With two of three qualifying meets complete, the framework of the 2018-2019 U.S. National Team is well in place. There could be some shuffling based on Junior Pan Pacs results, but with senior Pan Pacs and U.S. Nationals out of the way, the vast majority of next year’s National Team is all but locked in.
What is the National Team?
In contrast to the traveling rosters for meets like Pan Pacs, World Championships or World University Games, the U.S. National Team refers to a broader roster of the nation’s top swimmers in every event who can qualify for a wide range of benefits from USA Swimming.
For more detail on those specific benefits, check out our story on the subject from late 2014 here. The short version is that making the national team carries a certain level of prestige, financial support and other perks like access to the Olympic Training Center and video review and massages at some major meets.
For 2018-2019, the U.S. National Team will be selected from the top 6 times in each Olympic event from the combined results of U.S. Nationals, Pan Pacs and Junior Pan Pacs. As opposed to travel roster selection, this roster does take into account prelims swims in addition to swims from any final. Relay leadoffs, time trials, swim-offs and intermediate splits aren’t included.
You can see full selection criteria here.
Open water swimmers have already been selected based on the top 6 finishers at the 2018 U.S. Open Water Nationals 10K race. Unlike the pool team, they’re locked into their spots.
These rosters aren’t final, only because a swimmer from Junior Pan Pacs could still improve their standing. These lists, in a way, then, are incentive lists for any Junior Pan Pac swimmer looking for National Team status. Those who don’t make it will be likely to make the Junior National Team instead. The junior team is selected in a somewhat-similar way: the top 6 juniors (as of September 1, 2018) in each Olympic event are eligible make the roster, though this team is selected from long course times swum in the calendar year 2018 rather than from specific meets. It also limits the total roster to 40 swimmers and bases priority and selection on world ranks.