USAS Convention: Frank Busch Considering Capping Numbers, Not Times, For Trials

  33 Braden Keith | September 12th, 2012 | National, News

The big buzz on Wednesday at the USA Swimming convention in Greensboro, North Carolina is the beginning of a finalized plan for 2016 Olympic qualifying.

The 2016 Olympic Trials, that will determine the team for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, are tentatively scheduled from July 4th through July 11th, though there are still a few hoops to jump through to set that in stone. It seems as though, in early returns, new National Team Director Frank Busch isn’t backing any plans to move the trials any earlier. That timing is about the same as we saw ahead of the London Olympics in 2012, as the Rio Games start a week later.

The qualifying standards for the Olympic Trials are still two years away. They will be announced in September of 2014, with the qualifying period going back retroactively to July 30th of that year.

Note that these “standards” are not necessarily going to be times. According to a member of the House of Delegates who was at today’s Senior Development Committee meeting, Busch left the impression that he is leaning toward the 2016 Trials standard being a number of athletes rather than a specific qualifying time. This would stir up plenty of debate both to the pro and the negative, so expect much shouting to be done before that becomes set in stone.

Still, if enacted, it would rattle the swimming community and create a new sort of twinge of competitiveness, where the competition is not just against a number, but literally against beating the guy next to you to ensure you’re higher on the rankings than them. The contrarian view would be that it leaves a lot of uncertainty, and doesn’t allow athletes to hit a standard and then time out their tapers for Trials perfectly.

No discussion yet on possible 2016 trials hosts. There will be a lot of sentiment for the host of this event, Greensboro, who has already announced their candidacy.

Also, in 2014 Junior Nationals will be held before Nationals, so as to allow a more natural buildup. These standards will be the same as what they have been in 2012.

The full Quad Plan, that lays out the path ahead to the 2016 Olympics, can be read here.

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33 Comments on "USAS Convention: Frank Busch Considering Capping Numbers, Not Times, For Trials"

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You guys who want an elite meet are forgetting about the bottom line…. MONEY AND NUMBERS. With your elite meet idea we won’t have 14,000 in the stands and that is good for the sport.

It was another era but this method was used in 1972 where you called in and got the cutoff time on a recording. Of course now it could be kept up with easily with the electronic world. No nationals were held later and this led to the creation of the Open Meet in Hershey Pa. A predecessor to Jr Nat. There is no doubt today that the standards should be tougher and for sure only be valid one year out instead of two like it was. Today the sport is so large what ever sytem will not please everyone. How about in ’56 there were no time standards and until 59 no standards at Nat’s or Ncaa’s. The NCAA cut… Read more »
As someone who attended trials ’12 with my wife and 2 sons, let me say it was a tremendous experience. We all got into it starting with morning prelims and anticipating each night of finals. It was exciting seeing all the swimmers around town, even those who had no realistic chance of making the U.S. team, especially 2 young men with whom my boys have been swimming for the last few years ( my 13 year old even got one’s autograph). The whole week was inspiring, to say the least. I can’t imagine the crowds impacted the “stars” in any negative way, except complaints about warmup space. So… would it be possible to get another pool at the arena? There… Read more »

Cut the meet size in half and cut the interest and revenue stream by 75% or more. The Michael Phelps buzz will be gone…I suspect there will be numerous other retirements announced – Ervin, Berhens, Torres, Lesak, etc, etc. I think if you limit the size too much you might as well move the trials back to a facility with 7500 or so capacity. The moms and dads are the ones that drive the swimming economy.


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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