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View Full Version : The lack of youth on the men's team



marchep
July 7th, 2008, 12:43 PM
Boy, I hope I am wrong but in looking at the ages for the American Men's (not women's) team there is not one teenager. Years ago when collegiate mens team were beginning to be cut I always said that it was going to be a gradual process and in time it was going to take its toll on the sport. I do not thing we are there yet but it appears the tide is turnng (for the worse). I realize this is a generalization and there will be many arguments to the contrary such as years ago most swimmers quit the sport after college and now there is $$ to be made through swimming whereas before one had to get a real job and give up the sport. Maybe this is the case and I am being a pessimist but it appears that slowly but surely the Olympic sports are suffering as they get cut on the collegiate level. If the scholarships are not available fewer young men are going to get into the pool. Just my thoughts for this Monday morning and again I hope I am wrong.

hofffam
July 7th, 2008, 02:09 PM
Nathan Adrian is 19 and just finished high school. He is a top sprinter and appears destined for greatness. But the aging male Olympian isn't a bad thing to me. It shows that swimmers can continue to compete after college.

Also - to truly assess this - you should look at the international rosters. I bet you'll find that the top male international swimmers are not teenagers either.

tjrpatt
July 7th, 2008, 03:11 PM
Remember, Lezak didn't peak until he was in his late 20s and is still doing pretty good at 33.

Midas
July 7th, 2008, 04:56 PM
Generally speaking, don't men peak later than women (I knew many young women who peaked at 13-15)? Also, aren't more elite swimmers staying in the sport longer than they did even 10 years ago (before there were "professional" swimmers)? I think those two factors have lead to fewer young men qualifying for the Olympics (in the United States, at least). I bet there are fewer younger women qualifying too (see: Dara Torres), but since women are more likely to peak earlier thank men, we still see more young women having success at the elite level. For me, the jury is still out on what, if any, impact the cutbacks in Division 1 swimming programs are having on the overall quality of United States swimming.

Shaman
July 7th, 2008, 05:11 PM
Nathan Adrian is 19 and just finished high school. He is a top sprinter and appears destined for greatness.

He didn't just finish high school, he red shirted this year at Cal.

KeithM
July 7th, 2008, 05:19 PM
Men mature slower but I'm somewhat concerned. It's a trend seen in other countries but I'd like to see more teens putting up world class times. The Sydney Olympics featured:
Michael Phelps: 15 y/o and 3 mos. He finished 5th in the 200 fly.
Aaron Peirsol 16 y/o Silver in the 200 back
Ian Crocker 17 y/o 4th place in the 100 fly and gold in the Medley relay.

Hansen was 18 when he finished third in both breastrokes at trials that year.

There is more emerging young talent for the women at the moment.

SLOmmafan
July 7th, 2008, 05:54 PM
Michael Phelps is only 23, Piersol is under 25 as well - both of the 50 free Olympians this year are very recent college grads. I really feel that if a swimmer can make money (mostly endorcement deals), or in other words turn swimming into a career, you will see them staying around a lot longer. Cullen Jones has over one million in sponsorships, and I am certain Phelps has way more than even that.

In most sports (basketball, football, baseball) the average age of competitors (at the elite level) is mid twenties and up. Why not swimming (and I do refer to mens swimming in this case).

USMSarah
July 7th, 2008, 06:04 PM
Boy, I hope I am wrong but in looking at the ages for the American Men's (not women's) team there is not one teenager. Years ago when collegiate mens team were beginning to be cut I always said that it was going to be a gradual process and in time it was going to take its toll on the sport. I do not thing we are there yet but it appears the tide is turnng (for the worse). I realize this is a generalization and there will be many arguments to the contrary such as years ago most swimmers quit the sport after college and now there is $$ to be made through swimming whereas before one had to get a real job and give up the sport. Maybe this is the case and I am being a pessimist but it appears that slowly but surely the Olympic sports are suffering as they get cut on the collegiate level. If the scholarships are not available fewer young men are going to get into the pool. Just my thoughts for this Monday morning and again I hope I am wrong.

On a general level, I really don't see the problem of older guys being on the Olympic roster - I think it's awesome. However, I do see your point in how college scholarships are starting to be impacted in the men's department. But since competitive swimming is now becoming a professional sport - maybe we will see more swimmers like Katie Hoff and Michael Phelps not swim in college and go pro (they can eventually go back for school or slowly work on a degree while they are competing because they can afford it) - and I remember Brooke Bennett not swimming in college... taking the cash instead... continuing her career very well. I'm sure there are other well-known swimmers who may have done this, but they are not coming to mind. This doesn't apply to everyone because we all can't be a Phelps or Hoff... so it's a tough subject... but I love seeing the older swimmers making the team!

:oldman:

Blackbeard's Peg
July 8th, 2008, 12:45 PM
The results from this trials shouldn't hurt the U of Texas program.
8 of 22 men from their club program (and school); women's team pretty well stacked with talent too.

marchep
July 10th, 2008, 05:20 PM
Paul Smith posted this in another thread and unfortunately it appears to validate everything that I was saying in my original post at the start of this thread.

http://swimming.flocasts.org/videos/...es-round-table (http://swimming.flocasts.org/videos/series/view_video/275-all-swimmers-unite/69512-coaches-round-table)

ImFree
July 11th, 2008, 07:43 PM
I think its great we have the older guys making the team, and professionals like Phelps and and Hoff. However, there's not a lot of swimmers with the talent of Phelps and Hoff to get the sponsorships at a young age to stay in the sport and skip college. College is still the main feeder for the Olympics, and keeps the swimmers in the sport, and improving, and many eventually mature post graduate years. And the USAS is the feeder for colleges. If the colleges aren't there... The stress on many college programs is worrisome. I was traveling last week, swam at an out of town masters associated with a D-1 university. While not a top program, they've had NCAA finalists, and an alumnae was an OT finalist last week. Talked to the masters coach. The university team had 14 scholarships for the women, 2.7 for the men... and $62.5M for the new football stadium. Somethings not adding up for the long term.

geochuck
July 11th, 2008, 07:57 PM
I think you will find that the females get faster sooner then the guys.

It was the same over the years that I swam.

The female groups were always younger, by aprox. 3 to 5 years.