USAAS Announces New Plan for Age Group National Teams
by Alyssa Jacobs, USA Artistic Swimming
Today, USA Artistic Swimming announced a new and improved plan for how to best support age group national teams. The organization will field junior and youth national teams with the current training camp and event competition model in FINA World Championship years for the respective age group. In non-World Championship years, elite athletes who earn an invitation will participate in an international training camp program similar to the Olympic Development Program (ODP).
The impact on athletes, their families and the organization will be beneficial for all involved. Youth and junior athletes will face decreased costs to participate and have more time with their families during the off season every other year. This new program will also have an increased focus on skill development, as every other year will be an opportunity for individualized and fundamental growth instead of preparing routines during a short training camp. Athletes will qualify for the program through the same selection procedures whether it is a World Championship year or training camp year.
The competition these plans impact most directly annually is the Pan Am Aquatics Artistic Swimming Championship (formerly UANA). The organization recognizes the importance of being well-represented at this international event and will offer the first right of acceptance to the age group champion at their respective national championship. This allows athletes who earn the title of national champions the opportunity to display their hard work on the international stage by participating in the event utilizing club option format. The nature of keeping a team of athletes together for an entire year will also allow for better cohesion and technical excellence representing the USA on the international stage.
Adam Andrasko, CEO of USA Artistic Swimming, believes this is the best path forward to serve the athletes: “This was a very strategic decision that we believe will make our national team program stronger. We consulted with many stakeholders including national team coaches, club leaders and athletes to ensure that this would move us in the right direction. Through those discussions, we were able to identify areas of improvement in our national team program and strongly believe these changes will address them. We are excited about the opportunity that this plan presents to both national team and club athletes.”
For more information, view the document HERE.