By Matt Barbini//National Team High Performance Consultant
This summer most of the focus in the swimming world will be on the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, and rightly so.
However, in terms of our road to the 2016 Olympics and beyond, it is important not to overlook the other major international competition this summer, the World University Games in Kazan, Russia. In simple terms, since 1995 there has been a significant correlation between swimmers who compete in WUGs and those who eventually compete in the Olympics, qualify for National Teams, and make other rosters. Check out the chart below:
Average WUGs stats ’95-‘11
Number of athletes on roster: 42.67
Members who made the National Team: 20.67 (48.44%)
Members who made other rosters: 18.33 (42.97%)
Members who made an Olympic Team: 5.11 (11.98%)
Athletes whose first International roster was WUGs: 29.56
Members who made the National Team: 12.56 (42.48%)
Members who made other rosters: 10.11 (34.21%)
Members who made Olympic Team: 2.89 (9.77%)
As you can see, a fairly high percentage of WUGs athletes go on to make an Olympic Team and very significant percentages achieve National Team status or make other rosters. To a slightly lesser extent, the same can be said for athletes for whom WUGs is their first international competition.
When we look at past WUGs teams from years similar to 2013 (i.e. post-Olympic years) the significance of this competition in terms of future Olympic and other rosters becomes a bit clearer, particularly for our athletes who have not previously competed internationally.
Average Post-Olympic Year WUGs Stats
Number of athletes on roster: 39.75
Members who made the National Team: 19.75 (49.69%)
Members who made other rosters: 20.00 (50.31%)
Members who made Olympic Team: 5.00 (12.58%)
Athletes whose first International roster was WUGs: 29.00
Members who made the National Team: 12.75 (43.97%)
Members who made other rosters: 14.00 (48.28%)
Members who made Olympic Team: 3.25 (11.21%)
The chart above shows that athletes who compete in the post-Olympic year WUGs are more likely to eventually make an Olympic team. Additionally, higher percentages of these athletes go on to make the National Team and qualify for other rosters. So while the swimming world is focused on Barcelona and World Championships, keep an eye on what’s happening to the east a few weeks earlier and you’ll more than likely see some names and faces that will be very relevant and successful for USA Swimming in the years to come.