Prior to that meeting the progression of senior swimming in USA Swimming was as follows:
- LSC Senior Championship
- Region Senior Championship
- Junior Nationals (West/Southeast/Northeast)
- US Open
The progression seemed to work well in that the incremental steps from one championship were such that relatively even. A similar percentage of swimmers would qualify for the next meet in the progression. If %x of swimmers at the Region level qualified for Jr's, you could expect approximately the same percentage at Jr's to qualify for Nationals.
On 9/11 the Senior Development Committee decided to mothball Jr's and replace it with Sectionals. Oh they eventually brought Jr's back but they eliminated the West, Southeast, and Northeast versions of the meet and made a super fast single meet. In doing so, they made the step from Jr's down to the next meet (in this case Sectionals) huge, effectively destroying the progression.
That was not the way it was supposed to be when those of us in the peanut gallery left the meeting on 9/11. Our understanding on that day was that there would be a Sectional series each spring, but Jr's (the 3 meet format) would remain intact every summer. Obviously this is not the way things turned out. It would seem that the members of the committee at the time decided it was too inconvenient, for their big time programs, to have to travel to two separate locations every summer for Jr's and Nationals. I agree that it may be inconvenient for the larger "powerhouse" teams to travel to two different meets locales. But for most teams, that is a problem we would love to have to deal with.
I see that while at least one person from 2001 is still on the committee, there are at least a couple newer committee members who actually work with non-college age swimmers and are people who's values I trust. Perhaps we could convince the 2011 Senior Development Committee to consider balancing the steps toward elite senior swimming. Not all of us have built in National teams in our programs...we have to develop ours the old fashioned way.