The Aussies are sending a huge swimming squad to the Gold Coast.
The Aussies are sending a huge swimming squad to the Gold Coast.

Trial times reflection of generous selection criteria

ALMOST without exception, Australia's best swimmers, should be able to improve on their trials efforts at the Commonwealth Games.

That doesn't make the timing of the trials, five weeks out from the major event, either a success or failure.

Unlike trials for Olympics or world championships, which allow just two swimmers per event and enforce a stricter "A" qualifier policy, selection for the Commonwealth Games is more generous.

With both "A" and "B" standards in play and up to three athletes per event able to be named, the event is less cutthroat.

There's no doubt several athletes lined up at last week's national titles without being fully tapered for the event.

It's a gamble they were prepared to take to ensure their best results are not at the selection meet but in the major event, where medals are on the line and the judgement of the public and media will be at its greatest.

In many ways it's a strong strategy.

And it's likely to pay off at the Gold Coast Games, with most of the big names in the sport just content to do what was necessary to qualify last week to ensure they'll be at their best in five weeks' time.

The proof in the pudding for the new selection policy will come later in the year when the team for the Pan Pacific championships is named.Head coach Jacco Verhaeren says the "A" standards will be enforced without exception.

That's when our best will have to produce domestically and then back it up just weeks later.

And that's when the strategy can best be judged.