It won’t happen in 2023, but USA Swimming has considered adding a third Winter Junior Championship meet to its domestic calendar in the future.
USA Swimming recently told SwimSwam its Senior Development Committee has had a “preliminary discussion” about the possibility in order to serve the future needs of the junior-aged athlete.
There will continue to be just two sites of the annual event in 2023, with Columbus, Ohio announced as host of the “East” meet and Westmont, Ill., confirmed as the site of “West” edition on Wednesday, though the prospect of adding a third event at some point down the line is an intriguing one.
USA Swimming said the discussions of adding a third site were more geared towards athlete opportunity and managing meet size rather than geographical concerns, which checks out, as there were in the vicinity of 700 swimmers at last year’s East event and over 800 at the West meet.
However, geographically a third site on the western side of the U.S., California for example, would be beneficial to those who have to travel from that area, especially for this year, with Westmont and Columbus being located within 350 miles of each other on the eastern side of the country.
Each of the last two years, the events have been held in Greensboro, N.C. (East) and Austin, Texas (West).
The Futures Championships moved from four to five sites in 2023 with the events adequately spread out across the country, with Virginia, Florida, North Dakota, Texas and California serving as hosts.
USA Swimming also noted that Winter Junior Championship meets are “significant investments” for them to provide competitive opportunities to the athletes, while the hosts are the ones that benefit financially (while also investing plenty of resources into volunteering, planning, etc.).
There has also been discussion about adding 18 & Under Spring Cup events in 2024 to provide more long course opportunities at the Futures level, but hasn’t made any decisions as of yet.
It is easy to catch a flight to Chicago (Westmont) than a lot of places they host big meets.
Make the cuts faster. I would honesty like to see all the great 18&U swimmers compete against each other in one location. I say host one meet with a target of around 900 swimmers. Do it at a massive venue and plan for that. I understand wanting to give age groupers a racing opportunity. When I first made winter juniors for the first time that was a big experience for me and really helped my future career. But I would like to see all our top 18&unders duke it out in one big showdown. And then create a few other less elite meets in 2 other locations to give people racing opportunities. The cuts to get into those lower level… Read more »
If you set cuts to have 1 meet of 900 swimmers, nobody will come. Many teams that would travel/send coach to a East/West location with 3-4 athlwtes, won’t bother coming if it’s just one athlete across the country. Florida teams rarely travel to LA for SummerJuniors. They went to NC for Futures. It’ll be the same if they put Summer Juniors in Cary. The LA/West Coast teams won’t come.
It’s be nice for a “best of the best” meet, but it won’t ever happen.
Yeah multiple people have explained this to me as the view of club coaches too.
I keep trying to think of some dream scenario where you could do all the same swimmers in the same place, somewhere like Knoxville or Greensboro where there’s just tons of gallons of water.
But then I land on this: even as a split meet, Winter Juniors East & West were by far the best meets on US soil in 2022. So why mess with it?
Winter Juniors – Weast
Illinois gotta be one of my favorite…western states?????
Kaskaskia, Illinois is west of the Mississippi River, and c. 1818 was the capital of the Illinois Territory (previously part of the Northwest Territory) and, with a population north of 7,000 at the time, was for a time the largest city in the US that is currently West of the Mississippi River. Its status in the early Western US is why King Louis XV gifted them a big Bell in 1741, that is known as the “Liberty Bell of the West.”
As you’re aware, St. Louis at the time was the Gateway to the West, implying that West of the Mississippi was the Western US.
That’s dual confirmation that Kaskaskia occupies a place in the Western US, Ipso, Facto, Illinois… Read more »
3 sites will help the participants with better conditions for competition, expenses, etc.
Keep the standards to keep fast swimmers. If worried about slow times, dont allow times slower than standard ton return to finals.
If you’ve earned a second swim, you should get a second swim. Nothing would make a meet less popular than having time standards for finals.
I understand the geographical concern, but I worry about watering down the meet winter junior is the best short course meet for 18&U, but some of that is definitely because coaches of top junior rely on it for high level racing. I’d rather they make the cuts faster if meet size is the primary concern.
First they should be bringing back 4 heats at Summer Juniors. The timeline can handle it.
It doesn’t make sense that the split meets each bring back 3 and then the combined meet also brings back 3.
They’re bringing back 4 heats at Nationals with the “18 & under final” and then 3 heats at Juniors while Nationals has 1/3rd as many entries. The developmental meet is the one where they should be providing as much opportunity for finals swims as possible.
In almost all instances it was slower to advance to the “18 & under final” at Nationals than it was to make a C final at juniors.
Completely agree. What’s next, having two Olympic Trial meets??!?!
We already did that. Wave 1 and Wave 2