Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Division II Team Championships

I take it by the number of hits since Sunday that most of you are looking for a Division II run down. Although I do not have a terrible amount to comment on about the meet, I will expand and comment on 4 key areas, my findings and feelings about each.

i.) Meet Depth: When HHBF finished 2nd 2 years ago, this meet was not terribly deep in any area. We cleaned up (usually 1st and second) in the 11-12 and 13-14 year old category in a number of events and had nothing to really offer in the 15 and over categories (save for a handful of athletes that were old enough to be in that category). Although some of the athletes that helped us in the 11-12 and 13-14 categories are no longer with the team, we are still able to do quite well in the 13-14 category and 15 & over category (now that those athletes are 2 years older). The meet, however, has changed in its depth. The 11-12 year old girls category was incredibly strong, as was 13-14 girls. However, it took very little to make top 8 in 15-16 year old girls and in many 17 &over events had less than 8 people entered. On the boys side, the 13-14 year old boys were stronger than the 15-16 year olds in 3 or 4 events and the 17& over boys were much stronger than in pervious years.

ii.) Meet Timing: I've never been really happy with this meet in April. This season, however, it added an increased wrinkle: Provincials were later than usual and this meet was only a few weeks after Olympic Trials. Therefore, there wasn't a ton of time to re-prep for the meet after taper time for provincials and Olympic Trials athletes (evidence of that can be seen in many of the 17&O events). Aside from that, almost everyone on HHBF (including my family) has been pummelled by illness this season and mostly in March/April. Lots of practice time lost due to illness. As a whole, I don't think we were as physically prepared as we could have been through no fault of our own.

iii.) Toughness and it's meaning: I think our club has come a very long way from the days of "My doctor says that I can't swim anything but freestyle" to watching 7 HHBF athletes swim 200FLY this past weekend, many for the first time. They didn't do it because they particularly enjoy the event, but rather, because the mentality of the club has changed. No longer do only the kids perceived as "specially talented" or "really good" do the tough events. Those events are opportunities the same as the others. We've taught precession and technique well over the last 4 seasons so that athletes can practice and train for these events. And guess what, none of the died or got injured. AND some of them even made qualification standards. Lets not confuse the words "toughness" and "speed" because they are 2 very different things and in a lot of cases, "toughness" has to be bread before "speed" can flourish. Can a swimmer in Gold be tougher than a swimmer in Elite? No doubt there are some right now (watch out, Elite swimmers; some tough kids coming up the ranks). The Gold swimmers aren't faster yet, but it'll come.

iv.) Fun: I felt that this meet was more fun than previous years and I cannot put my finger on why. Not just for us, but parents, swimmers, coaches, officials; they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. I really enjoyed the meet for what it was and hopefully athletes and parents can accept a successful meet in that regard. For once, best times didn't matter, standards didn't matter, it was just racing and which team could cheer louder. I loved it. My children loved it. Hopefully you did too.

Final results can be found here.