Anthony Mosse Time Comparisons – Is This A Problem?

By David

Auckland Swimming has just completed the 2016 Antony Moss Swim Meet.  As I watched the results come in I had the impression that the standard of swimming wasn’t as good as we had seen at the same meet in the days of Hayley Palmer, Moss Burmister, Helen Norfolk, Toni Jeffs, Dean Kent and many others. I decided to test my perception.  The table below shows the winning time for the senior event in 2016 and four years earlier, 2012.  It tells a very sorry tale.  Ignoring swimmers from overseas, in 2016 twenty-eight of the thirty races were won in times slower than the winning times in 2012.  Not just slower, a lot slower.  The average male winner in 2016 is 6% slower than in 2012.  The average female winner in 2016 is 5.4% slower than the winner in 2012.  It appears the decline in performance is spread evenly over both sexes

Anyway, here is the table.  See what you think.

ANTONY MOSS COMPARISONS
WOMEN MEN
% DIFF. 2012 2016 EVENT 2016 2012 % DIFF.
12.8 26.00 29.83 50 FREE 23.58 23.54 0.2
8.4 57.24 1.02.46 100 FREE 52.36 51.78 1.1
8.7 2.02.99 2.14.68 200 FREE 1.57.46 1.51.93 10.7
7.2 4.22.67 4.42.96 400 FREE 4.18.57 4.06.24 4.8
3.8 30.23 31.41 50 BACK 28.07 27.41 2.4
1.5 1.06.34 1.07.36 100 BACK 1.07.33 59.94 11.0
7.3 2.21.97 2.33.06 200 BACK 2.10.03 2.11.88 -1.4
5.4 36.21 38.27 50 BRST 32.51 28.25 13.1
1.1 1.19.68 1.20.62 100 BRST 1.11.39 1.02.80 12.0
1.5 3.02.63 3.05.40 200 BRST 2.37.83 2.22.47 9.7
6.0 28.99 30.85 50 FLY 27.42 25.39 7.4
10.4 1.01.70 1.08.86 100 FLY 58.54 56.43 3.6
5.1 2.32.14 2.40.30 200 FLY 2.19.46 2.01.73 12.7
5.0 2.27.51 2.35.27 200 IM 2.16.43 2.14.46 1.4
-3.5 5.35.94 5.24.33 400 IM 4.51.67 4.46.43 1.8
5.4 4YR % AV 6.0
1.4 AN. % AV. 1.5

My curiosity had been aroused.  If standards had declined over the last four years, what would happen if we went back another four years to 2008.  And, would you believe it, the picture was even worse.  The average male winner in 2008 was a huge 7.4% faster than the average male winner in 2016.  The average female winner in 2008 was 7.5% faster than the average female winner in 2016. Once again the decline in standards appeared to be even over both sexes.  Auckland swimming is nothing like it was four years ago, and even less like it was eight years ago.  The figures simply do not lie.  

ANTONY MOSS COMPARISONS
WOMEN MEN
% DIFF. 2008 2016 EVENT 2016 2008 % DIFF.
10.3 26.75 29.83 50 FREE 23.58 23.58 0.0
7.8 57.57 1.02.46 100 FREE 52.36 52.91 -1.0
8.5 2.03.20 2.14.68 200 FREE 1.57.46 1.53.65 3.2
6.1 4.25.78 4.42.96 400 FREE 4.18.57 4.00.00 7.2
0 0
5.5 29.68 31.41 50 BACK 28.07 27.20 3.1
7.6 1.02.26 1.07.36 100 BACK 1.07.33 58.18 13.6
11.6 2.15.26 2.33.06 200 BACK 2.10.03 2.03.82 4.7
0 0
10.9 34.11 38.27 50 BRST 32.51 29.95 7.8
6.4 1.15.43 1.20.62 100 BRST 1.11.39 1.06.73 6.8
10.6 2.43.82 3.05.40 200 BRST 2.37.83 2.18.28 12.4
0 0
5.8 29.04 30.85 50 FLY 27.42 24.48 10.7
8.3 1.03.13 1.08.86 100 FLY 58.54 54.00 7.7
6.9 2.22.28 2.40.30 200 FLY 2.19.46 1.57.94 15.3
0 0
4.9 2.27.58 2.35.27 200 IM 2.16.43 2.02.80 10.0
1.4 5.19.93 5.24.33 400 IM 4.51.67 4.21.33 10.1
7.5 4YR % AV 7.4
0.9 AN. % AV. 0.9

But the real question, I suppose. is – why have standards declined?  It seems to me that there are only three factors that can cause a decline like this.  

    1. The swimmers are not what they were. The new generation of swimmers are just not prepared to train as hard or apply themselves as well to the task of swimming fast. Now I don’t think for a minute that the swimmers are not up to the task.  Good young people in 2016 are the equal of good young people in 2012 or 2008.  Working hard is not a dying art. Overseas experience suggests the opposite. Athletes today work harder that those that went before. Athletes that used to run 100 miles a week were once considered freaks of nature. Today Mo Farah and his friends do 50% more than that almost every week.

 

  • The swimmers are being badly coached. Coaches have failed New Zealand swimmers. But it’s not the coaches’ fault. Coaches have failed New Zealand swimmers because they (the coaches) have been failed by the third group – the sport’s management. The sport is not coach driven. And that is a terminally fatal fault. One of my swimmers, Lara Van Egten has just spent five weeks training in Los Angeles with one of the world’s most respected coaches, Mark Schubert. Here is how his club website describes the role of the coach. GWSC is a coach run operation. Only Coaches decide when and where athletes will be placed on the team. Remember: Swimmers Swim, Coaches Coach, Parents Parent.”

 

  1. The administration of the sport has failed its participants. Over eight years the management of the sport in New Zealand has undermined and eroded the position of coaches and swimmers in 101 different ways.  The sport has been badly managed.  And if you don’t believe me, scroll up this story and look at the numbers.  It’s a disaster. And it’s getting worse. If you don’t believe me ask why New Zealand’s best swimmers are training in Australia, California, Florida and Alabama. I’ve voiced this story on Swimwatch before. Ask why administrators allow individuals who have wrecked destruction in club after club are allowed to wander off to another club to obliterate the hard work of new victims. There’s a term for that – “weak management”. My Dad told me that a friend is someone you’d want around on a dark, wet night, lost in the deep bush. Well these figures suggest SNZ is lost; it’s pretty black out there and it’s certainly wet. Problem is swimming in New Zealand is having trouble finding a friend.    

  • David

    My apologies for misspelling Anthony Mosse. That’s not good,

    I’m not sure of the logic behind the comment by Steve. He says for example “Since the AMC was started it has never attracted the fastest swimmers”. If that’s true the comparison is even more serious. It means slow swimmers four and eight years ago were miles faster than slow swimmers today. Actually the comment is nonsense. The AMC and its predecessor traditionally attracted good swimmers from all over NZ. I used to get a call each year from TVNZ asking if Toni Jeffs was coming to the meet from Wellington. She always did and TVNZ turned up to film the event. Sadly I can’t see that happening today.
    However Steve might be right when he says some better swimmers were missing this year. I guess the point of the report is – Why? and Is their absence a sign of the malaise affecting swimming in Auckland?