February 5, 2018
The Short Course Championship Season In Perspective
Well, the short course championship season is almost upon us. I wanted to take a moment and put the meets into perspective. We select meets in a manner that gives every member of our team a chance to challenge themself with a championship event. Our schedule has season ending events for every age and level. We even have a meet designed to bring all members of our team together to end the season as one unified club. Let’s look at each championship meet and see how they fit into our program’s bigger picture.
The Florida Age Group Championships (FLAGS) starts the championship season this year later this month. This qualifying meet is for swimmers ages fourteen (14) and under features some of the top swimmers in out Local Swim Committee, Florida Swimming. It’s a good experience for developing swimmers, but we consciously do not place a major program emphasis on this event. We strive for our swimmers to think on a more national level.
Over the years I have seen too many swimmers and families who felt like they were missing something when they aged up and could no longer compete at FLAGS. Nothing can be further from the truth. There are so many exciting options. When swimmers and their families understand that FLAGS is not the Superbowl of Swimming at an early phase in their career, they can embrace the challenges of aging out of FLAGS. They understand that the meet is only the second rung of the championship ladder; just above the Harry Meisel B Championships. It’s a great stepping stone, but the the end all.
So you know, many National Team members did not qualify for their local 14 & Under championships as children. People mature at different rates. If the focus becomes qualifying for FLAGS, we may push out some late bloomers who do not feel like they have a future in the sports simply because they did not make a FLAGS cut. We can celebrate those who have made the cut while always remembering the meet's place in the big picture.
Fl Sr. Champs
The Florida Swimming Senior Championships follow FLAGS this year. This meet, also held in February, is a good meet for or older swimmers to gauge their progress to this point in the season. Some of our swimmers will look to make cuts for higher level meets later in the season, such as the NCSA Junior National meet. Since we have other focus meets in March and April, this is not a meet will will fully taper all of the swimmers. We have dozens of qualifiers, so it should be a fun team event.
AAU Sr. Champs
We will offer a Florida Swimming AAU Short Course Senior Championships on March 3rd this year. It will be a one (1) day, one (1) session affair. We will use this event as yet another way to qualify for NCSA Junior Nationals. The meet is scheduled to be held in Rockledge, Florida, which is on the other coast. We have the event orders loosely based on the high school format so it should be fun.
AAU 8 & Under / Age Group Championships
We are offering another AAU event the following weekend here at BSAC. It will be an 8 & Under session followed by an Age Group session. The age group portion will be used as a last chance for the NSCA 14 & Under Nationals. This will be a quick, laid back affair. Some other area teams will join us for both AAU meets, but these are designed to be fun, fast and family friendly. The cost will be significantly lower than most USA Swimming meets.
NCSA Jr, Nationals
We will participate in the NSCA Junior National meet in mid March. The meet, held in Orlando is the fastest 18 & under meet in the country. The standards are high, but our athletes are working diligently to bring as large a team as possible to Orlando. Having a continued, strong presence at the national level meets helps all of our swimmers when it’s their turn to be a part of the college recruiting process. While times are the most important factor to most college coaches, the majority of them also like to know that a potential student athlete has experience in a high performance program. It makes the transition to a college team easier. We will look to represent Blue Wave well at this year’s meet.
NCSA 14 & Under Nationals
Our program will then send swimmers to the 14 & Under NCSA national, also held in Orlando later in the month of March. With this meet as a focus, we help our swimmers and families understand the true size and scope of our sport. It allows us to instill lofty goals and higher standards. Let’s be honest. If you only swim locally, you are doing yourself a disservice. Sure. There is a need to experience every developmental stage, but if you do not know what is out there, it is hard to set goals in alignment with the people performing at the highest levels.
GTSA Spring Championships
We will finish our season with a prelims / finals meet in the beginning of April close to home in Tampa. This meet has been added to the event schedule because of we can finish the season as a team. Events are offered for every age and ability level. All USA Swimming registered swimmers may attend. It is also a prelims finals meet that offers more of our swimmers an opportunity for the second swim than say, the Senior Championships or FLAGS. Being in early April, rather than mid February, it gives our swimmers a longer season to prepare to do their best.
Breaking It Down
When you are charged with building a successful swim team, it is important to meet the needs of many different ages and abilities. Every swimmer should have events that meet their individual needs.I feel that the schedule described above does just that. I know I am speaking for the entire staff when I say we are all looking forward to some really fast swimming at all of these meets.
See you at the pool - Rich