Update: USA Swimming has added limited Time Trials back into the schedule.
USA Swimming has announced that they will not be holding time trials at this year’s Olympic Trials meet. The full announcement is below.
Time Trials – Due to the incredibly large entry at the Trials (believed to be the largest senior level meet that we have ever held), Time Trials will not be held at the 2012 Olympic Trials. We apologize for letting you know this at such a late date, but the size of the meet is such that Time Trials are not in the best interest of the competition. Thank you sincerely for your understanding of this.
The move is another downfall of the huge number of entries we’re seeing at this meet, where in the neighborhood of 2000 swimmers are qualified to compete. Even with changes like flyover starts and a 10-lane pool, if a full session of time trials were held each day as well, it could result in around-the-clock swimming in the competition pool in Omaha.
Coaches can use these time trials after sessions for many different things, most of which have little to do with actually qualifying for the Olympics. That includes things like swimmers shooting for a cut to make the National Team if they didn’t make it during the regular event; to try and swim a best time (as many athletes will use their best summer taper on this meet); to qualify for a regional or Zones team; for a swimmer to get a chance to swim an event they didn’t hit the qualifying time for; to replace a DQ with a good time; or perhaps to get a time in a race that is on a double (or triple) with another of a swimmer’s events.
Though the Olympic Trials are the official selection meet for the 2012 Jr. Pan Pac Championships, time trials weren’t considered in the selection as it was (only prelims, semi-finals, and finals are counted toward that qualifying). There’s a chance that it could cost a swimmer another chance to put up a time to qualify for the 18 & under squad that will be sent to the Berlin and Moscow World Cup meets in October.
This change won’t have a huge effect on the elite of USA Swimming, but will be felt much more by the next-tier of swimmers at this meet – the younger, developmental generation of athletes. Especially frustrating will be how late the decision has been made – namely after the deadline for most of the athletes to cancel hotel reservations.
At this point, I think most people have recognized that this Olympic Trials meet has gotten too big, but given that it’s too late to fix that now, everybody is trying to ride-it-out until changes can be made for 2016.