Coaches

The Door is Open in Indy

6/17/2013

By Matt Barbini//USA Swimming Sports Performance Consultant

As with every post-Olympic year, 2013 has seen a lot of change come to our sport. With many retirements, athletes taking time off, and/or shifting their focus to new events it would be easy to see this year as a time of conclusion and departure. However, each retirement or extended break from swimming creates opportunities for some new names and faces to make an impact at next week’s Phillips 66 National Championships/World Championship Trials.

 

Looking at the top eight times in each Olympic event from the first half of 2012 (1/1/12 – 6/24/12) and comparing it to the same time period in 2013 clearly emphasizes that point. On both the men’s and women’s side nearly half of the athletes with a top eight time in 2013 did not hold a similarly ranked time heading into Olympic Trials in 2012. See below.

 

MEN

WOMEN

NEW 2013

49

NEW 2013

50

TOTAL

104

TOTAL

104

PERCENT

47.12%

PERCENT

48.08%

  
In some events, such as the women’s 100 fly and men’s and women’s 200 fly as many as six of the eight names are different. In others the change is less dramatic, but in every event there are no less than two new names currently sitting in the top eight nationally.

 

Perhaps more interestingly is that these new names are not exclusively coming from one specific group or age demographic. Across the board there is a good mix of rising young athletes and veterans achieving top times in different events. For example, there are three new names in the women’s 50 freestyle that were not in the top eight at this point in 2012: Natalie Coughlin, Abbey Weitzel, and Missy Franklin. Obviously, there’s quite a range of age and experience in that group and that is a common trend across the spectrum of events. To see the full comparison please click here.

 

Now clearly, being ranked in the top eight headed into trials does not guarantee qualification for finals and there are certainly athletes not currently ranked in the top eight nationally who are going to be factors in Indianapolis. That said, with all the change that has taken place in the last year the door is open for some new athletes to challenge for a World Championship berth and you can bet that somebody unexpected from this list will be headed to Spain at the end of July.


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