As we prepare for the upcoming USA Swimming Junior National Championships and National Championships, and we noticed a subtle, but interesting, change to the selection criteria for the 2014-2015 Junior National Team.
There is no longer a restriction preventing swimmers who have completed their freshman year of college from qualifying for the Junior National Team, so long as they are still 18 on September 1, 2014.
Specifically, the pertinent rule change reads:
Athletes will be considered regardless of year in high school, college or University as long as all other requirements are met.
This is not an insignificant change. Remember that in 2013-2014, USA Swimming initially announced Sean Lehane and Faith Johnson as members of the Junior National Team. Both swimmers were still 18 as of the cutoff date (September 2nd last year), but both were about to enter their sophomore years at Tennessee.
USA Swimming then had to update the team to remove both swimmers. This year, both would be eligible, eliminating the disadvantage to those athletes who enter college earlier than most (many high-profile names would have been 18 after their freshman year in college, including in past years National Teamer Maya DiRado).
As a reminder of the rest of the rules:
- All 2014 Junior Pan Pac Championship team members will be included if they meet the age requirement.
- Athletes on the 2014-2015 National Team are not eligible unless they swam at Junior Pan Pacs
- Top 6 athletes in Olympic events from all USA Swimming/FINA sanctioned meets, plus YMCA Long Course Nationals, from January 1, 2014 to September 1, 2014.
- Relay lead offs, swim offs, and splits don’t count.
To see the full National Team and Junior National Team selection document for 2014-2015, click here.