Swimming Technique or Speed: Which is More Important?
Swimming Australia has announced that they have created an extenuating circumstances rule in the selection process for the Rio Olympics. What is this rule?
The rule states: “The general manager performance in consultation with the national head coach at their absolute discretion, may recommend to the national selectors a change to the athletes nominated for an individual or relay event due to extenuating circumstances that prevents an athlete from meeting the qualification standards at the 2016 Australian Championships.”
Breaking Down the Extenuating Circumstances Rule
These means if a direct family member dies at the time of section trails which means taking time off of the game but has the fastest record in the event, there is still a high chance of getting picked. In the event that you have undergone surgery for an injury and is still under recovery and was not able to perform well at the section trials, you may not be picked out.
While the rule sounds fair for me, the rule could possibly receive appeals. The Australian Olympic Committee or AOC stated that they were unaware of the new clause and that any decision made by Swimming Australia is not binding and that they ultimately decide who goes to the Rio Olympics.
If you won the 100m freestyle at the section trails and Swimming Australia enacted the clause that could give your spot to someone else, you have the right to file an appeal. Should you lose in the appeal, AOC could overturn the decision that would win in your favor.
Jacco Verhaeren, the head coach of the Australian swim team, said it is not to guarantee Mitch Larkin, Emily Seabohm and Bronte Campbell will be on the plane to Rio. No, it’s not fair to take anything from anyone and that is obviously not what we’re looking for but I can’t predict what is going to happen and what is not going to happen… I really hope we don’t need it because that would mean everything runs smoothly and everyone fights for a spot, he adds.
How is the Australian Swimming Association Taking this?
Daniel Kowalksi, president of the Australian Swimming Association, pointed out that it someone having a bad hair day was not an excuse at the trails. He reassured the concerned parties that both he and Nicole Livingstone sit on the high performance committee and that they have the athletes’ best interest at heart. Furthermore, he adds that the committee must approve any replacements in the event that the rule was enacted.
I personally home that Swimming Australia does not have to use this to change the decisions of the section trials. As I have mentioned before, lawyers may possibly triumph should there be appeals made. I am curious to know if other countries have also initiated such rule or is Australia the first. It is possible that this could have been done for the best interest of Olympic swimming but it does sound suspicious. Who knows? Time may tell. Or maybe a committee will.