Monday, August 01, 2011

Memo to USA Swimming: You fielded a great team at the '2011 FINA World Championships of Swimming" but there are some red flags!

UPDATE: Wrote this in a hurry - fixed some of the grammar and typos

I will be laconic and get straight to the point:
  1. Open water safety policies have got to be codified by you and not FINA!
  2. Colleges swim programs are shutting down - or there goes your "R&D Division"
  3. The world has caught up, quit running on momentum
SCAQ Blog suggestions, and readers are welcome to contribute. Colorado Springs reads this blog and I have evidence to prove it. Even the USOC reads this blog from time to time so please offers your suggestions. Your suggestions will be better than mine I am quite sure:

Open water policies:

I see something oxymoronic about the fact that you can only advise swimmers not to compete in an open water swim but then have a right to pull them out of the water against their will. I find it hard to believe that is the rule which many readers insist is true though a lawyer I spoke with is doubtful.

More people have died in open water swimming events that in any UFC/MMA cage fight combined. Get a policy together that protects USA Swimmers and don't leave it up to FINA. Seriously! Lives are at stake.

College Programs:

Which is emptying out quicker: Detroit or NCAA mens college swimming programs? (I'll take college programs for $100, Alex.)

You should be making alliances with the NCAA or offering up state college scholarships for those kids that win a medal at Junior Olympics a "Junior Nationals." If you are completely ineffectual in keeping college programs open via the NCAA, then it is time to offer the scholarship programs yourself. I would donate to that for sure.

The World Has Caught Up:

You appear to be running on momentum. Stop that! why is it that best the sprinters in the world come her to learn and then hand us our asses in competition? I suspect "Ivory-Tower-like," centralized coaching and not enough people talking to one another and sharing.

Bousquet and Cielo went to Auburn, shouldn't that coach be a paid consultant in some form from time-to-time?

We have weaknesses in backstroke and breaststroke: What are you going to do about it - where is the technology?


Anonymous said...

The Junior Olympic idea won't work because each LSC has different JO time standards.

Example: 17-18 y/o girls 500 sc yards

Pacific Swimming (Northern CA) 5:51.79.

Central CA Swimming - 6:07.79

Southern CA Swimming - 5:29.50 (summer) 5:19.00 (spring).

I was really surprised to learn that the standards were not the same throughout the United States!

Tony Austin said...

So, there is no collective, singular, US Nationals like there are for the Olympics but rather a bunch of them?

Anonymous said...

There is a US Nationals and Jr. Nationals in which time standards are set by USA Swimming.

The LSC's are able to set their own Junior Olympic time standards. They set the times based on a percentage to limit participation. Even the NCAA times from 17-18 year olds are factored in.

I believe there are about 53 LSC's and they all have their own time standards.

I do know of teams who have traveled to other LSC's so many more of their athletes would be able to compete. (Kids are excited to attend the Junior Olympics).

I think the standards should be the same for all LSC's.

Tony Austin said...

The best middle late teens: (15-18) in the nation who have the grades should be rewarded with a scholarship. Top swimmer in each event gets a 4-year scholarship. Perhaps relays if the money is there.

This would keep a lot of kids with talent reaching for that gift.

The average state college tuition is $7,620 according to That is $30,000 for a four year scholarship

So, 30-kids or so would get $1-million dollars in 4-year scholarships.

Keep in mind that US Swimming spent $833,000 on furniture and equipment in 2009 I think. (You can look up their form 990 on this blog.)

USA Swimming brings in about $34-million a year - the money is there or the infrastructure is there to raise it. They spend something like $2.4-million in salaries if I remember correctly

Share some wealth here!

Anonymous said...

The #1 ranked swimmers are already receiving full scholarships to places like USC.

I think USA Swimming should partner with the Universities to reopen the swim programs that have disappeared. Their goal should be to have a swim program in every college/university.

Providing more opportunities for more competitors, I believe, is the key to success.

People seem to forget that men do not finish growing until age 25. Physical and mental development is different for each person and not all athletes start swimming at age 7 or 8.

Tony Austin said...

You bring up some good points.

My premise is that swimming programs for men will continue to shrink and thereby afford less scholarship opps.


Anonymous said...

I think USA Swimming already does enough on the youth level, what with the wide variety of possible meets and the National Junior team trips. Virtually all top youth swimmers are picked up by a college that trains and matures them for four years. I think that's where USA Swimming can make the biggest impact. Each college is naturally a great training center, with support staff, excellent facilities, a team atmosphere, secure coaching staff, etc, and it's already funded by the university. I agree that USA swimming should work on retaining and expanding college programs, particularly D1 schools that scored well at NCAA's, such as University of Washington or UC Irvine. They should also work on expanding D2 swimming, because currently D2 is too small to have much prestige, hence relatively low funding, yet they can still give out scholarships and retain good swimmers who might be late-bloomers. Also, I think individual LSCs are too varied to give uniform times. For example, even though Socal swimming has some of the fastest qualifying times, they still hold major age group meets at multiple locations to reduce crowding. Even still, the number of swimmers gets ridiculous, even considering the fast ones go to Sectionals or Junior Nats instead.

Anonymous said...

The National Youth team did NOT have a trip this year. The kids and coaches got an email congratulating them on making the team, but the kids did not get a camp or even a water bottle, much less a trip. Ridiculous!

Tony Austin said...

...And these poor kids pays dues as well! Why does USA Swimming get away with that? Where is the outrage?

Tony Austin said...

I am making this a post - Can you post some more details?

Anonymous said...

Wrong. Youth team trip is this fall. click on the quad plan (it's a word doc so I can't link directly)