Over the past couple of years, there has been considerable discussion among the BC Swim Coaches Association, SwimBC staff, and SwimBC's Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) on how we can adjust the formatting and/or placement of SwimBC's Championship meets to give our swimmers better opportunities to achieve success. The BCSCA, over the course of the past eight months or so, has sought input and feedback from its membership on this matter and the revisions outlined below reflect a large portion of what they developed.
Rationale for Change
The move by Swimming Canada to go to a Spring Trials - and their commitment to maintaining that for the foreseeable future - indicates that a shift to thinking - and preparing - for long course peak performance earlier in the year would be beneficial; people need to shift their view of the swimming year from consisting of two halves, to one which is one-third short course and two-thirds long course.
All parties agreed that having the major short course championship meets earlier in the year would help shift that mindset.
SwimBC Meet Scheduling
To spearhead these changes, SwimBC, upon recommendation and with agreement from BCSCA and TAC, will, starting in 2014, shift the scheduling of the winter SwimBC designated competitions as follows:
- “AAA” Championships will move to early February (January 31 – February 3, 2014).
- “AA” Championships will move to late-February / early March (February 28 – March 2, 2014).
- “BC Open” (successor to BC Senior Champs) will run long course approximately three weeks out from the SNC Spring Trials meet (March 8-9, 2014).
(*Note: The dates for AAA Championships run from Friday to Monday to accommodate the high school provincial exam schedule).
The earlier AAA Championships meet will allow coaches to transition to long course and add a month to the long course season.
The timing of AA Champs remains relevant for the AA-level swimmer. Those who qualify for AAA Champs at AAs will then have a full training cycle to prepare for their first AAA competition instead of going into that meet almost immediately upon qualifying.
Age Group Meets Formats
AAA Championships: Driven by considerable discourse and discussion among and with the BCSCA, below is an outline of the significant changes that plan to be implemented starting with the 2014 SwimBC AAA Short Course Age Group Championships:
- Age Groups: We will return to double-year age groups, but offset from the “normal” age groups: 11&U, 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18 (Open in the summer).
- This is being done to have a higher standard of swimming in the finals.
- There will be “A” and “B” finals in the meet to give younger swimmers and later developing older swimmers in the 12&older age groups a reasonable opportunity at a second swim.
- Scoring: The meet will be scored 16 placings deep.
- Qualifying: Swimmers will require TWO qualifying times to compete at AAA Championships.
- Swimmers with one “AAA” time will still be qualified to attend “AA” Championships and will be able to swim their “AAA” qualified event at that meet.
- This follows the philosophy established by Swimming Canada (e.g. requiring three QTs for Canadian Age Group Champs) looking to discourage early stroke/event specialization and rather, to move in the direction of developing more versatile and multi-event-capable swimmers.
- Bonus swims: All qualifiers (i.e., those with two AAA times) will be eligible to enter six events
- Non-qualified entries will have to be at least a “AA” time
- Long course AAA Championships will follow a similar format with regards to age groups and qualifying, and will be held as in the past on the first weekend after the July long weekend.
- Age Groups: 11&U, 12-13, 14&O
- As above with AAA Championships, swimmers will require a minimum of TWO AA times to enter the meet
- Swimmers with one AAA time will be eligible to participate in the meet, and will be permitted to enter that AAA event at AA Championships
- Swimmers with two or more AAA times will be de-qualified from AA Championships
- All qualifiers (i.e., those with two AA times) will be eligible to enter six events
- Non-qualifying events will have to be at least "A" times
- Both "A" and "B" finals in 12-13 and 14&O age groups with sufficient entries
- Long course AA Championships will follow a similar format with regards to age groups and qualifying, and will be held as in the past two weeks prior to long course AAA Championships
The Senior Circuit meets will be revived, with meets on the following dates next season:
- October 26-27 (short course)
- January 18-19 (long course)
"BC Open" meets will be senior-level 2.5-day heats/finals competitions, looking to attract some outside talent to go against BC's best.
- December 13-15 (short course)
- March 7-9 (long course)
The formatting of these meets is being worked on by a sub-committee of members from TAC as well as BCSCA representatives.
As in past years, SwimBC will be soliciting bids to host AA and AAA Championships; requests for bids are expected to go out to the membership approximately May 15.
New time standards will be released by mid-July 2013; the time standards are being developed to create a AAA Championships meet that has approximately 600 swimmers and a AA Championships meet that has around 350 swimmers.