For a quite a long time now, the amateur swimming community has been discussing the division of swimmers into amateurs and professionals. There are many ideas on how to do this, but they are usually boil down to mechanical division of "sport master", coaches and those for whom swimming is profession, which is unknown phenomenon in Ukrainian reality. The best thing that the organizers of open water competitions suggest is not to award absolute winners in age categories. A few years ago, our team saw a different solution that would introduce a transparent separation criterion, not discriminative against all participants, deprive professionals of the opportunity to "take" places from amateurs (consciously or unconsciously), and would be automatic and not create operational chaos. Today, our resource allows us to finally implement it. But lets continue step-by-step.
Where do the roots go? The are two answers: motivation and sport. First of all, every swimmer leads his own internal fight. Whether he is fights himself, his fears or internal problems. Invisible battles are being fought in the Dniester canyon, among the high waves of Dzharylgach Bay, among the trees in the Carpathians and the chalk mountains of Svyatohirsk. Secondly, every competition is still a competition. And at this point the struggle is already started over the rankings between participants and clubs.
Who doesn't want to see the result not only at the finish line and their watch, but also in the ranking table?! But what do we see in fact as a result of more or less competitive swim race?
- Most Gender places go to coaches
- Some are taken by athletes who have been literally "living" by swimming for the last few years
- The rest compete for age categories… only if you are not 20-39
Best scenario is that we hear, "I came here not for the medal!" At this moment, as race organizers, we are overwhelmed with pride for meeting such people. However, it is difficult for us to say what is the reason for such a strong position. High level of awareness and reflection? Unrealized or underestimated ambitions? A sincere love for swimming and water? Or a dead end?
Other participants say: "Professionals should be separated" (professionals do not mean those who make money on sports, but usually coaches and swimmers with a sporting background). The coaches hold the same opinion. And what do they have left?! Why do they give so much effort and hours of work, the warmest words of support and tough and timely jokes, training the swimmer?! Definitely not for the sake of taking a medal from him later.
"But the time will come when the young padawan will surpass his teacher!" - someone will object. Let's put idealism aside and be honest. In order for a student to overtake his coach, the former needs to train several times a day for 3-4 years, and the latter needs to do nothing at all for the same period of time. And even in this case, no one will guarantee victory. After all, in most cases, amateur coaches are young people with a sporting past. They also want to compete. But (and therefore) they are well aware of their goal - education of athletic, healthy and motivated students). As a result we often see coaches who either stay to watch their participants at the finish line, or ask to participate "out of competition".
A year ago we promised to resolve this issue. And today we are ready to present a solution. A decision that goes beyond "separating coaches, masters of sport, federation athletes, former athletes, etc." After all, this idea does not withstand even one simple question: In what way, should we one separate them? Manually view dozens of lists over decades? Compare Vasya Pupkin, Vasia Pypkun and Vasiliy Ivanovich Pupkin? Ask an athlete? How to compare masters of sports in swimming, rowing, synchronized swimming and fencing? Unfortunately, this is not possible. And the mass idea of not rewarding in age categories those who took a place in the absolute, we consider half-hearted. And here's what the division of athletes into amateur swimmers and PRO (conditional PRO, or people with a sporting past) will look like in the Legendary Swim series. With this decision, we expect to add motivation to both fans and PRO, because now everyone will compete among equals.
- All athletes are divided into amateurs and PRO
- Amateurs compete for both Age group prize and for the Gender place win
- PRO will fight only for Gender place (absolute)
- For men and women separately, regardless of the chosen distance (except KIDS, SQUAD, ULTRA, FUN) the qualifying tempo for the PRO category is set:
- 1 min 35 sec / 100m - for men
- 1 min 45 sec / 100m - for women
- In the 2022 season, participants who reach two conditions in once race will be automatically transferred to the PRO category in the next swim:
- Finish with the pace higher than or equal to the qualifying
- Will take 1-3 place in the distance in the absolute (among amateurs and PRO)
- Participants who meet the qualification requirements and will be transferred from an amateur to a PRO will receive a free T-shirt of a PRO athlete
- According to the results of the season PRO participants who will have an average pace (except ULTRA, KIDS, SQUAD, FUN) below the target will be excluded from the PRO category and transferred to the amateurs regardless of the number of places in the absolute that they took
- Swimmers, who joins PRO category in the beginning of the season may leave this category only in the end of the season by not completing qualification criteria (see it. 7)
- If amateur finishes at 1-3 Gender place, she will also get an Age group place
- Disregarding Gender place, PRO can't get a place in Age group category
- All the changes do not affect Legendary Swim Series points calculation system
In the transition period 2021 - 2022 there will be two additional rules:
- Before the start of the 2022 season all coaches will be transferred to the PRO category disregarding whether they have any "master of sport" level
- Swimmers who had the average pace higher of equal to the qualification pace will receive a recommendation to switch category to PRO. Still this decision is left on their discretion
- An athlete who will be moved to PRO category automatically instead of getting PRO T-shirt, will receive the right to purchase this T-shirt (see it. 6)
These changes will take place together with the publication of 2022 Seasonal rules. First of all, we consider these changes to provide more opportunities and motivation for amateur athletes. We also consider adding money prized to PRO-athletes in the future, so they are encouraged to compete not only for prestige, but also for financial benefit.
Have we forgotten someone? No, indeed! Let's talk about the separate segment of the swimmers. Those, who have their jobs and family responsibilities as we all do. But who managed to reach much higher results in swimming despite this. Whose hobby, combined with discipline, will and hours, and year of training lead them far ahead of their amateur comrades. Who will be transferred to PROs but they still do not match their coaches' results. We assume, that such a high results came together with the deep reflection and perfect understanding the place that swimming had in their lives. They also understand their own position in the swimming hierarchy. And are much more motivated to be among the PROs as a proof for their high achievements.
Legendary Swim Team