Pan American Festival Report: Swimming


Pan American Sport Festival

September 26-30, 2014



The preparations and communications for the Pan American Sport Festival that I experienced with Giovana and Ana Paula were excellent.  Both ladies did absolutely superb work in communicating with all the NOC's and 30 federations that attended the swimming competition at this Mexican event.  They worked closely with me in registering over 200 athletes and entering them in their events, getting all passports and flights arranged for the technical officials, and sending all the information I asked of them to the UANA Federations.  They both deserve the highest commendations. 


There was however, some difficulty in accessing my contacts at the local organizing committee level leading up to the  swimming competition, and there was considerable difficulty in getting information on who was responsible for the actual athlete entries in the computers, and the running of the electronics and meet at the local level.  In the end, it was necessary for me to assign one of the technical officials attending the competition to do the actual electronics room computer work with me on a daily basis to ensure the printouts for coaches, the heat sheets, the order of events, the race results, etc., were timely done and published.  But having said that, there were indeed very competent members of the Mexican Organizing Committee who worked in the electronics room who were excellent in their computer production of videos, producing the scoreboard results, doing the bilungual announcing, and the overseeing the electronic timing system throughout the competition.  My thanks and appreciation goes out to them all.


Flights & Arrival

Upon arrival, there were greeters at the airport terminal, and they brought technical officials to their transportation and on to the hotel, which was the Holiday Inn Dali.  The accommodations at the hotel were very good, with excellent food for the entire week.  In my case, a car and driver were provided throughout the week, so there would be available transportation back and forth to the pool at the irregular times that I needed to be there.  For all other officials, there was bus transportation which was very efficient and convenient for all.  The travel time between the Officials hotel and the pool was between 20-30 minutes depending on the traffic.


Prior to the Meet

For the 3 days prior to the start of the competition, there was the opportunity for me to meet with Ana Paula and work with the local organizers for pool setup, and plan the  preparations for both the Coaches meeting and the Technical Officials meeting, both of which were held on the same day, Thursday, Sept 25.



Coaches & Delegates Meeting

The Coaches & Team Leaders Meeting was held at 13:30 with about 50-60 reps in attendance.  In all there were exactly 30 UANA federations represented at the Festival.    I was asked to chair the Coaches meeting, with 3 members of the Mexican Swimming Federation at the head table with me.  As well, there were 3 technical officials who are members of the UANA Technical Swimming Committee in attendance at this competition.  (There seemed to have been some confusion as to need for the attendance of the UANA Executive Committee Swimming Liaison, as he was not present at the competition). 


The main issue that needed to be resolved at the coaches meeting was the start time for the morning sessions.  The problem was that the hotels didn't start breakfast until 7:00 which meant that the athletes would not be able to begin their bus rides to the pool until about 8:00.  Then they would have a 45 minute to 1 hour travel time to the pool, meaning the athletes would not be able to start warmups until about 9:00 each morning.  In consultation with the UANA Diving TC chair, it was agreed in light of the transportation issue to start the swimming competition at 10:00 each day instead of 9:00.  The evening finals sessions were not changed.  The agreed upon competition and warmup times between Ivar Sesniega, Kathy Seaman and I back in June with diving warmups starting after the swimming competition ended did not work out. (Unfortunately, a number of  race starts had to be interupted due to diving teams practicing and diving boards slamming all morning during the swimming competition time; this continued throughout the week).



Technical Officials Meeting

The Officials meeting was conducted on the same day as the Coaches meeting, Sept 25.  Again, I chaired the meeting, where we discussed the hotel accommodations, the bus  transportation and schedules, the Festival “Summons” and rules for the competition, the order of events, and procedures and protocols expected, etc.  All 30 technical officials that sent in their registrations, passports, and flight itineraries to Ana Paula and me showed up, including 2 additional officials from Nicaragua whom neither Ana Paula nor I knew anything about.  That made a total of 32 technical officials in attendance, of which 13 were from Mexico and the other 19 from other UANA federations.  Of the 32 Officials, there were a total of 17 who are presently on the current FINA Lists as either referees or starters.  And there were others who were on one of the two current UANA Lists of Officials.  So the level and expertise of the technical officials in attendance at this Pan American Sport Festival was of the highest level.





The Competition

The opening day of competition was Friday, September 26.  There was concern prior to the start on day 1 because the local committee personnel responsible for the computer, electronics, and production of the heat sheets for the session did not arrive until about 30 minutes before the start of the competition.  Eventually we got the printing done and were able to start the competition on time.  The number of athletes registed at the start of the competition was 208, slighly under the quota of 230 that was determined after the “Entry by Numbers” were received from the NOC's months earlier.


A major concern arose on day 1, that being the fact that there were 4 federations that had sent swimmers who were over the age requirements of 16-18  (Those born between the dates of January 1, 1995 and December 31, 1998).  Those federations were Mexico, Panama, Antigua, and El Salvador.  Jose de Jesus, who served on the Commission with me, and I spoke to the coaches of these teams, and they indicated that they received and showed me a UANA memorandum in Spanish indicating the age requirements were simply 16 years and up.  Our decision was to allow these over-age athletes to swim only in preliminaries, and not be permitted to advance to the evening finals or receive any medals.  This we felt was fair to the other 26 federations who did abide by the age restrictions published.  Later in the day I spoke with Kiril Toderov, president of the Mexican Swimming Federation, and explained the decision that affected his federation, and he was in agreement with the decision made in fairness to all competitors.  On Saturday September 27, an official Opening Ceremonies was held.  Among Mexican delegates, including Kiril Toderov, Ivar Sesniega and I were also asked to participate. (see attachment)


Following the Festival, I agreed in discussions with Greg Eggert, that I would draw up a questionnaire for Coaches to get their overall reactions to having this “Junior” swimming competition in the Americas.  Once I receive all responses back from the coaches, I will collate and forward them to the UANA President and Executive for review in anticipation of possibly planning another such event in the future.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Report Submitted by:

                                                                                                Bill Hogan

                                                                                                UANA TSC Chair

Respuestas “Swimming Coaches Survey”

Coach: Álvaro Covarrubias – CHILE.


  1. Para nuestro país la fecha no tuvo complicaciones con ningún otro evento internacional. Por lo que nos pareció una muy buena fecha.

For our country the date did not bring any conflict with other international competition. So we found it a very good date.

  1. Para Chile por lo menos la información llego correcta; Pero entiendo que para muchos países incluido los dueños de casa, México, la información no estuvo de lo mejor, ya que el Comité Olímpico de dicho país, inscribió a nadadores fuera del rango normal.

Chile, at least, got the correct information. But we understand that for some countries including the host, Mexico, the information was not the best, since their Olympic Committee entered their swimmers out of the normal range.

  1. Si, hubiese sido una muy buena oportunidad de haber tenido una clínica para entrenadores, tomando en cuenta que estaban presente todos los países de América, incluyendo grandes potencias de la natación como lo es Brasil y Canadá.

Yes, would have been a very good chance for having a clinic for coaches, taking into account that were present all countries of the Americas, including great leading swimming nations such Brazil and Canada.

  1. El transporte fue bastante aceptable para el número de participantes que tuvo la competencia. Nunca tuvimos problema frente a algún atraso tanto de ida al Complejo Acuático como al Aeropuerto.

The transport offered was acceptable considering the number of participants of the competition. We did not have problems with delays in the shuttle to the swimming pool or going to the Airport.  

  1. Fue bastante aceptable. Aunque el único problema fue la lejanía donde estos se encontraban del Complejo Acuático. Ya que no es normal trasladarse casi 4 horas diarias en locomoción, ya que la recuperación de los atletas no es de la mejor. Pienso que se debe buscar un alojamiento más cerca del lugar de competencia.

It was very acceptable. The only problem was the distance from the Aquatic Centre. Since it is not normal to be in the bus for 4 hours daily, and the recuperation of the athletes suffered. We think that it is advisable to get a closer place to the swimming pool to accommodate the teams next time.

  1. Como es un Evento Panamericano, pienso que debe realizarse cada 4 años. Es una muy buena oportunidad para que nuestros deportistas experimenten este tipo de campeonatos a dicha edad, para que a medida que vayan creciendo, se pueda tener un objetivo mucho más claro y realista.

Being a Pan American event, it should be held each 4 years. It is a good opportunity for our athletes to experience this level of event at such age, so as they grow up and evolve, they can have a more clear and realistic goal.



Ken McKinnon, Canada

Question #1
Competition Dates – Were the dates of September 26-30 at the right time of year? If not, what dates are better for your athlete's participation?
Answer #1
  1. No, these dates do not suit our program. The swimmers are in the 1st 3-4 weeks of training after taking a training break from the previous championship season.
  2. In the past we have given positive feedback in consideration of a january competition.
    • However recently the Junior or Youth or Development Program Competition schedule has increased drastically and I'm not sure that we would support a January competition in the future
    • There may however be some support for a late December competition where a training camp option either before or after a competition is available 
Question #2 (a)
Was the meet information you received prior to the event satisfactory?  
Answer#2 (a)
In hind site it appears it was satisfactory. Somehow we thought the meet was the 27-30, our error.
Question # 2(b)
Was the information on age restrictions of 16-18 for athletes understood? 
Answer #2 (b) 
We would have preferred and Open age category. It was also not clear as to the exact cut off date for age i.e. At the event and or end of year
Question #2 (c)
Was the information on the competition up-to-date and current? 
Answer #2 (c)
We felt it wasn't communicated in a timely manner.
Question #3
Would you have preferred to have a coaches clinic at the Festival? 
Answer #3
We would not have preferred this option but I did hear from a number of attending coaches that they were looking forward to a coaches clinic.
Question #4
Was the transportation from the airport and during the competition acceptable? Explain 
Answer #4
The transportation from the airport was long but due to traffic. We were met right outside the arrivals area and left within 20 minutes. We were not told how long the trip would be and found it long.
During the competition the transportation was an issue.
  1. On arrival day there was no transportation available to the pool for training
  2. On the 1st 2 days the busses were late to pickup at the dorms, then there was rush for the busses. It was confusing and you were not sure if you would get on a bus. Travel to and from the pool took between 50 and 90 minutes each way. Travel back from the pool was also an unpredictable process. Bus departures didn't allow for a full training session and we were in a position of negotiating departure times. 
  3. During the competition the busses were on time but we always sat on the bus for a minimum of 20-30 minutes waiting to depart. This added significantly to the length of time spent on the busses travelling back and forth to the venue. This was the same situation from the venue to the dorms.
  4. On the 1st day of competition we had Police escorts but they didn't use the bus lanes, so transport to and from the pool was a minimum of 1 hour each way. On 1 trip the driver returned our group to the wrong dorm location and then drove us to the correct one resulting in a 90 minute trip home from the venue
  5. On the 2nd day the Police escorts were helpful and travel to and from the venue was approximately 45 minutes however we still sat on the busses for a t least 15-20 minutes at both locations before leaving  
  6. The 2 days on the weekend transportation was the best due to less traffic but there was still a significant wait on the bus before departing
  7. On one trip home we walked the final 5 blocks to the dorms due to traffic totally stopped
  8. On return to the airport the teams that were to be dropped off at the 1st terminal had their bags packed in the vans 1st so on arrival at the 1st terminal all bags had to be unloaded for them to get their bags and then all other bags had to be re-loaded before we could leave for our terminal.
  9. On return to the airport we were dropped off with no directions to the departure area. 
Question # 5
Were the accommodations at the athletes' village/hotel acceptable? Explain. 
Answer # 5
  1. We felt the accommodation was too far from the venue
  2. The sleeping arrangements were bare to minimum. For example 1 towel for 8 days. The shower room was ankle deep in water after 1 person showered in a 1/4 shower arrangement.
  3. Check in was confusing and long
  4. The food was poor.
  5. The food was the same at every meal and not sufficient for athletes in competition
  6. There was often a shortage in cutlery available. 
  7. There were only 2 people available to serve the entire swim meet of over 250 people. Everyone was on the same schedule. Lines were long.
Question # 6(a)
Would you recommend that this type of Festival be held again?  If not, why not?
Answer #6(a)
This would not be a priority for us in the future. The competition depth is weak and the international competition schedule is very busy. Also the quality of the accommodation, food, bussing and venue would be an important factor in our decision. 
Luis Alberto Rosales Urbina , Nicaragua

1   Considero  que la fecha de realización del Festival  fue adecuada para nuestros atletas.

I consider that the date of organization of the Festival was adequate for our athletes.

2   La información previa al evento fue recibida en tiempo y forma y claramente se especificaba la restricción de las edades.

The information prior to the event was received in a timely manner and the restriction of the ages was clearly specified.

3   Considero que hubiese sido muy positivo el haber tenido una Clínica, pues se manifestaron varias inquietudes por parte de algunos Entrenadores.

I think it would have been very positive to have had a coaches clinic organized because several concerns were expressed by some coaches.

4   Salvo un pequeño atraso a la llegada, todos los días  y el regreso al aeropuerto estuvieron en Tiempo y Forma 

Except for a slight delay on arrival, everyday and the return to the airport were on time and form.

5   Las condiciones de alojamiento estuvieron MUY BIEN. Muy higiénicas, ordenadas y con el espacio suficiente para el descanso. 

Accommodation conditions were VERY GOOD. Very hygienic, tidy and with enough space for resting.

6   Para nosotros en lo particular, nos gustaría que se diesen nuevas ediciones por lo menos cada 2 años.     FELICITACIONES

For us in particular, we would like that new editions would be held at least every 2 years.   CONGRATULATIONS

Bailey (Cayman)

Cayman Islands - Bailey Weathers

1)         Competition Dates – Were the dates of September 26-30 at the right time of year?

            If not, what dates are better for your athlete's participation?

                       Response: We would prefer a late spring date or even a later fall date, for us Sept. Dates mean we are only 3 or 4 weeks into training.

2.        Was the meet information you received prior to the event satisfactory?

Response:        No we recieved very little information and what we did receive turned out to be largely incorrect. The information recieved was also only in Spanish.

2B.     Was the information on age restrictions of 16-18 for athletes understood?

Response:        Yes.

2C.      Was the information on the competition up-to-date and current?

  Response:        No not at all.

3.         Would you have preferred to have a coaches clinic at the Festival?

Response:        Yes. Very much so.

4.         Was the transportation from the airport and during the competition acceptable?

Response:        No. This was the weakest part of the experience. We spend 5 to 6 hours per day traveling or waiting to travel. Little is any information was available for English speaking countries. Schedule changed daily making it impossible to plan or be even a little bit prepared.

5.         Were the accommodations at the athletes' village/hotel acceptable?

Response:       Again no information was available ahead of time and the situation was poor and largely uncomfortable.  The food schedule was not in line with the competition schedule.

6.         Would you recommend that this type of Festival be held again?

Response:        I would recommend we do this again but with several changes. Basically I believe swimming needs to have it’s own organization and planning.  I would consider doing this every two years for this age group or even include younger athletes.



Prof.: Luis Iriondo, Entrenador, FEPANA

Ing. Arturo Piccardo, Delegado, FEPANA


1. Fechas Competencia - ¿Eran las fechas 26 al 30 09 en el momento adecuado del año? 
Si no, ¿qué fechas son mejores para la participación de su atleta? 

Las  Fechas están bien siempre y estamos de acuerdo (previendo que se tenga en cuenta el calendario internacional de torneos similares o de la misma categoría en cuanto al año de nacimiento.

The dates are fine and we agree ( provided that the international calendar of similar competitions is considered or year of birth of same age group)

2. fue la información que recibió se encuentran antes del evento satisfactoria?

 La información recibida estaba completa y fue recibida en tiempo y forma, estamos de acuerdo

The received Information was complete and was timely received, we are in agreement.

     ¿Se entiende la información sobre las restricciones de edad de 16 a 18 para los atletas?

 En cuanto a las restricciones y todas las demás informaciones proporcionadas fueron recibidas en tiempo y forma, no tenemos ningún reclamo

In regards to the restrictions and all other provided Information they were timely received, we have no complaint   

      Fue la información sobre la competencia hasta la fecha y corriente?

 Fueron recibidas todas las informaciones en forma correcta, no tenemos reclamos sobre el punto

All Information was received correctly, we have no complaint in regards to this point

       Si no, ¿qué mejoras se necesitan?

 En cuanto a la sugerencias que puedan contribuir a mejorar, dejamos como crítica constructiva la falta de coordinación de los horarios en el tema aperturas y cierres de los comedores con relación a los horarios de entrenamiento y el propio evento en su fase competitiva como  ejemplo podemos citar  la competencia iniciaba (pileta para afloje)  a las 7:30 hs y recién se abrían las puertas al comedor a la 7:00 hs. esto considerando que se tardaba  1 hora aproximadamente al lugar de  competencia (debido al tránsito pesado y los horarios de competencia y tránsito congestionado)

In regards, to suggestion to what could be contributed to better the organization, we leave as positive input the lack of coordination the times of opening and closing of the meals room related to the training and the event in the competition stage. As an example, the competition stated (warm up) at 7:30h and breakfast would start also at 7:30h. This considering that it would take at least 1 hour to get to the competition venue (due to the heavy traffic and the competition schedule and traffic conditions)  

Lo mencionado no colaboraba con el  tiempo necesario para la digestión antes de los eventos y en algunos casos  no alcanzaban a desayunar o almorzar atendiendo que la necesidad de partir de vuelta para la competencia  (la recomendación es tener en cuenta la importancia de considerar para próximos eventos que los horarios acordes al tiempo de digestión que debe tener un atleta antes de iniciar la competencia para no perjudicar el rendimiento de un atleta)

The above mentioned did not sit well with the time needed for the athletes to have a proper digestion before competing and in some cases did not succeed in having breakfast or having lunch depending the necessity to go back for the afternoon session (the recommendation is to consider for the next editions that the accorded meal schedule may permit that the athletes have time to a proper digestion without compromising their performance)  

3. ¿Hubieras preferido tener una clínica de entrenadores en el Festival?

 De acuerdo hubiese sido interesante aprovechar esta evento para una clínica, conforme estaba previsto en el programa inicial, estamos de acuerdo para prever en un futuro evento o convocatoria similar.

I agree that it would be interesting to take advantage of the event to have a Clinic, as it was listed in the original program, we are in agreement for a future event or similar summons


4. fue el transporte desde el aeropuerto y durante la competición aceptable? explique 

En cuanto al transporte, estamos de acuerdo aceptable, con el atenuante que la dificultad estaba en el tiempo de desplazamiento debido al tránsito pesado de la ciudad  y lo que al final afectaba en general al tiempo de traslado y por ende al sistema de transporte.

In regards to the transport, we agree that it was acceptable, with the mitigating circumstance that the difficulty was in the time to go from location to the other due to the heavy traffic in the city and that in the end affected in general the time of transfers and therefore the transport system.

5. Fueron los alojamientos de pueblo / hotel de los atletas aceptable? Explique. 

     El alojamiento fue bueno sin problema, si consideramos que si tenemos la pileta para entrenamiento por lo menos en un turno sería importante habilitar (atendiendo que el alojamiento contaba con la infraestructura necesaria para ello – como sugerencia)

The accommodation was good no problem, if we consider that we have had the pool for warm up available at least in one session it would be important to have provided (and the accommodation venue had the necessary infrastructure for such – just a suggestion)  


6. ¿Recomendaría usted que este tipo de Festival se celebrará de nuevo? Si no, ¿por qué no? 
      Si es así, ¿con qué frecuencia? 

     La esencia del deporte es la competencia y para los atletas es la participación, por ello siempre vamos a estar de acuerdo y apoyar eventos de este tipo, y con mayor razón cuando las organización es buena ( como este caso), también consideramos un buen nivel competitivo y la permanente motivación de los atletas, atendiendo que participar de un evento de esta envergadura se vuelve prioridad en su calendario de competencias internacionales (la frecuencia ideal sería de cada 2 años y como mínimo cada 4 años o sea periodos Olímpicos)

The essence of the sport is the competition and for the athletes is to participate, for that we will always be in agreement and support events such as this, and with more reason when the organization is good (this was the case), also we considered that there was a good competitive level and permanent motivation amongst the swimmers, considering that to participate in an event of this magnitude becomes a priority in its international competition calendar (the ideal frequency would be every 2 years and as a minimum every 4 years i.e. Olympic periods)