Australia Axes Sem-Finals & Cuts World-Title Trials To 5 Days In Response To Rio

Kyle Chalmers by Patrick B. Kraemer
Kyle Chalmers by Patrick B. Kraemer

Swimming Australia is scrapping semi-finals and cutting short its trials for major events in the wake of a nightmare outcome for its biggest golden shots at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

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Comments

commonwombat

Tending to think Verhaeren has it right in stating that the depth simply isnt there across 95% of events to make semis meaningful.

Changing the timing of Trials certainly needs to be tried but it WILL take a couple of years to fine-tune given the entire AUS competitive season will need to move accordingly.

Pre-selecting …… would like to hear more on that one. MY view on 2018 Comm Games is probably controversial but I do think they really need to reassess priorities for that year.

To my mind, the number one priority in 2018 for Commonwealth swimming nations should NOT be Comm Games in early April but rather PanPacs in Aug (where you’re playing in the big league with USA/JAP/CHN present) for both AUS & CAN & Europeans (at same time) for the Brits.

With that in mind, AUS should hold the Trials for Pan Pacs closer to the event and select the team for CommGames from juniors and those seniors who are intending to bow out at this time/not continue to Tokyo. Perhaps CAN should look at the same & I’m not sure the Brits should be looking to send their top seeds across the globe out of season when they have a higher quality international meet at home “in season”.

aswimfan

Australia needs to move the dates of the trials much closer to the Games, if only to achieve one thing:
– less media hype, and therefore less pressure.

commonwombat

Losing TV coverage of Trials would also help in that regard !

Moving Trials is not just the dead simple operation many may think. To a large degree, AUS is a prisoner of its geographic location with the domestic competitive season being through the AUS summer into early autumn (winter/early spring for most of its competitors.

To move Trials, you would then need to shift the entire AUS domestic season accordingly and this would probably take 1-2 years to smooth out …… so don’t necessarily expect instant transformation.

Selection procedure and timing of Trials are certainly key issues but they are far from the whole picture. Many issues pertaining to administration but more importantly swimmers & coaches are “cultural” and may be a few Olympic cycles in roll-out …… that is IF Swimming AUS have the gonads to go down such paths and not just take the easy path of just changing dates.

aswimfan

Another thing:
SAL needs to get rid of that useless grand prix held before the Olympics before the Olympics. Those grandprix is so devoid of pressure that it’s actually the opposite of Olympics environment.
Should have just held proper trials instead in that week.

Craig Lord

I’m not sure it would be healthy for Australia to put what unfolded as down to any ‘media hype’ aswimfan. The fact is that when you have three double world champions and two others who are the fastest ever over 100m free – and by big margins – over 100m free (one all suits, one textile) and an Olympic Games goes by with just one of those five people collecting the sole medal, a silver, among all of them, looking at ‘external’ forces in pursuit of things to blame and reasons to pin the result on is simply not good enough. There are issues that run deeper, including governance and management matters. The question is ‘how do you take five supreme athletes to an Olympics with nine very clear medal chances but come away with one silver’? … the search for the answer, for the sake of Australia’s swimming future, must go much further that the swimmer blew it or even the swimmer/coach blew it or even those in charge of the Rio team blew it. There may be issues to face in all those scenarios but there is likely to be a root to all of that, one that grew well before anyone got near Rio. In some ways, there was just as much pressure/expectation on the Britain swim team in Rio as there had been in London (less deep and wide focus because not a home Games but expectation nonetheless) and yet the result was somewhat different and one that was assisted by the presence of several athletes with chances, avoiding the issues associated with having just one athlete as the overwhelming golden shot – and yet a similar scenario in Australia (many golden shots) did not appear to be a force for good. The issues are complex. ‘Media hype’ (and I don’t think stating the extraordinary aspect of 47 flat and 52 flat etc is hype; and media ‘hype’, like birth and death, will be with us always when it comes to the biggest of sporting moments) is a minor factor if the management and development of athletes is on song.

aswimfan

Craig,

That’s not what I meant.
I never proposed that there should be no media hype, which is impossible to to do anyway.
I am proposing that by moving the trials a lot closer to Rio, the media hype will be limited. Not only that, their time away from swimming to do media engagement would also be minimised.

Not as proof of my point, but as an acnedote, in Rio, it was the swimmers who were not in the spotlight who did really well and better than expected: Kyle Chalmers, Groves, Horton.
All the their top stars flopped.

People react differently to hype and pressure. Some people do well, like Phelps or Ledecky, and some others not so much.

Before 2015 Kazan, we didn’t hear much about Aussie swimmers chances, and there was little hype. And they did well in Kazan.

Before London, Magnussen and their men4x100 were hyped up by the media so much that they believe in their own hype. On the opposite, often neglected Alicia Coutts came away with 5 medals including 1 gold.

It was good that Chalmers didn’t go a 47 in the trials, otherwise he’d have been hounded and hyped up by Australian media to no end.

It does seem that for swimming Australia, Rio was a result of series of poor choices.

1. How to explain the decision of not swimming Macevoy in 200 free (which maybe a bit acceptable) and 4×200 (not acceptable at all).
2. It was great that Cate broke the WR, but how did it happen? I thought that breaking WR would finally relieve her of pressure, but was I so wrong. It must have been a while since a swimmer swimmer broke WR in a non-trials meet just a few weeks before the Olympics. If the explanation is that Cate can swim fast anytime anywhere, then how to explain her gigantic mental collapse in Rio final?
3. There were some troubling signs during the trials: some swimmers didn’t look too fit but qualified nevertheless. Magnussen and Seebohm seemed to relying more on their talent instead of the level of hard work that brought them success in the past (this happened in 2012 too when Leisel Jones qualified). Moving the trials closer to the Games would keep such swimmers on their toes.
4. I can’t be certain but I don’t think any Australian olympics swimmers went to Europe to compete in Mare Nostrum/7 hills meets. Instead they swam in the questionable “grand prix” events where they swam against their own team mates and the juniors. Some have criticized that Aussie swimmers are not race-tough.

on top of my head, only Chalmers, Horton (just barely in 400, and much slower in 1500), Packard, Ashwood, Cook, and Groves that bettered their times from trials/past year.

That’s only 6 out of 34.
Not good at all.
But it would have been even great for Australia had their top swimmers at least went anywhere near their PBs from the last year .

Craig Lord

Yes, I see those points aswimfan. And this is some of what I meant. What I’m suggesting is that it is the job of Swimming Australia to create the right environment and culture in which expectation is not a burden (as it so clearly turned out to be in Rio) but a buoy. Every team, including the USA, has folk who will be affected more than others by the nerves that flow as they prepared to walk out for an Olympic final; within each of those teams there are those who can handle it all better than others, sometimes subtly but significantly, sometimes in a blindingly obvious way; that nine medal chances, most of those golden chances, convert to one silver from a nation that has stacked up in intl waters time and time again (including all of those on that list of nine chances) suggests issues that go beyond the timing of trials and whatever it was that happened in Rio. The questions are manyfold, including those that touch on the one that asks ‘how is it possible for a group of supreme athletes who have said myriad times that they have learned from an early age to focus on only their own lane and their own performance to suddenly be quite so dramatically affected by circumstance, ‘hype’ and all the rest of it just at the moment that all that practice and preparation has been all about (or has it; or should it be viewed so; etc)? I’m not sure holding trials 3 months out or 1 month put would solve that ‘hype’ situation at all: the mass media would still be there descending on situations and talking up chances in those last 2 critical weeks before the big one; the WR set at trials would still be there to make swimmer X a golden shot and ‘favourite’ etc. The conversion rate you speak of tells me that ‘hype’ is a far smaller factor than cycles and choices and the pace and timing of progress through an Olympic cycle. Struggling with pressure? We’re all different and we all handle that same things differently on different occasions. That just about all your big hitters fall shy of best handling of pressure at the Olympic Games suggests that Australia need to look back in time and relearn lessons that served them so well on many occasions in the past. There is a sense of softness about some of the background approaches to performance in Australia in a few sports of late; a sense that Don Talbot and folk had it wrong and were too harsh/too tough etc. That change can be a great thing and adapting to changing circumstances is a fine thing, too, is a no-brainer but with Australia of late, it feels like the system has thrown the baby out with the bath water to some extent. I don’t think that only comes down to race toughness and ‘race toughness’ needs defining. As Bob Bowman once stated: ‘every time Michael or any of my swimmers turn up to race, there is a purpose to it. There’s a reason why they are there whatever stage of training we’re in.’ I see tons of events – in Australia and elsewhere, the world cups a prime example, where a great many, from well-known elite right through the ranks, are racing well away from the 3, 2, 1 per cent of best through rounds. You then have to ask yourself what purpose there is in a swimmer turning up to work cups or any other event and racing a heat time over 100m 4, 5 and more seconds down on best and then a final 2sec and more away from best. If all that racing is there to make swimming an entertaining sport, it isn’t working. New formats need to be found – and ‘racing rough’ needs to mean meaningful challenge geared at “X Y and Z” (whatever the goal is).

commonwombat

If I may weigh back in ??

ASF’s point re hype has some legit merit as the gap between Trials allows media & corporates seeking to maximise exposure to build up profiles of “their swimmers” or those seen as the best prospects. All too often, this may prove a distraction especially with those who are obliging by nature.

Can agree with 2/3 of your “underdogs” but probably only a 0.5 on Groves. Right on her game in 200fly but awful in 100fly and relay heats.

Of your “faster than” 6; Ashwood’s 400 heat was faster than her Trials but slower than last year’s Worlds. Packard’s heat swim was a PB but he couldn’t back up in semis.

Will agree with using Seebohm as a potential case of resting on laurels but your other 2 cases don’t quite stack up. Magnussen performed “as expected”/as per his formline post operation; too many still visualised the Magnussen pre-operation. Jones 2012 vintage was by no means a tourist but rather a case of a swimmer who went one Olympic cycle too many.

The C1/C2 situation ? With C2, the evidence was there throughout the lead-in that she was injury hampered and not going to be at her peak. With big sister; clearly she peaked too early as evidenced by the WR in July. What I think happened in the 100 in Rio was that she realised that she WASN’T in WR shape and Oleksiak’s SF swim “rattled her”/got in her head. Voila …

McEvoy & the 200 ?? He’s always been inconsistent in that event, even when his 100 is firing. He clearly wasn’t on his game for whatever reason in Rio so not sure he’d have made any impacts individually. As per the relay; McKeon was put in to replace him and swam so far beyond himself it was astonishing …… questionable that McEvoy would have been within a second of his split. Arguably 3/4 of that quartet swam as well as they did due to there being ZERO expectations.

AUS hasn’t been to Mare Nostrum for at least 4 years. “Half strength” squads were send to Japan Cup & to Santa Clara. Am all for maximising the JAP relationship but would also agree with returning to Mare Nostrum. Should Swimming AUS proceed with a change in Trials dates, which in turn will necessitate a change in the AUS season; maybe they should look at “infiltrating” the US Grand Prix series ?

I tend to be on the same page as Craig with regards to the question of toughness/complacency. It could be argued that AUS Swimming has become a bit of a “bubble” in some respects. Very few swimmers, and next to no national team members, train outside of AUS; the overwhelming majority of coaches are products of “the system” which is similarly insular with only a few (Rollason notably) taking up opportunities elsewhere.

Whilst I’m non-commital re swimmers taking the NCAA route (it’ll work for some, not for others); I DO think AUS Swimming would benefit by some of the next generation of coaches taking up NCAA coaching posts. This experience from “outside the bubble” then filters through to their charges when they return to AUS.

THIS, I feel, is one of the key ways of effecting the cultural change needed in AUS swimming but its likely to be a couple of cycles work … just as it was with GBR. Administrative overhaul is part of the process but that again will take time.

Some issues are purely internal pertaining to swimming whereas others are linked with the entire AUS Olympic sports edifice. You are absolutely correct, Craig, in suggesting that swimming is merely the most prominent patient of a malaise in AUS Olympic sport,

aswimfan

Re:mcEvoy, I disagree that he wasn’t on his game. He split 47.0 in the 4x1free relay. I think that’s his fastest ever split in 4×100 free (I know that his 4x100medley split in Kazan was faster).
Even Chalmers only split 47.3 or something and Chalmers is a great relay swimmer. It doesn’t explain his performance in the final which Verhaeren described as “stage fright”.
My theory is that when the coaches so suddenly yanked him out of 4×200 relay it destabilized him and made him doubt himself. McEvoy NOT swimming 4×200 final was NEVER a plan, and it was only made just hours before the 4×200 final and one day before 100 free final.
Also, Daniel Smith split 1:47.4 in that relay final.
Australia could have easily gotten bronze or even silver with mcEvoy. Australia’s gap with Japan and GBR were 0.6 and 1.0 seconds respectively.
I really don’t understand why the coaches suddenly start to treat mcEvoy like a porcelain who couldn’t handle swimming an extra 200 free with one day rest before the 100 final, even after swimming 4 years internationally with full schedule. Pieter Timmers and Duncan Scott did it. Swimming extra 200 free the night before seemed to make them even faster in 100 free final.
You just cannot explain the Aussie coaches decision.
You must remember there was some immediate rumors that mcEvoy had some flu and we initially thought that was why he was pulled from 4×200, but both mcEvoy and verhaeren denied it and in the press conference mcEvoy said he was not sick and simply said that he trusted the coaches to make that decision.

C2 was mighty fine in the trials, and she split 52.15 in the relays which was by far the second fastest split among all would be 100 free finalists behind her sister (Sjostrom was 52.47 and Oleksiak only split 52.7). So she was in similar condition as in trials or Kazan. That’s why her 100 free final performance was head scratching as well. Even Emma mckeon who only leadoff in 53.4 was able to bounce back and swam practically very close to her PBs in 100 fly and 200 free. As a comparison, Manuel lead off relay in 53.3 and then 52.7 in 100 free (granted, on the second 50 she was drafting Cate who was circle swimming from sitting right next to Oleksiak and zigzagging to Manuel’s. That was by far the worst swim I’ve ever seen of Cate, and her last 5 meters was among the most painful I’ve seen, she just stopped dead). As for possibility that she was being rattled by Oleksiak after the semi swim, well, not sure how I would respond. If it’s (being easily rattled) really in her mentality, her coach should have known long time ago and should have done something about it. It’s clear the sisters were affected mentally they couldn’t swim their best in the final.

I have never said that Leisel Jones was tourist in London, I also will never say that Seebohm and Magnussen were tourists in Rio (or anywhere else because they’ve all paid their dues), but it was clear they didn’t put in as much work as before. Earlier this year we all heard how Seebohm didn’t train as hard compared to pre-kazan with her former coach). We can only guess if her relationship with Larkin was a distraction. And Just by looking at Magnussen in Rio we can say that he needed to lose a few kilograms. I was disappointed, I thought he would try to redeem his performance in 4×100 free London where he mentally collapsed just like mcEvoy in 100 free final.

In London, at least Magnussen managed to win silver just 0.01 behind. In Rio, the collapse of Cate, Bronte, Cameron and Emily were just too incomprehensible. In previous Olympics, the biggest upsets at least still left the favorites with medal (Phelps in 200 fly London, Jones in 200 breast Beijing, Jones in 100 breast Athens, O’Neil in 200 fly Sydney etc), so the fact that c1, c2, Emily and cam all came home with no individual medal was unthinkable and yet it happened. I really can’t remember when was the last time the two prohibitive favorites to win men and women Olympics 100 free ended up finishing 7th. Maybe never?

longstroke

I tend to agree with asf re Cameron McEvoy. He went 47 dead in the relay. Nathan Adrian went 46.98(from memory) while Chalmers went 47.23(again from memory). But remember Adrian had clear water while McEvoy and Chalmers swam in the wash. If you had to rate their chances for individual gold on the strength of what they did in the relay you would have put McEvoy first, Chalmers second and Adrian third. It’s now history that Chalmers won gold and Adrian bronze. Why did McEvoy fall away so badly? I suspect it was because he could see he wasn’t quite at the level of 47.04 from the trials and started to worry. In that situation often the best remedy is simply to get stuck into it. By withdrawing him from the 200FS and the 4X200 the Australian coaches erred badly – it only reinforced in McEvoy’s mind that he was off his game.

I also agree with commonwombat about making the Pan Pacs the priority in 2018 and not the Commonwealth Games. I don’t know why Australia always places such a high emphasis on the latter when it’s only a Mickey Mouse event. I would like to see Australia have their trials in March ie. 4 to 5 weeks before the Commonwealth Games. If more than 40% of swimmers improve from trials to Commonwealths then Swimming Australia can look seriously about introducing a similar system for the bigger events(I picked 40% because it’s still significantly better than the conversion rates from trials to the big event for most of the last two decades). If performances deteriorate at the Pan Pacs in August it would strengthen the view that having trials 4-5 weeks out is the way to go.

Craig Lord

longstroke, what you and others say may hold some truth, though such things are hard to measure and impossible to prove. You do allude, however, to something that was obvious and significant: McEvoy is slight and light. I a race he leads by a significant margin and in which he is never behind, the wash you refer to is not going to knock him. Place him behind that wave and you can have a very different result. He needed to be on his game 1000% in Rio. He wasn’t and it showed in a result that may look like he ‘worried’, ‘wobbled’ ‘froze’ etc (and a touch of all of that may be at play) but watch the race back and you see the measurables in the mix. The wave you mention was more significant than has been given to it. As for Mickey Mouse events (like the world cup), I don’t feel the men’s breaststroke, women’s medley, women’s freestyle and many other events quite fit that bill. Obv. it is useful to take on the USA but even at Pan Pacs, Australia often does that with the USA not at its best, so again, a false picture can emerge, one that builds false confidence unless the issues that played into the Rio outcome are dealt with (no matter how many times you line up against the USA and celebrate X, Y and state Z must improve). The C Games is not a mickey mouse event in swimming these days… indeed, AUS will need to be on its Game – and how – in the face of British home nations and Canadian improvements. The other thing to consider: the two events are not close to each other on the calendar in 2018.

commonwombat

Craig, somewhat disagree with you re Pan Pacs. Whilst it is correct that USA does not always send its peak squad, it has had lower priority than CG for AUS.

When it comes to CG; whilst I fully concur that you can see world leading performances and in some events; it will take that class of time to medal; it is still exceedingly uneven in quality and all too frequently very “soft” to make finals.

My point re “priorities is this. For the Home Nations/GBR; isn’t it the case that Euros will be at home and arguably the tougher competition across the board. Why try and peak twice a year, especially with the other meet being well out of season & involving major travel ….. plus a generally lower standard of competition.

For AUS & CAN; whilst the Brits would most certainly be major challengers in certain events; would they measure up to what USA/CHN/JAP would put up across the board ? As for RSA, the old $$$ issue …. which one ?

As for the gap between, there was a similar situation in 2006 but USA still kicked AUS firmly in the gluteus maximus …. partly due to many AUS swimmers “begging off”.

As to the McEvoy/200 situation; all any of us can do is make our own surmisal of what “went down”; none of us were there and nobody has given us the full story. As it was, the decision re the individual 200 was made months ahead.

As for the relay, what part did McEvoy & his coach play in this ? Longstroke’s surmising that the4x100 swim may’ve thrown some doubts into his/their minds may have some credence as may his 100 heats.

Lets also take into account HIS record over 200 & especially that relay. I feel that people rushed to the assumption that he would’ve been the difference between them medalling and not when his record is actually one of “bodging it” (2014 CG/PP) than not.

The original plan was for him to come in for Hansford (1.47high in heats) as McKeon had been dropped after his awful individual 200 but this meant McKeon in for Hansford instead. My personal view is that all bar Smith went out in that final thinking “we’re out in an outside lane, there’s little pressure on us so lets just give it a whack” and it played out accordingly. Had it been a situation where a medal was expected ………

Craig Lord

We know the answer, commonwombat: I understand the arguments and some are valid (not all in terms of significance in my opinion, they sound like softness (things like peaking twice a year away from OG season 🙂 but what you and those who advocate such things are asking Australian swimming to do is disregard thoughts that it might ‘lose’ a home swim meet at the Gold Coast Games if it fields a team not ready to race in peak or close to peak form (with GB home nations and Canada on the rise, the threat is all the greater). Others may not understand but we surely understand the cultural and funding pressure and public perceptions at play here. All such arguments, however – and this is my main point – pale by comparison to the real issues (you touch on it in your last point) that Australia (and others) have to face when it comes to providing the development environment that helps to deliver towering talent to an Olympic Games in winning form in the same way that the USA – and on this occasion GBR and on other occasions others too but not nearly as consistently as the USA – manages to convert come the hour. Look at the Super Series, look at the state titles, look at various other non-pressure but non-peak and in-training moments: they were ‘better’ and in some cases distinctly faster than the gold-shot athlete in question mustered and managed in Rio. It is clear that Australia knows how to develop world-beating swimmers; it is clear that it knows how to get those to their blocks in shape to perform; it is clear that something went very badly wrong in/leading up to Rio – and I don’t believe that single issues (such as racing tough; mental training; whatever, whatever) nor blaming the athletes, nor even the coaches, are the solution. All – including blazers – need to take a long hard look at how what came to pass could have happened … only then will solutions be found. Simply making the Pan Pacs a priority over the C Games is not going to lessen the risk of Rio mark II. I recall in the past O cycle the Pan Pacs being used as the priority event in 2014 and Australians did indeed step up in many instances (so I’m not sure it is right to say that Glasgow 2014 took precedent over Pan Pacs 2014, where many efforts were better than they had been in Glasgow; the Australians stepped up again at world titles and excelled (and that is why I play down the mentions of ‘media hype’ in this thread – it is not hype to note that Australia did bloody well – it is fact; what follows from media and others is something neither swimmers nor coaches should worry about provided they don’t play the game of others, provided that they stick to their jobs and schedules and refuse to be thrown off course by external events). All the signs were there for a great Games in the pool, including mental strength, proven abilities to step up and win world and pan pac titles etc… if we’re talking priorities, there is only one that matters in the end: Olympic Games. Long before the USA gets to an Olympic Games, it has stacked many cards in its favour. Yes, Australia must find a way to make its seasons and its competitive challenges play a positive role in the Olympic process but I genuinely don’t see the single issues raised as the solutions required to make sure Australia steps up to full potential in Tokyo four years from now. And I think it fair to Australia to note that despite a golden-shot catastrophe, it still outswam all other nations barring the one that thumped the rest of the world. The issues are complex and there is an element of ‘imperfect storm’ about Australia’s Rio result: was it for the same reason(s) that Emily did not step up the same as why Cate did not step up, the same as why Bronte and Mitch did not find their 2015 form, why it panned out as it did for Cameron? The answer is likely to be both yes and no, some general issues at play, some specific and personal issues at play, both those things meeting at an interface controlled not just by swimmer and coach but by system and leadership.

commonwombat

Fair points, Craig, and in fact I fully concur that there IS no “one stop shop” solution for AUS swimming. The fear that I have is that, as is often the case with AUS sport, they will look to make certain (admittedly necessary) adjustments without addressing the cultural issues that are proving inhibiting factors.

Moving Trials to the shortest possible lag time for the major meet is something I completely agree with but this will also necessitate a shift of the AUS competitive season. In honesty this will take a year or so to iron out but the fear is that those looking for instant fixes will be loud in proclaiming it a failure without giving it a proper roll-out.

As for “cultural issues”, much probably lies with the insularity of AUS swimming. The spread of talent, over recent decades, has been such that it has possibly bred a degree of “self satisfaction” that AUS swimmers need not look outside AUS for their development. Whilst there have been a smattering of outstanding overseas coaches who have “done time” in AUS (Pursley, Touretski, Verhaeren); almost all leading coaches have been products of the AUS system with little/no outside experience barring those who have left the system and not returned. Hence my view re next generation coaches taking overseas/NCAA posts before “settling down”

Queensland has come to be seen as the powerhouse of AUS swimming yet it was the swimmers from other states who stepped up for gold in Rio. Has previous success bred self-satisfaction/complacency in the major SEQ squads over the past decades ?

You made an earlier observation with regards to other AUS Olympic sports, Craig, and you are bang on the money !! Swimming is merely the poster child but other sports have developed similar traits of winning at World level but continually falling short at Olympic level; insularity and continued “stick with the system”/products of the system despite the Olympic record as well as becoming centred on specific states.

As for CG; maybe we can agree to disagree re 2014. Some Aussies held their level of performance from CG to PP, 1-2 may’ve performed better whilst others had tapered off.

In all honesty, CG no longer has the “cachet” it may’ve had in the past in AUS. Certainly, the public interest has fallen dramatically nor is there the corporate interest. 2018 will certainly be a much “leaner” budget exercise than 2006 (last Games in AUS). For a couple of sports, the level of competition WILL be such that it is World Championship level; in other sports the competition standard will be that of a strong intl tournament/comp whereas in others like swimming/athletics the depth of quality will be extremely variable.

My view for AUS is that you use it as an opportunity for your next generation swimmers and an exit for those swimmers looking to call it a day at that point/NOT continue to Tokyo. Arguably, home nations may choose to look at it similarly ?

Your comment re media pressure/commercial interests is something that I would agree with …. in principle. Regrettably, it has been the case that it HAS proven a distraction for more than a few AUS swimmers in recent cycles. There have been admission of such from their coaches (ie Cusack re C1). Again, its something that should be managed better, both by swimmers/coaches AND officialdom. Not having the 4 month lag time between being selected and the main event may certainly help. Arguably losing TV coverage may not be an utter tragedy either ! LOL.

Will some of the Rio “casualties” bounce back/recover ?? Some may; some will probably collect their superannuation either now or at CG; others may be irreparably scarred. What I AM sure of is that there is no one-stop shop solution and that certain cultural issues will be a number of cycles in “readjusting”. What I am not confident of is the capacity of Swimming AUS to fully address said issues rather than just look at scheduling/”the mechanics”.

An interesting four years ahead of us !!

Craig Lord

Thanks for those thoughts CW. Yes, an interesting time ahead, as ever. It would be good to feel the wider world of sports media and audiences felt the same but it seems to me that swimming is just as much a once every four years sport now as it was in the 1990s despite the best efforts of FINA & Co to promote ‘more means more’ when it often means so much less. More on all of that soon.

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