Tuesday, May 3, 2011

State of Affairs

This post comes on the heals of our jam packed long course meet held at McMaster University this past weekend. My impression is that the meet went well. Lots of GREAT swims and some very competitive and exciting races. Thank you to all who volunteered to make the weekend successful. I saw lots of parents around whose kids could not make it to the meet. EXCELLENT and selfless support coming from those families, thank you! Overall, 4 club records downed (Kyle Haas and Emma Fender) and a lot of well swum races. I was very proud of HHBF.

UPDATE: Make that 5 club records downed, add Matt Fox to the list of record breakers.

Update: make that 6 club records and also add Bjoern-Ole Schrader to the list.

A summary of how we're doing:

We are miles deeper and better than we were last season (and last season we were miles ahead of where we were the season before). Using 100FR as a baseline event, last season at this time, we had a total of 33 athletes under 1:20 (either LC or SC). Currently, we have 51 (and 5 who have not yet swum 100FR this season, but will likely be under). Of those 33 athletes last season, 15 of them were under 1:10. This season, 24 athletes are under this 1:10 mark. We also almost quadrupled the amount of athletes we had under 1:05 (last season 4, this season 15). It should be noted that none of these improvements from last season were made from gaining athletes who were already at this level: We developed everything we have.

Using all events as a baseline, last season we had 16 athletes qualified for Central Region championships (B standards) and 2 people over qualified. This season we currently sit at 22 athletes qualified with 4 additional athletes over qualified. This season, HHBF has seen over 40 club records broken (not including the records that have been broken more than once: by my count, the total would be over 70 in that case). Aside from all this, we have SO many athletes hovering around the standards and records that it is impossible to keep count. For example, when the boys 400FR record was broken this weekend, we currently have 4 boys (1 of them in the age group below) hovering close to that record.

Last season at this time, HHBF had 8 provincial qualifiers and gained 1 more at Central Regions. Right now, we have a total of 10 and hope to gain 2 more at Central Regions (and to solidify up their prereqs). Fair well and good luck to perennial Provincial qualifier and top 8 finisher, Karl Massey as he follows passion into the Canadian Military. Sadly, he will not join us at Provincials or Age Group Championships this summer.

Last year, HHBF had 4 athletes qualified for Age Group Championships in Winnipeg. Currently, we have 7 athletes qualified (including Karl, who will not be able to participate) with the possibility of another 3 qualifying before the deadline. As we approach the meet we sit with 2 athletes (Kyle Haas and Matt Fox) in position to medal in more than 1 event. We will also likely be sending an athlete to Senior Nationals for the first time in 3 years (we have only ever sent 1 athlete before).

Update: Also at this time last year we had been demolished by Milton at the Halton Cup and later fell in June due to very low participation from HHBF. We emerged well ahead in February from the first match up. Going into June, we must make ourselves available to win the Halton Cup for the first time on June 25th. PLEASE MAKE THIS PART OF YOUR PLANS. It is a championship that we deserve but we cannot do it without club participation.

HHBF is so much better than we get credit for, and in a lot of cases, give ourselves credit for. Every time I post stuff like this, the response is great and people are motivated... for a while, then other things (life) happens and priorities get readjusted. Swimming has a long season... there really isn't much of an off season; thats the nature of the sport. The BIG championships are held in June/July. I know that everyone wants to enjoy the whether, but results of those championships reflect what kind of work was done through April and May. I believe that our team has a much better understanding of this fact. From the looks of the old LC records, I'm not confident that we used to.

Earlier this season, I got overwhelming responses in regards to participating in the Ontario Open Water Championships in Brampton in July when I stated that I wanted to see more athletes in it. I'm not sure what the participation intent is right now, but make no mistake, 3km or 5km or 10km of open water swimming is NOT EASY and doesn't happen without training. You cannot expect to do well (or complete) at these events if you're not training. The equivalent would be entering a marathon after doing light jogs every so often. Quite simply, you'd have to be crazy to approach it that way. I hope that everyone who intends on participating appreciates this.

Finally, 12 year old, Emma Fender has officially become the fastest breaststroker in HHBF history by shattering the 11-12 year old girls 50BR club record in a time of 39.86, which also beats the club records in all other age groups and all other splits done in other age groups (except for Kate Chapman's 15&over SC 100BR done in 2000). I expect that someone else will break that record soon... because thats what records are for.

I will leave you with a completely unrelated video that my cousin (Paul DeCarli, a pioneer in the field of digital music editing) turned me on to earlier today. Please watch and enjoy. In the state of current world affairs, I find it a great message! Take care.