Swimming in the United States needs a constant flow of new bodies to keep running.
It's so sad sometimes.
The reason for this is that swimming is just such a HARD sport, that most people can never get into it, and those that do, usually burn out at a young age.
At Western Zones, one of the fastest meets in the country, I checked the time standards. And, the time for 15-16 boys for a 50 free was 22.99.
The 17-18 time for boys 50 free is 23.29.
The time for the older age actually gets SLOWER.
This is because so often, the people who are good young, get sidetracked, and burn out when they get older.
Like Nicole. She's REALLY good. She got 2 sectionals times, and a bunch of Champs times. But, I seriously doubt she'll still be swimming at the age of 17 or 18. She's already on the verge of burning out, and has been so for a while. She does a lot of sports, and gets distracted by those, and she doesn't really like swimming that much.
I suspect that a lot of that comes from her overbearing father, who pressures her a LOT to go harder.
Or, the "A" family. (I won't say the whole last name, because I'm just about to tell you first names)
There's Emily, 14. She's never really been that into swimming, and she's really not that fast either.
There's Chris, 12. He's pretty fast for his age, although not that much if at all faster than I was at that age.
There's Eric, 9. He's REALLY REALLY fast. If he keeps swimming till high school, he'll be going to Junior Nationals most likely if he keeps good intensity.
There's Jacqueline, 6. She hasn't been swimming for that long, but she wants to be fast, and she is pretty fast for her age.
Then there's Emily, 2 (?). She doesn't swim, and I barely ever see her.
Well, big Emily's probably never really going to push herself.
And, Jacqueline really wants to be fast some day, but I just can't see that she won't burn out sometime in the future of her possibly 12 year career.
Eric, too. He's young.
So, by my estimate, the "A" family will one day drop out of swimming. Maybe one by one, with increasing pressure on the remaining ones to leave once their siblings have left.
In fact, in the new class, I imagine that what's going to be left is me and Alyssa, the daughter of the dryland coach Lee.
She's fast and dedicated, with a great work ethic.
The fastest person on our team, Blake, has Zones times. Which are fast (There's only 4 zones in the country. They're big). But, he was lazy until high school.
He told me that coming into high school, his 100 free was 1:20.
Mine is running about 1 minute right now.
It was then that he actually started working. Now he has Zones.
Most people just don't last long enough to get REALLY fast. Only the ones who come in later, like Blake, or a select few with an everlasting love of the sport, which would be people in the Olympics.
It's so SAD...
All the fast people leave.