Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Easterns 2010

I was in Ottawa over the weekend, more accurately Nepean, to coach at the Eastern Canadian Championships.

No one from my group qualified for the meet but I did go to help the TSC head coach work with 26 or so young athletes. There were a few swimmers there who were in my group last year but for the most part it was the well established "stars" of our club at the meet.

I noticed a few things about the sport of swimming in Canada at this point in time...

1. I do not understand why we seperate the entire competition into age groups all the time. Young athletes under 16 rarely or never race 17 and over athletes until they race at Nationals. At this level of meet should we not encourage pitting the best against the best regardless of age to try and facilitate a higher standard of competition, instead of worrying about getting everyone a second swim.

2. Too many of the 14, 15, 16 year olds are protected from racing older, stronger, taller, and more athletic athletes until they are 17, which ultimately builds up an athlete for disappointment once they turn 17 and they can no longer just dominate kids their own age.

3. Time standards for Easterns are just all messed up. There are too many kids at the meet, the qualifying times need to be much faster in just about every event.

4. Canada needs more long course pools that can properly facilitate meets of this caliber because the aging Nepean complex is just a mess when it comes to fitting large numbers of kids into it's facility... good thing they are only hosting three large meets this season...

5. A lot of coaches sacrafice smart swimming for age group speed... this is short sighted and why too many of Canada's young and promising swimmers reach an advanced age and disappear from the scene... It just takes a little work to fix strokes and more importantly teach some race strategy other then just "put it on the line" and "get out front fast".

6. These kids miss their LZR and polyurathane suits... but not as much as I may have thought they would have missed the speedy suits.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Restart This Engine

The first three or four months of running this group has been a mighty fine whirlwind.

Lots of very good stuff going on, the group swam very well at their meets in December, January, and topped it off with 13 of 15 swimmers going a best time at their Championship meet in early February.

13 of 15. This is a significant achievement for a group once written off as a bunch of misfits.

Instead, the culture of the group has changed, there is a significant core of young athletes with goals and a clear committment to doing the work that it takes to achieve those goals.

For my group the Championship meet for the short course season was the Central Region Championships.. and I will post a rundown on results from that meet in the coming days.