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Event Pathway

Swimming NZ competition review, Balance is Better alignment and subsequent 2021/22 event restructure.

Recently Swimming New Zealand has released its policy (see here) on events and its new structure of having "Designated meets" and "Development meets” and have asked that all regional bodies align their competition calendars and meets to this new structure. Regionally, Swimming Wellington has also taken into consideration the changing environment of competitive sport, understanding the broader environmental strategies in play associated to competitive sport and its role in society.

To that end, Swimming Wellington supports swimming both adapting and responding to this environmental shift and therefore supports the restructure of Swimming Wellington competitions into ‘Designated’ and ‘Development’ meets in line with Swimming New Zealand’s policy. The structure means ‘Development’ meets (meets run at Tier 3 or below) focus on the joy of competitive racing and skills development, with ‘Designated’ meets providing the opportunity for swimmers to achieve qualifying times for national events and a greater emphasis on performance. 

See below list of meets that are 'Designated' within the Wellington region in the 2021/22 year (Regional Championships, Tier 1 & 2 meets):

1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Event Name SW
Long Course Championships
SW
Junior Championships
*SW
Short Course Championships
SW
Relay Championships
Tier 1-2 Raumati T2 SZR T2
**Dates

22nd-24th
January
2022

25th-26th
September
2021
24th-26th
June
2022
3rd
December
2021
TBC 4th
September
2021
18th September 2021
Venue Wellington Regional
Aquatic Centre
Wellington Regional
Aquatic Centre
Wellington Regional
Aquatic Centre
Wellington Regional
Aquatic Centre
Coastlands Aquatic
Centre
Coastlands Aquatic
Centre
Wellington Regional
Aquatic Centre
LC/SC 50m 25m 25m 25m 25m 25m 50m

8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Event Name Tawa T2 Tier 1-3 Wairarapa T2 Pirates T2 Tier 1-1 PCA T2 Raumati T2
**Dates 30th
October
2021
6th
November
2021

20th
November
2021

12th
February 
2022
25th
February 
2022
12th
March
2022
26th
March
2022
Venue Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre Trust House Recreational Centre Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre Coastlands Aquatic
Centre
LC/SC 50m 50m 25m 50m 50m 50m 25m


*The postponed 2021 Swimming Wellington Short Course Championships due to be held on July 31 - August 1 at Coastlands Aquatic Centre will remain a 'designated' meet from the previous membership year.

** Some dates are subject to change

Why restructure events into “Designated and Development”? 

Fundamentally it is to improve the performance of all participants in the competition pathway. It allows for the same type of competition format to all levels of athletes within New Zealand, to ensure appropriate training blocks that build capacity, enhance technical skills and provide appropriate competitions at the right time of the year. Swimming is moving away from over competing and under training and allow for the training blocks to take place for the athletes’ overall development without them competing too often. 

We too often see swimmers and coaches chasing times, either at different competitions or in arranged last chance qualifying meets, to qualify for different meets at the expense of the correct training that needs to be done.

The competition framework needs to be nationally driven for the best interest of every level of athlete in NZ whilst also considering some regional differences. However, these regional differences should not be a factor in what is the right framework for the country as a whole. For swimming in NZ to be successful at all levels we need athletes prepared to swim fast at the right competitions in the season and this needs to be nationally driven and directed. 

From a regional perspective it gives SW a structure to plan out events based around the national programme which give coaches the clarity to plan trainings around peak events. If our clubs also aligned their events to the regional structure, this in turn will have an impact on all athletes getting ready to swim fast when it counts and at the right competition.

The nature of the exisiting “approved meets”  is placing a strain on event organisers in recruiting enough officials to meet the criteria of holding an ‘approved meet’. By reducing the number of designated meets in a year should go along way in lessening the burden on volunteers and their time and the consequence of this element where organisers and officials place the “time” pressure ahead of the athletes needs in structuring their events. 

What is a Designated event? And who is it aimed at?

This event targets the competitive swimmer who is aspirational and has an emphasis on performance. These athletes are typically at an advanced stage of their development. These events tend to provide opportunities to qualify for national championship events and recognition into SNZ HP athlete development programmes. These events are officiated to a national and international standard.

What is a Development event? And who is it aimed at?

This event targets the competitive, club and recreational swimmer who is developing their skills as a competitive swimmer. These events recognise that participants do the sport for different reasons and allow clubs and SW to structure events that align to the participants needs. It also offers competitive swimmers the opportunity to practice aspects of their performance in a non outcome focused environment, before progressing onto the designated events. 

Development events provide the athlete and coach a safe environment to build more than just sport skills by taking away the focus of results on the scoreboard and focusing on the development of the person and concepts associated to growth mindset and psycho social skills and behaviours.

These events are officiated under guidelines aligned to the principles of development. One new initiative by SNZ is to not have DQ’s at these events. This is driven by the principles associated to learning and motivational theories to ensure that their experiences lead to them to develop their potential to their optimal level. 

If you have any questions on the new structure for the events in our region please do contact Angus Pashley at events@swimwn.co.nz to discuss further.