You may or may not be aware that the current British competition structure is under major review for the season 2014/2015 and onwards. These changes will affect everyone in some way so please read the following information to give you the heads up on what may change. You will notice the previous announcement on the website for the dates for the 'County' Champs which have been set.
The dates for the Regionals have also been set and they are 30th/31st May and 6th/7th June 2015, both weekends being at Manchester Aquatics pool. This is one of the first changes which have already been set. Both Age group and Youth champs are now combined into one event. Despite the fact that the issue has been raised that this is in the middle of major exams for youth swimmers, this has been confirmed.
Although the dates have been set, the conditions of the meets have not and here comes some other major changes proposed. It is proposed that swimmers in the nationwide events ie Counties/Regionals/Nationals etc. will swim as age at the end of the year rather than age at the end of the gala. A huge change for those not born in the early months of the year. The club-run competitions will have the choice on how to run their galas.
It is proposed that the minimum age for Nationals be 14 yrs and that there will be no qualifying times as such.
Instead there will be a qualifying period of approx. two months where only swims in that time period will put you in the running for a place at Nationals and the swimmers will be selected from their position in that time in the rankings, exact number of swimmers has yet to be decided. Qualification will only be from long course times.
There is also likely to be restrictions on what events young swimmers may enter in Counties and Regionals.
The 'arduous' events such as 400im and 200 fly for instance may only be open to swimmers of a certain age.
It is also under consideration to split the season in half and have Sept - Dec as a short course season and the rest the long course season. This will have an impact on club-run galas, particularly in the second half of the season, as many swimmers will only want to compete long course to try to claim a place at Nationals. Conversely no-one will want to compete long course before Christmas. As galas are planned months in advance this may cause problems.
Obviously the new season is fast approaching and the final details have not been decided. It may be that only some changes come into play this year and more follow in the next season. I am led to believe there is a meeting in September so hopefully we will have more news then.
You may be asking 'Why?'
The age at the end of the year change is to bring us in line with the rest of Europe etc and the other changes are considered necessary to keep swimmers competing for longer and not doing too much too young. It has even been mentioned about restricting the amount of training that young swimmers do.
The above is an overview of the proposed changes. Of course I will put you all fully in the picture when details become available.
Ashley (Comp Sec)