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View Full Version : Why semi-finals?



craig68
June 30th, 2008, 08:48 PM
I know they've been doing semi-finals in international meets (and U.S. Trials) for a couple of years now. Anyone ever heard a good explanation as to why? Trials and finals make sense, because everyone swims in the same pool on the same day, and the top 16 out of 100 or so swim head-to-head at night. But what do semi-finals accomplish? Seems like just another opporunity for the likes of Phelps and Hoff to sandbag, and another opportunity for everyone else to get tired before their race 'counts.'

thewookiee
June 30th, 2008, 09:24 PM
TV played a big part in the semi-final format being re-introduced right before the 2000 games.

They are able to build up more drama and excitement to hype, plus get more ad money, since the meet goes a few days longer.

At first, I didn't like the format but I have grown fond of it, seeing how people respond to each round of swimming.

Shaman
June 30th, 2008, 09:27 PM
I'd prefer adding 4x50 relays and 50's of stroke hands down.

pdjang
June 30th, 2008, 10:03 PM
I know they've been doing semi-finals in international meets (and U.S. Trials) for a couple of years now. Anyone ever heard a good explanation as to why? Trials and finals make sense, because everyone swims in the same pool on the same day, and the top 16 out of 100 or so swim head-to-head at night. But what do semi-finals accomplish? Seems like just another opporunity for the likes of Phelps and Hoff to sandbag, and another opportunity for everyone else to get tired before their race 'counts.'

I believe that they are trying to duplicate the event format for the Olympics.

Daaaave
June 30th, 2008, 10:18 PM
[quote=thewookiee;138770]TV played a big part in the semi-final format being re-introduced right before the 2000 games.

They are able to build up more drama and excitement to hype, plus get more ad money, since the meet goes a few days longer.
[quote]

Maybe the Aussie TV moguls... but the USA's? I wouldn't think so--why would they make something longer and more drawn out when they've grown so adept at editing the whole mess down to a couple minutes? Plus semi's make it more confusing to non-swimmers, who watch at night to see who'll make the team, but with some events in semis, some in finals, variance by 400s and above vs. 200s and below, it's hard to keep straight.

The US does it to match the Olympic schedule.

craig68
June 30th, 2008, 11:07 PM
I appreciate the feedback folks. But why do they have semi-finals in the Olympics now? They started as recently as 2000 or 2004. I think maybe in European championships they've been around for a while. But again, why? Have they been around in at least some countries as long as trials and finals have been competed in the U.S.?

thewookiee
July 1st, 2008, 06:23 AM
They made a come back at the 2000 games. The use to have them at major meets sometime through the early 70's, I believe. Then switched to the prelims-finals format.

And yes, it does have to do the FINA and the tv people wanting to add drama to the meet. There were a serious of articles about it in 98-99 about swimemrs having to adapt, how it would bring out the real stars, be good for tv audience and yes...money too.

LindsayNB
July 1st, 2008, 09:18 AM
I would guess that semis reduce the chances of "stars" being eliminated before the finals.

Allen Stark
July 1st, 2008, 11:24 AM
I have no inside information,but I am sure it is about money.It is a way to add more events without adding more swimmers(which is the"problem" with adding more events.) At the Olympics each session is sold for big bucks,more sessions equal more bucks.I hate it as it decreases the chances of WRs as the swimmers have more swims and come to finals less rested. I'll also continue my rant about 2 swimmers/country.In track they get 3.This one I know what happened,the other countries were tired of so many Americans winning medals that they took the opportunity of our(stupid,stupid.stupid)1980 boycott to pass a new rule.In a rational world there would just be a time standard for the Olympics,if you make it your in.

knelson
July 1st, 2008, 11:29 AM
It might also have something to do with padding out the finals session each night, too. Can you imagine how short the finals sessions would be without semis?

Chris Stevenson
July 1st, 2008, 04:13 PM
It might also have something to do with padding out the finals session each night, too. Can you imagine how short the finals sessions would be without semis?

They still had a consolation heat in the evening for places 9-16 at the Olympics. I also seem to recall that there was only 6 days of swimming -- maybe there were more events per day? -- and that it worked out about the same length as now.

Frank Thompson
July 1st, 2008, 04:49 PM
They still had a consolation heat in the evening for places 9-16 at the Olympics. I also seem to recall that there was only 6 days of swimming -- maybe there were more events per day? -- and that it worked out about the same length as now.

I remember reading somewhere that no one was paying attention to the consolation heats at either the Olympics or World Championships and FINA and maybe the IOC wanted to change the format and add excitment to the swimming meet for both the fans and the swimmers. TV and money could be attracted more and everyone would win out in the end.

It would bring kind of a March madness NFL NBA playoff type of enviroment to swimming. However, it wouldn't have the sudden death upset type of feel that those events have. It would give real good swimmers a second chance if they swam bad and not made top 8 and then have another go to make the finals. Also it makes a swimmer swim good two times and the swimmer has to use strategy so he does not tire out and not make it. Also you cannot sandbag or you risk losing out and not making it.

It makes every session mean something and the crowd at the arena and home on TV will pay attention because all events continue to a final and swimmers are eliminated with every heat, semi, and final. The 400 events and longer are not done this way because of the time of the event, the interest of the TV with distance events, and the physical drain of the swimmers swimming the event. The old way with consolation finals was not interesting for both TV, swimmer fan interest, and the swimmers themselves because a lot would scratch if they did not make the finals.

I say this in addition to what everyone else has said and agree this is why they have the format they have and I don't think its going to change. Of course its bad for swimmers like Phelps, Hoff, Lochte, and Coughlin because they swim multiple events but for the overall good of the sport FINA and the IOC thinks this is best and NBC does also because they can show more on TV.