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TheGoodSmith
February 8th, 2008, 04:10 PM
What's with these blocks?

John Smith


http://www.theraceclub.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1332&sid=38225c078f3810a78b0c3f42104542a2

Blackbeard's Peg
February 8th, 2008, 04:49 PM
wow, interesting... i wonder if that back panel thing really helps. I can only imagine the angle provides a lot better traction, and thus more ability to push off the back leg than a normal block.

TheGoodSmith
February 8th, 2008, 04:54 PM
Looks like CHEATIN' to me.


John Smith

knelson
February 8th, 2008, 05:08 PM
Omega is planning to use these new blocks for the Olys, apparently. They claim they can cut 0.1 seconds off times. If they go into widespread use and they work as advertised it's certainly the death knell for the old style grab start, that's for sure. Not that many elite level swimmers are still using it.

scyfreestyler
February 8th, 2008, 06:09 PM
What's next? Spring loaded starting blocks? Hydraulic accumulators? Late bloomers? Sheesh. :rolleyes:

smontanaro
February 8th, 2008, 06:40 PM
What's next? Spring loaded starting blocks? Hydraulic accumulators?

No. Flux capacitors.

Skip

scyfreestyler
February 8th, 2008, 07:31 PM
What's with the swimmer who has no goggles on? Perhaps he felt guilty for cheating with those starting blocks so he was trying to level the playing field by limiting his own vision.

pakman044
February 8th, 2008, 08:06 PM
Swimming World ran a story (http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/lane9/news/16936.asp) about a new block that Omega was trying to get approved in time for the Olympics (as was mentioned by knelson). The block pictured here looks similar to the description (by the way, thanks for posting the picture--I'd been meaning to get a look at it!).

To determine whether these blocks are legal, we need to look at the appropriate FINA rule, FINA FR 2.7 (http://www.fina.org/project/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=51&Itemid=119):


FR 2.7 Starting Platforms shall be firm and give no springing effect. The height of the platform above the water surface shall be from 0.5 metre to 0.75 metre. The surface area shall be at least 0.5 metre x 0.5 metre and covered with non-slip material. Maximum slope shall not be more than 10. The platform shall be constructed so as to permit the gripping of the platform by the swimmer in the forward start at the front and the sides; it is recommended that, if the thickness of the starting platform exceeds 0.04 metre, grips of at least 0.1 metre width on each side and 0.4 metre width in the front be cut out to 0.03 metre from the surface of the platform. Handgrips for the forward start may be installed on the sides of the starting platforms. Handgrips for backstroke starts shall be placed within 0.3 metre to 0.6 metre above the water surface both horizontally and vertically. They shall be parallel to the surface of the end wall, and must not protrude beyond the end wall. The water depth from a distance of 1.0 metre to 6.0 metres from the end wall must be at least 1.35 metres where starting platforms are installed. Electronic read-out boards may be installed under the blocks. Flashing is not allowed. Figures must not move during a Backstroke start.

So the relevant issues for me would be:
*Are the blocks firm and without "springing effect"?
*Does the backstop affect the slope calculation and increase it beyond 10 degrees?

The fact that the backstop is there does not seem to be in and of itself illegal. My feeling is that these blocks probably pass the two questions I have, although starting blocks aren't my specialty!

I'm not thrilled with the idea personally, but this kind of innovation is going to happen whether we like it or not.

Patrick King

quicksilver
February 8th, 2008, 09:02 PM
What's with the swimmer who has no goggles on? Perhaps he felt guilty for cheating with those starting blocks so he was trying to level the playing field by limiting his own vision.

Wearing goggles is dangerous when you get launched from the super blocks.

Those race club guys only do 1 length of the pool anyway. :D

cowsvils
February 8th, 2008, 09:55 PM
Just another device for artificially lowering times, first technical suits and now this. I assume that they provide a flat surface to push off on when track starting, giving you the added push of a grab start and the reaction time of a track start.

PArob83
February 8th, 2008, 10:33 PM
No. Flux capacitors.

Skip

So you get to swim at 88MPH?
and would the Gigawatts be insulated from the pool..
but if that happens you end up going back in time and possibly finishing before you were born or skipping to the future and finishing after everyone has left...

On another note could someone have added the stops to those blocks?

Jazz Hands
February 8th, 2008, 10:45 PM
This looks like an obvious violation of the ten degrees rule.

Chris Stevenson
February 9th, 2008, 07:06 AM
I don't like it. But I suppose some felt the same when they first introduced sloping blocks in the first place. And non-turbulent lane lines. And goggles, as well as other innovations most of us take for granted.

One of pool swimming's great strengths is that the time is viewed as a pretty absolute measure of performance -- this is different than, say, a triathlon or ocean swim that is very dependent on conditions. But we all know that some pools are slightly faster than others due to a variety of factors, such as depth, gutters...and starting blocks.

This just adds another variable, at least until all blocks are (close to) the same.

Blackbeard's Peg
February 10th, 2008, 12:18 AM
This looks like an obvious violation of the ten degrees rule.

I'd say so! Thanks pakman for posting the rule text.

shark
February 10th, 2008, 10:59 AM
Looks like CHEATIN' to me.

Show me a cheater, and I'll show you a winner everytime.

If the committee changes the rule to allow it, it ain't cheatin'. Looks like the RaceClub folks are being proactive and just preparing for the change. When did the blocks become so long, from front to back? My guess would be when teams started to do step in relay starts. Longer block, better motion for relays, faster times. Committee allowed it. I'm guessing though. I do not see this as being any different than any other changes that have come about in this sport over the last 100 years. Why the changes? Because people want faster times. Plain and simple, we want faster times. If you can get more of your motion and energy in the horizontal faster from the blocks, you'll have faster times. I see the track block as being able to transfer energy faster in the horizontal and towards the other end of the pool. Shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I say, BRAVO, to the coaches who thought this up. They are the ones bending the envelope. Hooray!!! Faster times.

cowsvils
February 10th, 2008, 01:54 PM
However, doesn't that do a disservice to those who came before? For example, omega claims these blocks shave 1/10 of a second off someones time. If a swimmer beats a world record by .05 seconds, are they really better than the previous person who held the record?

That Guy
February 10th, 2008, 02:43 PM
[quote=cowsvils;122062]:dedhorse:[quote]

:shakeshead:

LindsayNB
February 10th, 2008, 03:15 PM
I do not see this as being any different than any other changes that have come about in this sport over the last 100 years. Why the changes? Because people want faster times. Plain and simple, we want faster times.

I think that you're right that people want faster times, it's exciting to see someone break a world record. But if the faster times are achieved by something as non-swimmer related as a faster block how is that exciting? I guess the average viewer might not know about the blocks and be fooled into being excited. Most of the changes I can think of have been about a more level playing field or difficulties in officiating, technical suits are the most obvious exception. At what point do we legalize fins in the name of faster times?

knelson
February 10th, 2008, 05:37 PM
These blocks are no different than any other equipment advance in swimming. For example, non-turbulent lane lines, deep pools with good gutter systems, goggles, technical suits. I think they're fine as long as they don't violate the current rules. If the 10% max slope is violated then they shouldn't be allowed, end of story. It certainly seems like these would violate that, but perhaps not.

edit: looking at the photo of the Beijing blocks from the Race Club thread I think there is absolutely no question these blocks violate the rules. That foothold at the back is way more than 10.

Redbird Alum
February 10th, 2008, 05:58 PM
These blocks are no different than any other equipment advance in swimming...

I'm sure the first time the angeled track starting blocks were introduced, all the track athletes were also concerned it violated the time-proven starts from a flat foot, or toes without the blocks.

I think we all need to see how FINA rules on these. UNtil then, they are a novelty. After that, they may be the next gotta-have at any new venues.

Chris Stevenson
February 10th, 2008, 06:27 PM
If the committee changes the rule to allow it, it ain't cheatin'. Looks like the RaceClub folks are being proactive and just preparing for the change. When did the blocks become so long, from front to back? My guess would be when teams started to do step in relay starts. Longer block, better motion for relays, faster times. Committee allowed it. I'm guessing though. I do not see this as being any different than any other changes that have come about in this sport over the last 100 years. Why the changes? Because people want faster times. Plain and simple, we want faster times. If you can get more of your motion and energy in the horizontal faster from the blocks, you'll have faster times. I see the track block as being able to transfer energy faster in the horizontal and towards the other end of the pool. Shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I say, BRAVO, to the coaches who thought this up. They are the ones bending the envelope. Hooray!!! Faster times.

Invented by coaches driven by some grand quest for faster times? Riiight.

I think you're dreaming. This is driven by the dollar, period.

LindsayNB
February 10th, 2008, 07:19 PM
I think we all need to see how FINA rules on these. UNtil then, they are a novelty. After that, they may be the next gotta-have at any new venues.

I guess I don't see how the world will be a better place if we have to replace all the existing blocks with these new blocks. And if only new venues use the new blocks then we have only succeeded in making existing pools that much more obsolete and the times swum in them that much less comparable, not much of a step forward in my opinion.

Improvements in lane lines and gutters decrease the degree to which a swimmer in one lane effects a swimmer in another lane, creating a more level playing field, goggles have a health benefit for swimmers, I don't see any similar benefit to these blocks. It seems to me that the main effect of these blocks will be extra dollars in the hands of blocks manufacturers.

born2fly
February 10th, 2008, 07:49 PM
Looks pretty cool to me, I would like to try one out. However, what about relay starts? Cant really do the step and hop start with those things in the way. Wonder if they fold down or would just be removed for relays.

greg

Blackbeard's Peg
February 11th, 2008, 12:51 AM
ok i found my protractor... was hiding under my desk this whole time!!

I measured the angle of the backstop from the closeup photo in that original post's link. Using the top of the block as zero (in other words, my protractor is already slanted 10 degrees), the backstop is at a 30 degree angle (or 30 degrees + the angle of the block).

Iwannafly
February 11th, 2008, 08:49 AM
ok i found my protractor... was hiding under my desk this whole time!!

I measured the angle of the backstop from the closeup photo in that original post's link. Using the top of the block as zero (in other words, my protractor is already slanted 10 degrees), the backstop is at a 30 degree angle (or 30 degrees + the angle of the block).
You know there's obsession in the air when we're breaking out protractors:D! It seems to me that FINA will have to change the rules to use these blocks. But I don't think they will make any blocks (and especially any pools) obsolete. It seems that these would be extremely easy to retrofit on existing blocks and have them be easily removable.

Glider
February 11th, 2008, 09:17 AM
I think the starting platform surface will remain at 10 degrees and FINA will look at this development as a "chock" attachment to the blocks (a "chock" is what you see a trucker place under their tires to prevent the vehicle from rolling while parked.)

Looking at this as a starting platform attachment...It is utilized much the same as a runner places their starting block on the track. It also eliminates a lot of the expense of having to replace a ton of starting blocks across the country. I see FINA looking at defining the specs on this kind of platform "attachment."


You know there's obsession in the air when we're breaking out protractors:D! It seems to me that FINA will have to change the rules to use these blocks. But I don't think they will make any blocks (and especially any pools) obsolete. It seems that these would be extremely easy to retrofit on existing blocks and have them be easily removable.

shark
February 11th, 2008, 10:09 AM
Invented by coaches driven by some grand quest for faster times? Riiight.

I think you're dreaming. This is driven by the dollar, period.

Hooray for the dollar. Faster times. Period.

shark
February 11th, 2008, 10:23 AM
If we are going to debate the effectiveness of technology on the sport I think you need to look at all the advances that have occurred since the days of Weismueller. If not, then throw away all of the indoor venues and have everyone swim open water without turns. Straight 100 yards, from here to there. I mean think about it, if it weren't for the changes that have occurred and voted on by the committee, we would still be starting off of wooden decks in ponds with a lot of waves, wearing tunics, without goggles. I say accept it, use it, get faster, put your name in the books, make money, live happily ever after. The Great American Way. Maybe we can have a thread about the changes that have occurred to allow for the times we have now. Geochuck, I know you are lurking, you have seen many changes since Australia '56. How fast would Phelps be if he had flat blocks, flat walls, no gutters, shallow water, heavy fabric, no goggles, HAIR, etc. Fast I know, he is Michael Phelps, but I do not believe he would be able to go the times he does now. There is no way. Accept advances and move on. Any drop of .1 is a good drop if the playing field is level. IMO. Not that anyone asked.

scyfreestyler
February 11th, 2008, 11:33 AM
Too much controversy for me...I'm pulling out of the Omaha Trials today.


;)

pakman044
February 11th, 2008, 08:58 PM
Wow I'm surprised the 10 degree remark got the protractors out. I was just going to settle for a trig relationship.

But I think what Glider mentioned is probably how this will go down--or at least how FINA will make it go down. The Swimming World article was more of the "when" this will happen rather than the "if". FINA can just say that the calculation doesn't involve the backstop, or at least wasn't intended to.

For relay takeoffs, I can't see much coming of this. One thing that would be interesting is that if swimmers begin to place only one foot on the relay takeoff judging platform, the swimmer's other foot could be in contact with the backstop (which I presume is part of the block) while having no feet in contact with the RJP, registerring an early takeoff. That's not a big deal at the Olympics where there are backup timing cameras that can be used to confirm an early takeoff, but at other meets, that could be a problem. That might necessitate a rules change.

Patrick King

pakman044
February 12th, 2008, 10:51 AM
On the news front, Timed Finals (http://www.timedfinals.com/12022008/fina-postpones-new-omega-starting-block-until-after-olympics/) is reporting that the blocks will not be in use at the Olympics, but they will begin appearing in September.

Patrick King

aquageek
February 12th, 2008, 11:02 AM
I'm glad to see innovation. Track and Field has been using angled starting blocks for decades upon decades. It makes plenty of sense in swimming. Too bad our Summer League team will still be using "hand crafted" wood relics of the 70s until they rot.

Chris Stevenson
February 12th, 2008, 11:49 AM
I'm glad to see innovation. Track and Field has been using angled starting blocks for decades upon decades. It makes plenty of sense in swimming. Too bad our Summer League team will still be using "hand crafted" wood relics of the 70s until they rot.

I have fond memories of doing backstroke starts by holding the legs of someone standing on the deck...!

More seriously: if these are simple add-ons that can be used and removed from existing blocks, that is one thing. I think it more likely that it will involve replacement of the blocks.

Pool rentals are pretty high already -- driving up membership fees, reducing the choices for meet venues, etc -- and they will probably get a little higher because of this, so I hope we all feel the 0.1 sec is worth it because we won't have any choice in the matter. (This is different from technical suits -- I can always choose not to get/replace one.)

TheGoodSmith
February 13th, 2008, 11:35 AM
Shark,

Your logic about rules is amusing. I suppose your one of those people who thinks Mark McGuire's use of Andro is justified since the "rules" didn't technically ban it at the time he was actually using it..... :-)

Changing or finding loopholes in the rules to make the sport faster doesn't make the sport faster.

Note..... pool technology has not advanced that much since the mid 1970s. The best pool features were adopted after the 1972 Munich facility (leave it to German engineering). The Texas Swimming center for example incoporated many of these basic design elements. Indy also has these design features..... over flow gutters, wider lanes, 8.5 foot depths, reduced current jets .... These pool design concepts have not changed in over 30 years. Also keep in mind that great swims can be achieved in average to poor facilities when the swimmer is way far out front of the pack in smooth water. e.g. Sippy Woodheads WR in the Woodlands, TX.... Jonty Skinner's 100M free WR. Clear smooth water in the end is basically just that..... clear smooth water.

Looks like these blocks will make it into the sport sooner or later. Sideways foot pressure compared to the conventional two-foot up front start is superior for leverage and reaction time. I have no problem using new innovations, but don't put the new records down in the books without an asterisk next to them.

That's just a lie and a disgrace to the former holder.


John Smith

aquageek
February 13th, 2008, 01:15 PM
I have no problem using new innovations, but don't put the new records down in the books without an asterisk next to them.

That's just a lie and a disgrace to the former holder.


John Smith

Is it not the same disgrace to punish a comtemporary athlete for using items that are legal and approved by the governing body by placing an asterisk next to their achievements? Why should current achievements be debased because you don't agree with the current training methods or equipment? Why are you arbitrarily punishing an athlete for the year they were born or the rules that govern their era?

You certainly must know that every era of elite athletes suffer through this same narrow minded thought process by those who don't want to see their [previous] era's records eclipsed.

I don't know a single person who knows a thing about sports that finds the significant achievements of say Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, Joe DiMaggio, Bobby Jones, Joe Namath, Mark Sptiz, etc, to be any less notable because those achievements are no longer the records.

I believe in my lifetime we are currently seeing the deepest and most talented group of US swimmers ever and instead of recognizing their achievements and hard work you instead want to diminish their legitimate results by putting an asterisk next to their accomps.

shark
February 13th, 2008, 02:06 PM
Shark,

1.Your logic about rules is amusing. I suppose your one of those people who thinks Mark McGuire's use of Andro is justified since the "rules" didn't technically ban it at the time he was actually using it..... :-)

2.Changing or finding loopholes in the rules to make the sport faster doesn't make the sport faster.

3.Note..... pool technology has not advanced that much since the mid 1970s. The best pool features were adopted after the 1972 Munich facility (leave it to German engineering). The Texas Swimming center for example incoporated many of these basic design elements. Indy also has these design features..... over flow gutters, wider lanes, 8.5 foot depths, reduced current jets .... These pool design concepts have not changed in over 30 years. Also keep in mind that great swims can be achieved in average to poor facilities when the swimmer is way far out front of the pack in smooth water. e.g. Sippy Woodheads WR in the Woodlands, TX.... Jonty Skinner's 100M free WR. Clear smooth water in the end is basically just that..... clear smooth water.

4.Looks like these blocks will make it into the sport sooner or later. Sideways foot pressure compared to the conventional two-foot up front start is superior for leverage and reaction time. I have no problem using new innovations, but don't put the new records down in the books without an asterisk next to them.

That's just a lie and a disgrace to the former holder.


John Smith

1. I am not well versed in the "Andro" controversy. The rules are in place to try to level the playing field. If you aren't going to accept the rules of anything, then why play the game. Finding a legal way around the rules is just smart. I'm sure their are plenty of attorneys out there that can second that.

2. How do you figure that finding a loophole isn't going to make you faster? Finding a loophole that you can use to make you faster is going to make you faster. Case in point: In the 70's, Ray Bussard developed the stand up backstroke start because the rules didn't say anything about the toes being completely under the water = faster times. He also read that in backstroke the clause of: "past vertical towards the breast" meant that you could go at least to vertical, which allowed for the initial role over backstroke turn that changed backstroke forever. Another: before it was banned, the running relay start of the late '80s (which was the beginning of the step in relay start.) I could go on, but time does not allow.

3. The argument that you present means that everyone that ever broke a record after 1970 should have an asterisk next to their name due to the new pool technology.

4. As I have mentioned before on this forum, I feel for all of the IM and Backstrokers who lost their records when the complete role over turn was accepted into the rules.

The rules change. Read your rule book, find a loophole, get faster and make changes. Don't penalize someone because they are smarter and faster than the rest.

Allen Stark
February 13th, 2008, 03:19 PM
I am ambivalent about the"new" blocks.They are clearly in violation of current rules,but they can just change the rules.The current technical suits are either placebos or in violation of the rules,but there is money to be made so the rules get overlooked.I think,practically,the flip turn on backstroke makes sense,but it really was unfair to the prior record holders and really isn't backstroke.Don't even get me started on the dolphin kick in breaststroke or you'll get a VERY long rant.:mad::mad:

aquageek
February 13th, 2008, 03:51 PM
Other than geochuck, are you guys all 90 and crotchety old men? Change happens, sports evolve, it's a fact of sports. Pining for the days of yore is silly. 50 years from now swimming will be vastly different and I promise you Smith will be wheeled into a meet raging about "the good ole days of the FS Pro."

Blackbeard's Peg
February 13th, 2008, 03:53 PM
Note..... pool technology has not advanced that much since the mid 1970s. The best pool features were adopted after the 1972 Munich facility (leave it to German engineering). The Texas Swimming center for example incoporated many of these basic design elements. Indy also has these design features..... over flow gutters, wider lanes, 8.5 foot depths, reduced current jets .... These pool design concepts have not changed in over 30 years. Also keep in mind that great swims can be achieved in average to poor facilities when the swimmer is way far out front of the pack in smooth water. e.g. Sippy Woodheads WR in the Woodlands, TX.... Jonty Skinner's 100M free WR. Clear smooth water in the end is basically just that..... clear smooth water.

Good point.
Swimmers still have to swim the race themselves - the race isn't going to swim itself.

jim clemmons
February 13th, 2008, 03:59 PM
Other than geochuck, are you guys all 90 and crotchety old men?

I know some of them geek and they're not all 90, although some may look like they're approaching it. Crotchety is a different matter. And "old" - what exactly is "old"?

aquageek
February 13th, 2008, 04:17 PM
And "old" - what exactly is "old"?

41+

samson
February 13th, 2008, 04:22 PM
The Race Club have been using these blocks in the Keys...

http://www.theraceclub.net/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1332

jim clemmons
February 13th, 2008, 04:26 PM
Originally Posted by jim clemmons: And "old" - what exactly is "old"?

41+

They're qualified. Me too, but I have better things to spend my time complaining about - I guess. Like I have to go to work practically every day - what's up with that?

shark
February 13th, 2008, 04:33 PM
Change happens, sports evolve, it's a fact of sports. Pining for the days of yore is silly.

I believe this was my initial point.

And who are you calling old, snackshack? Put a lid on it, cupcake. (Mickey Rooney - Night at the Museum)

TheGoodSmith
February 14th, 2008, 10:45 AM
Geek,

I could care less if the sport changes stroke rules for turns, underwater kicking, full body suit technology etc..... but when it comes to records, they are established to show accomplished feats given certain rules and standards. If you train harder, longer, smarter .... whatever.... and beat a record you certainly deserve the record.

If you put on a full body suit, fail to touch the wall on a backstroke turn, swim underwater dolphin kick a quarter or more of your race, do a dolphin kick on your pull out and start the race with a leg up via the block itself ....... well..... it just gets to be a bit of a joke after a while.

All this combined with the Roger Clemons/Marion Jones/Tour de France drug era in sports...... I suppose I'm supposed to think of this aspect as a positive change as well?

You wonder why we are old and "crotchety"..... how can you stop from rolling your eyes about much of this crap.

Now having said that..... are Micheal Phelps, Ian Crocker, Lochte, Coughlin etc... faster than most of the best swimmers in the last 25 years without all these changes..... absolutely. They are phenomenal in their respective events. We will never, however, know exactly how much better due to these rule changes. May I point out to you the superimposed video of Jim Mongtomery's WR 100m free with Vandenhoogenband's swim. The actual swimming portion of the race between the walls showed that Peter didn't beat Jim by that much.



John Smith

The Fortress
February 14th, 2008, 10:48 AM
Geek,

I could care less if the sport changes stroke rules for turns, underwater kicking, full body suit technology etc..... but when it comes to records, they are established to show accomplished feats given certain rules and standards. If you train harder, longer, smarter .... whatever.... and beat a record you certainly deserve the record.

If you put on a full body suit, fail to touch the wall on a backstroke turn, swim underwater dolphin kick a quarter or more of your race, do a dolphin kick on your pull out and start the race with a leg up via the block itself ....... well..... it just gets to be a bit of a joke after a while.

All this combined with the Roger Clemons/Marion Jones/Tour de France drug era in sports...... I suppose I'm supposed to think of this aspect as a positive change as well?

You wonder why we are old and "crotchety"..... how can you stop from rolling your eyes about much of this crap.

Now having said that..... are Micheal Phelps, Ian Crocker, Lochte, Coughlin etc... faster than most of the best swimmers 25 years ago without all these changes..... absolutely. They are phenomenal in their respective events. We will never, however, know exactly how much better due to these rule changes. May I point out to you the superimposed video of Jim Mongtomery's WR 100m free with Vandenhoogenband's swim. The actual swimming portion of the race between the walls showed that Peter didn't beat Jim by that much.



John Smith


Except for the drugs, none of this offends me in the slightest. It's just innovation and change. Why is the old way better? You just hate dolphin kicking, John.

I see you're not a baseball fan either. It's Clemens who is lying his ass off about steroid/HGH use.

shark
February 14th, 2008, 11:19 AM
We will never, however, know exactly how much better due to these rule changes.

Que the "beating a dead horse icon".

aquageek
February 14th, 2008, 11:30 AM
I think it is insulting to say the hard work and achievements of today's athletes is a joke, they can't help the times they are in. When I see a group of Olympic hopefuls at the pool at 6:30 am on Saturday morning, the first thing that comes to mind is hard work and dedication, not "they are only good because they have new technology." Of course, I also think they should swim from 5-6:30 am on Saturday mornings instead of the Masters so I could get more sleep.

For those of us that shuttle kids endlessly around to practices and meets and see the incredible effort they put in, it's not so much of a joke. In an era when swimming is losing out to sports that are flashier, have more gizmos and cool stuff (and that is hugely relevant to kids), insisting on some antiquated set of rules and resistance to inevitable change will do nothing but put swimming further and further behind other more popular sports.

scyfreestyler
February 14th, 2008, 11:53 AM
Geek,

I could care less if the sport changes stroke rules for turns, underwater kicking, full body suit technology etc..... but when it comes to records, they are established to show accomplished feats given certain rules and standards. If you train harder, longer, smarter .... whatever.... and beat a record you certainly deserve the record.

If you put on a full body suit, fail to touch the wall on a backstroke turn, swim underwater dolphin kick a quarter or more of your race, do a dolphin kick on your pull out and start the race with a leg up via the block itself ....... well..... it just gets to be a bit of a joke after a while.

All this combined with the Roger Clemons/Marion Jones/Tour de France drug era in sports...... I suppose I'm supposed to think of this aspect as a positive change as well?

You wonder why we are old and "crotchety"..... how can you stop from rolling your eyes about much of this crap.

Now having said that..... are Micheal Phelps, Ian Crocker, Lochte, Coughlin etc... faster than most of the best swimmers in the last 25 years without all these changes..... absolutely. They are phenomenal in their respective events. We will never, however, know exactly how much better due to these rule changes. May I point out to you the superimposed video of Jim Mongtomery's WR 100m free with Vandenhoogenband's swim. The actual swimming portion of the race between the walls showed that Peter didn't beat Jim by that much.



John Smith

Yes, I do wonder that. Of course, I also wonder that given this level of outrage over sports related issues, how angry must you be over the seemingly endless list of messes our great country has found itself in. My point being, new starting blocks should really be the least of any Americans worries right now.

LindsayNB
February 14th, 2008, 12:33 PM
I'm not going to get too worked up over starting blocks, I just think that it would be nice if the discussion could move past the "any change is bad" versus "all change is good" stage to ask the question about what makes a change good or bad. Shark appears to think that any change that results in lowered times is good. If it were that simple we would allow fins, dolphin kicking and flip turns in breaststroke, etc. On the other end of the spectrum do we want to swim without goggles in order to have exact comparisons with swimmers from the early 1900s?

What are the criteria that justify change? That seems to me to be the interesting question.

TheGoodSmith
February 14th, 2008, 12:37 PM
SCYfreestyler.....

I thought this was a swimming forum for discussions of items related to swimming..... not necessarily world events.


Geek,

You are missing the point and the direction of my disgust. I never said that we should punish the current swimmers. I disagree with the US swimming's approval of the extent of rule changes compared to their effects on record keeping the laset 15 years. One affects the other tremendously and in the last 15 years it appears there is little regard or respect for past performances when setting these rule changes other than to generate a degree of false improvement level in the sport. This is not to say that there are no advancements in the sport and that kids are not training their butts off.... they are !! (incidently, my 12 year old son is kickin' butt here in Colorado. Just went 5:00 for a 500) I certainly feel swimming has faster performances even if you net all these items out.... but not as by as much as you would like to think.

I don't see any point in record keeping when the rules change so significantly. You say I want to penalize the new generation. Not at all. You, however, seem to want to penalize the former established performers. You say you respect the old guard, but you'd rather see a so called "improvement" in the sport negate what they have accomplished in the record books.

Actually, I would fully support these type of rule and technology changes if we decided to get rid of American and World Record keeping altogether. But it's too misleading to compare performances now to then and wipe older respected names off the books year after year when the changes to the sport are merely to make it easier to go faster, not slower.

Lindsay,

Whats wrong with noting in the record books that post 1970s records are performed with goggles. Is that REALLY a punishment to the record holders in the 1970s? Geek thinks an asterisk is a punishment.

John Smith

LindsayNB
February 14th, 2008, 12:53 PM
John, my approach to the records issue would be to publish the records in a timeline format that shows when the records were set along with the changes in rules and facilities that occurred along the way. I suspect that the resistance to simple asterisks is that it has also been suggested that drug-tainted records get an asterisk. In the day of the web there is no impedance to providing a richer presentation of the records than a simple table.

aquageek
February 14th, 2008, 01:19 PM
The arbitrary establishiment of rules to make former record holders feel more important only cheapens both their records and those of current record holders. Creating multiple systems of records within a sport is a terrible idea and would be viewed with the same skepticism that the doping era has brought onto baseball which, oddly enough, you seek to emulate with your asterisk idea.

Records are meant to be broken and every record holder knows that. If all it takes to forget a swimmer is to have their record broken, maybe they weren't such an asset to swimming in the first place.

Good swimming by your son, btw. No asterisk for him, that's straight up speedy swimming.

scyfreestyler
February 14th, 2008, 01:27 PM
The arbitrary establishiment of rules to make former record holders feel more important only cheapens both their records and those of current record holders. Creating multiple systems of records within a sport is a terrible idea and would be viewed with the same skepticism that the doping era has brought onto baseball which, oddly enough, you seek to emulate with your asterisk idea.

Records are meant to be broken and every record holder knows that. If all it takes to forget a swimmer is to have their record broken, maybe they weren't such an asset to swimming in the first place.

Good swimming by your son, btw.


Cheers! :drink:

ande
February 14th, 2008, 02:10 PM
track athletes get to use starting blocks
why not swimmers
track starting blocks have a much steeper slope
than the back end of those omega blocks

I learned an interesting fact about
the starting blocks at UT
blocks on the north end have 7 degree slope
blocks on the south end have a a 10 degree slope
when the bulkheads are down they put the 7 degree blocks on them
the bulkheads are built with a 3 degree slope
so when you put the 7 degree blocks on the 3 degree bulkhead
you have the effect of 10 degree blocks which is the current legal limit

I wish fina rules would allow
starting blocks or toes over the edge for backstroke starts
or better yet, let us dive in forward then roll over underwater.

scyfreestyler
February 14th, 2008, 02:14 PM
track athletes get to use starting blocks
why not swimmers
track starting blocks have a much steeper slope
than the back end of those omega blocks

I learned an interesting fact about
the starting blocks at UT
blocks on the north end have 7 degree slope
blocks on the end have a a 10 degree slope
when the bulkheads are down they put the 7 degree blocks on them
the bulkheads are built with a 3 degree slope
so when you put the 7 degree blocks on the 3 degree bulkhead
you have the effect of 10 degree blocks which is the current legal limit

I wish fina rules would allow
starting blocks or toes over the edge for backstroke starts
or better yet, let us dive in forward then roll over underwater.


:lmao:

Interesting about the bulkhead/block angle combination.

shark
February 14th, 2008, 02:38 PM
Shark appears to think that any change that results in lowered times is good.

Let's not get carried away. I believe what I said was: If you can find a way to get faster withing the current rules, go for it. Fin use and flip turns in breaststroke are clearly outside the rules. If they were approved to be included in swimming events, absolutely I would use them, because if I did not, I would be slower than my competition. Incidently, SDK was allowed to be unlimited until the committee put a 15 yard/meter limit on it. Way before that, breaststroke was allowed to be done completely underwater without breathing until the committee saw that it was dangerous. Within the rules, anything goes. My initial point was that if the blocks are APPROVED, hooray, faster times. If not, the point is mute. Within the rules, anything goes.

"That's all I have to say about that." -Forrest Gump

shark
February 14th, 2008, 02:59 PM
track athletes get to use starting blocks
why not swimmers

I wish fina rules would allow
starting blocks or toes over the edge for backstroke starts
or better yet, let us dive in forward then roll over underwater.

Ande,

You have access to some of the world's best coaches and swimmers. I wonder what the Reese's would say about this thread. I would wager a bet, that they would side with the argument of faster times are good and change is a necessity, as long as it is within the rules.

Good bye, this is giving me a headache.

LindsayNB
February 14th, 2008, 09:30 PM
Let's not get carried away. I believe what I said was: If you can find a way to get faster withing the current rules, go for it.

Although one should never underestimate FINA's ability to find inventive interpretations of their rules, the question can be paraphrased as "Should FINA change its rules to allow this new style of blocks?" And what principle should that decision be based on?

Redbird Alum
February 15th, 2008, 10:59 AM
I wish fina rules would allow
starting blocks or toes over the edge for backstroke starts
or better yet, let us dive in forward then roll over underwater.

Ande -

I think, with time, these may happen. (Remember the period when backstrokers could stand up on the gutter and effectively dive backwards? I also remember breaking many a finger due to having to touch first, especially with the old slatted touchpads!)

Kathy Casey
February 23rd, 2008, 12:30 AM
We just got the February issue of the "FINA Aquatics World" magazine. There is a full-page ad for that starting block on page 4. The last sentence of the text states, "The FINA homologation is in progress," meaning that approval or confirmation is in progress.
Kathy Casey

knelson
February 23rd, 2008, 01:28 AM
"The FINA homologation is in progress,"

Sounds like a euphemism for "the FINA palm greasing is in progress" to me! :)

kizzi77
February 23rd, 2008, 11:56 AM
Alright. I'm a little late to this thread, seeing as i just joined the forum and all, but i like these blocks from a safety standpoint more than speed.

Has anyone ever done a track start on a block that didn't have the best traction and have their back foot slip??!? Well, I have and having my back foot drag across the block as I essentially fell in the pool before a 200 I.M. was brutal. I could get away with not kicking on the fly and back while my foot violated all kinds of sanitation rules with blood flowing out. But when I came to breast the tears started to flow, :cry: further compounding the agony of the event. They had to stop the meet for 15 minutes to get me bandaged up when I FINALLY finished. I think my time was slower than my in-practice interval for I.M.s.All the while my coaches laughing at me for finishing this mid-season meet. :rofl:

So I approve of these blocks for that reason. :applaud:

daniel2768
February 29th, 2008, 10:22 PM
What's with the swimmer who has no goggles on? Perhaps he felt guilty for cheating with those starting blocks so he was trying to level the playing field by limiting his own vision.

that's funny we have a kid on my team who somehow has his cap cover his goggles every race. I swam without goggles since i was 3 so i can go all practice without if i need too. Unfortunately our pool is hyper-chlorinated and in the last 10 minutes of the 3 hour practice, i just swim, and flipturn when i cant hear the guy ahead of me kicking anymore... they found out and like to make me flip turn halfway in the pool when i forget my goggles.