Alvaranga eyes overseas meets to give swimmers edge to meet new time standards

Alvaranga eyes overseas meets to give swimmers edge to meet new time standards

Observer staff reporter

Friday, October 16, 2020

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The usual change in time standard represents a new challenge for coaches to prepare swimmers for the task at hand in order to gain national selection for regional and international meets.

Some coaches welcome that challenge, as they view the time changes every four years as added motivation for swimmers to push themselves beyond the norm, boost self-confidence and improve mental toughness, each time they grace the pool.

As such, many will spend countless hours perusing the updated version of motivational times for the upcoming 2021-2024 quad, released by United States of America (USA) Swimming, which is the standard by which Jamaica selects age group swimmers for national representation.

The time standards set varying marks for swimmers of every age group, ranging from B to Quad-A (AAAA) based on relative speed within the age group. Each age group has B, BB, A, AA, AAA and AAAA standards to give swimmers benchmarks for setting goals, as well as to track improvements.

So with the standards now set, Kaizen Swim Club's Head Coach Rory Alvaranga said the onus is now on coaches and swimmers to put in the necessary work to achieve times faster than the standard in their respective events.

“Sometimes you see a big jump like a second and a half or two seconds in the 100m events or more and if you are not at the top of your game that's a lot to come down.

“But it is good motivation for our local swimmers to push themselves to the next level and measure themselves in terms of where they are at compared to their counterparts in the United States and around the world,” Alvaranga told the Jamaica Observer.

As expected, time standards have been getting faster over the years, as science and youthful exuberance elevate the age group swimmers to new heights, propelling them to erase more national age group records.

While some of the times remain the same from the previous standards, the new times have shifted the proverbial goal post on local swimmers, some of whom may have been a millisecond off national selection time prior, may find themselves needing to drop up to a second or more now in a one lap event.

Still, Alvaranga is upbeat that with the right attitude and coaching method, no time is beyond the swimmers.

“Our focus at Kaizen has always been technique, and conditioning can give you milliseconds improvement. So we just have to stick to our technique enhancement to ensure that we get bigger improvements in meeting these new time standards for national representation,” he reasoned.

“So the new time standards will only serve to motivate the swimmers and push them to new heights. So instead of working for an AA time, they will be working for an AAA or an AAAA to make the senior squad,” the national coach added.

Alvaranga, the father of one of Jamaica's young sensation Zaneta, is eyeing the possibility of having swimmers compete in overseas meets, as uncertainty continues to surround whether or not the country will host a swim meet to get swimmers in a competitive mood ahead of the new year.

Alvaranga recently had the Kaizen Invitational on the local calendar cancelled, after the Aquatic Sports of Jamaica (ASAJ) cited the move to host a meet as dangerous due to spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across the island.

“The TYR Pro Series is one meet that I am looking at to possible take Devaughn Robe and Zaneta Alvaranga to contest. I am in contact with a few coaches in the US and they have endorsed TYR and will update me on other meets as the USA Swimming calendar gets updated with more meets,” Alvaranga shared.

“The ASAJ Office has also advertised the Paraguay National Championships which is open to guests, so I will have a look at this meet also for possible consideration,” he ended.

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