Back in November, I was able to make the Central Region Qualifying Times available on this blog with a brief explanation as to why they were set the way they were and why they were released so late and my displeasure with the decision.
"2 seasons ago, the Region held a meeting with coaches, where we decided the purpose of the meet and the standards. Since then, coaches voices seem to have taken a back seat to Central Region Board members, meet managers and Ontario Officials (after all, what do we know? We're just the paid professionals). Coaches wanted a higher quality meet and a true "championship" . The people running the meet decided that there would be too much "unused pool time"and that the meet should be opened up to more athletes in order to generate more revenue and use more pool time. Coaches (led by former Olympian, Oakville's Laura Nicholls) pointed out that the drop to a "D" standard would create much longer sessions and worse swimming (waiting 3-5 hours to race a 400 or 1500, for example).
A meeting was held this past Thursday (unfortunately, I was unable to attend personally). The final decision was that the Central Region Championships Qualifying Times would be set at a "C" standard + 2.5%."
As I pointed out, a drop in standards diluted the meet and filled it up beyond typical capacity. "How can I tell before the entries are submitted," you ask? One major change speaks volumes: 800FR & 1500FR.
In previous seasons, the 800FR and 1500FR were held on opposite days and allowed swimmers to compete in both events (as is the case with Provincials, Easterns, Age Group Champs and Senior Nats). This season, both events are being held on Thursday night and athletes must (inexplicably) choose between one event or the other. My main fear here was that meet management and the Central Region Board realized that there was not enough time or space to open up both events to all of the qualifiers due to a meet that was too full (a fear that was confirmed by the Central Region Regional Coach's Representative by email earlier this morning). I hate to say "I told you so," folks, but the concern about filling the meet and getting more income ($) was far more valued than the experience of the swimmers in this case. The meet is too full to allow you (the regional level distance swimmer) perform and excel in your best events... you must choose only 1 while everyone else gets to swim what they're good at.
Distance swimmers are being punished for no reason here. I think that this level of swimmer (especially distance swimmer) is being undermined so that host clubs and the board can charge more and get more. I'm worried because of 1 statement made by a Swim Ontario employee recently, that in order for Canada to thrive in swimming, Ontario must thrive in swimming (I believe it is because of the population). By that logic, Ontario cannot thrive unless the Central Region (again, population) thrives. Short sightedness such as this is indicative of a big problem. Why can't these kids race. Not like the meet doesn't pay for itself.