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Friday, January 29, 2016

Give and Take...

The next few years hold a great deal of change for the sport of Swimming and Diving in the Colorado high school ranks.  This year alone, a significant couple of changes have been implemented -

In order to be eligible to participate in the State Championship Meet, athletes must have participated in 4 contests during that season, not including League and State Championships.  This seems to be a welcome change that gave some coaches leverage to require their club athletes to at least come to more meets and hopefully connect with their teams. The one glaring item missing from this - What about injuries?  Is there a review/protocol that waives the rule in the event that an athlete is injured?  Some might say that this shouldn't be a consideration because the coach/athlete planned poorly and may not be in that situation if they had completed the requirement earlier in the season - it's the risk they take.  Other teams might take a minimalist approach and having athletes just swim a leg of a relay and nothing else.  This one may require some more consideration and tweaking before we have the desired end result.  

At the girls and boys state meets, there is no longer a limit on the number of qualifiers that can swim in an event for a given school.  There is still a limit on the number of athletes that can advance to finals and scoring for the school (4).  Relays remain the same at one entry per school.  From a participation perspective, it definitely makes a coaches job easier when it comes to lineups in individual events and just being able to say, "If you make it, you can swim it".  Beyond that, they would have to be in the top 4 for that event for that school to make it to finals, as well as the top 16 overall.  Big schools like Fairview, Regis, Cherry Creek, Arapahoe, and others that have this happen more frequently, will definitely benefit in providing more opportunities - on the girls side.  On the boys, where the overall numbers are but 60% of the girls, this may be a more rare situation.  One downstream effect of this could be that qual times get faster.  If schools are bringing more to the meet and the numbers of entrants per event grow, then the cuts will likely have to get faster in order to help CHSAA maintain its sweet spot for entrants in an event to around 40 (5 heats of 8).  

There is one thing in the girls side that may counteract that possible bloat of entrants - the addition of a 3A class (5A, 4A, 3A & below).  In the current structure, each side has about 60-65 schools in each 5A and 4A. Next year, that would be more like the mid-40's per classification.  This most certainly will dilute the fields in the current 5A and 4A & Below meets.

So, over this year and next year, there will possibly be some more bodies in the pool this February at State, but maybe that evens out is is even reduced with the introduction on the girls side of another classification and State Meet..?  The boys will hopefully see more too since they have long since been challenged by the spring season location.  

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