To make the World Team, this is exactly what is said on the web site:
The 2014 Aquathlon National Championship in El Reno, Oklahoma will qualify athletes for the 2015 Aquathlon World Championship. At the Aquathlon NC, the top 10 in each age group, rolling down to 14th place after applying the age-up rule, will qualify for the World Championship.
The top twenty athletes per Age Group in the USAT Aquathlon Annual Rankings on 12/31/14 are eligible to qualify for the 2015 Aquathlon World Championship. We will offer spots to the top two and roll down to 20th. Note: All spots are subject to availability on the roster.So this was my interpretation: Get a Top 10 finish in my age group at Aqualthon Nationals or get picked based on rankings.
Unfortunately, 2014 Nationals had already happened by the time I read this. Darn.
But there was that second way: Be ranked in the Top Twenty for your age group and then either be the top two or have the top people reject their slots and enough people after them also decline so that the spot rolls down to you. I checked my ranking for 2014 and I was twelfth in my age group. I was eligible!
Technically. But what were the chances one of those two slots would roll all the way down to twelfth place? Not good, I figured. Better luck next year when maybe I could improve my rankings or somehow swing a trip to Oklahoma for Aqualthon Nationals, was my thinking.
And then I forgot all about it.
Until today. Today I got an email entitled "Team USA Chicago - Aquathlon Rankings Spot Awarded". What the...? Normally you don't get an email telling you what your ranking is, but I figured that's what the email was about.
Then I read the magic words:
Dear Athlete,Whoa. What? Am I reading that right? I read it a few times in a row just to be sure. Yep. I read it correctly. I did it! I made the team! It was one of my goals for the year and I haven't even raced yet. Whee!
Congratulations! You are being contacted because you have earned a spot on Team USA for the 2015 ITU Aquathlon World Championships.
Then I read the rest of the email and I started to see that just being offered a spot wasn't all there was to it.