at the Winter National Championship Meet. Until this year, USA Swimming has only used bonus entries for smaller meets such as sectionals and Junior Nationals. This is the first year we have seen bonus entries at the national championship meets. This is USA Swimming’s interpretation of rules that many federations around the world also have where there are different time standards for athletes in different age ranges. These sorts of rules ensure that young athletes have the opportunity to gain the experience at these major meets while still maintaining a high standard of entry for adult athletes.
The other interesting story line to follow that comes along with these time standards is that there aren’t any changes in the time standards from 2013 to 2014 for the winter junior national championships or the senior national championships. Even the junior bonus times stayed the same for the junior national meet.
USA Swimming tweeted some lofty goals for their performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, which we are just over two years away from. The lack of change in these time standards could represent a few things. Option 1: Swimmers on track to meet USA Swimming’s lofty goals. Option 2: Swimmers are falling behind where USA Swimming expects them to be and is adding bonus entires to try to allow swimmers to gain experience and learn to perform at the national and eventually, international level. Or, Option 3: USA Swimming is taking their focus away from short course meets and focusing their efforts on the long course season. I am not saying any of these are right or wrong, they are just thoughts. You can be the one to decide what you think.
The winter national championships are scheduled to take place Dec. 4-6th in Greensboro, North Carolina. The junior national championships are scheduled for the following weekend, Dec. 11-13th in Federal Way, Washington.
The 2014 Winter National Championship Time Standards:
The 2014 Winter National Championship 18&u Bonus Standards:
2014 Winter Junior National Time Standards and Bonus Standards: