View Full Version : What were your likes and dislikes about the nationals?

November 26th, 2003, 06:11 PM
Would you fellow swimmers, coaches, officials and anyone else frequenting this forum be kind enough to participate in this poll?
Please share your experiences about the nationals (or similar major masters competitions)

What did you like about the event?

What did you like about the facility?

What bothered you? (I am especially interested in this one)

What did you wish was done differently?

Which nationals did you attend?

What did you think of the following:
(Was is it comfortable, accessible, convenient, friendly, did they matter, a lot, a little...?)

Surrounding areas to the facility?
Facility Amenities?
Event information?
Social events?

Any other comments? Please share!

Our team is forming the organizing committee for the 2005 LCM nationals as we speak.
We want to hear your comments and concerns, and do the best we can to address them!

Thank you for your time :)

December 2nd, 2003, 03:48 PM
Okay, 90 views, and no posts?
I just know it, you guys are wanting to see me beg, aren't you? ;)

Seriously, doesn't anyone have comments?

jim clemmons
December 2nd, 2003, 08:11 PM

Your questions "list" requires quite a bit of information. No one wants to have you beg, but if you go through the previous threads regarding similar subject matter, we think you'll find most of the answers you're looking for. Then you can "shorten" the list a little, perhaps, maybe.:)

December 3rd, 2003, 09:07 AM

I'll agree with Jim that your list of questions is a bit daunting! Maybe you should just try asking one question at a time ...

I've been to quite a few nationals in the last decade. Most recent was Tempe last spring. The thing I liked the most about it was the check-in system they used, which allowed heat sheets to be available for each day's events. In fact, "like" is not enough praise. I LOVED it. I hope I never have to go to another nationals where check-in closes a few hours before the event, and then you have to stand around waiting for the heat sheets to be posted, craning your neck around the hundreds of other swimmers who also want to see the heat sheets. And then you forget your heat-lane assignment before you've gotten back to your seat and have to start the whole procedure over again! Please keep Arizona's check-in system!


December 3rd, 2003, 09:52 AM
I was at Rutgers most recently.

(Was is it comfortable, accessible, convenient, friendly, did they matter, a lot, a little...?)

Surrounding areas to the facility? construction was a problem
Transportation? not reliable
Accommodation? great, just too far from the pool- my own fault
Hospitality? great
Facility Amenities? great
Pools? great
Event information? great
Social events? didn't sound too exciting so I didn't go
Check-in? great, as long as we could check in via internet during our travel day there

December 3rd, 2003, 06:38 PM
Hi All :)

Thanks for the responses. :)

I'm sorry about the laundry list of questions... I'm not sure what to ask and whom. You're very welcome to just answer one or two, or give me a higlight of what you liked and didn't like :D

I'll try to ask some more pointed questions, jsut as soon as I formulate a few.

Well, here's one: Since you guys mentioned check-ins, and heat sheets.
I'm just throwing this idea out without having thought about the logistics of it a whole lot, so please forgive me if it ends up being half -baked. Take it as food for thought.

What if the meet signup was available on-line, payable via creditcard or pay-pal?, along with the the check-in for certain (all? I'm not sure how and of that would work) events available on-line.

I know this is probably very expensive to set up, but maybe have touch screen or two available at the venue, so you can check in... I'm thinking, kind of the way the bridal registry's work?

I noticed that out local cable TV company had set-up a 'free internet' booth with a touch screen at couple of local carwashes so people can cruise internet while waiting for their car... I'm thinking, maybe their cables, I mean arms, could be twisted into a sponsorship.

Or set up a wireless hub/router, so people who brought their own laptop can link in and check in, see the heat sheets etc... Hey, they do it with wireless internet cafe's all the time!
[okay, I'm rambling and daydreaming here... I need to find me a systems engineer to volunteer for this]

How important are social events to you?
Our team likes to put on social events before and after the meet, to give people a chance to socialize a bit, get to know each others, have a beer together, when tere's not an immediate pressure of, what heat am I in, and when is it....
Was there a social event that you really liked?

jim clemmons
December 3rd, 2003, 08:12 PM
Yep, Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, LC Nats - '02.

December 4th, 2003, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by MegSmath

Please keep Arizona's check-in system!

Meg, Thanks you for some good input :)

Anyone happen to know what check-in system they used?
(I'll do some research on my own in the meantime)

December 4th, 2003, 12:36 AM
Originally posted by swim53
I was at Rutgers most recently.
Transportation? not reliable

Swim 53, thank you for the reply :)

Other than the obvious, was there something specific, that you know of, that made the trasportation not reliable?
Was it not communicated well? Not enough coverage? Inconvenient timing? Just plain no-shows?

December 4th, 2003, 08:51 AM

USMS supplies the on line entry system and on line event check-in for all nationals hosts. Starting with 2004, we also provide the merchant account used for credit card payments associated with nationals on line entries and just deduct the fees from payments to you. If you already had your own merchant account set up and would rather use that, we can talk about integrating it into the on line entry system (we already support the VeriSign and Echo payment gateways). We do not currently support PayPal, as it would require extra off-line coordination by the meet host to verify payments, but there is a chance that this could be supported by the 2005 meets. However, with all that you'll have to do for putting on a national meet, I doubt you'd want the extra tasks of verifying PayPal payments for on line entries added to your plate.

Beginning with 2004, our national office also processes all meet entries and provides the meet host with the complete meet database prior to the meet.

Someone on the championship committee has brought up a similar idea to your idea of doing the event check-in via computer terminals at the meet, and it may be something to consider. This would involve just making networked computers available for on line event check-in at the meet rather than paper check-in. Having two check-in systems (paper and electronic) is a pain to co-ordinate at the meet, so cutting down to just one would help the flow. One thing to consider is to always have a fall-back strategy available in case you lose your network connection at the pool or the web server is unreachable for some reason. To replace paper check-in at the meet would probably also require changes to the on-line check-in system, as it is currently designed to be useful just for individual check-ins. At national meets, many times a team representative will scan down the check-in sheets and check in all their team mates who are present at the meet. Enhancements to the on-line checkin system would be necessary to support this type of thing if we did away with paper check-in. It would be very helpful for you and others that will be involved in the MV meet to volunteer to work at the various stations for the national meets leading up to yours so that you get a good feel for what to expect at your meet. The only way to really know the complexities of putting on such a large meet is to experience them first hand.

I'm sure that we'll be talking to you a lot leading up to your meet in 2005. I'm looking forward to coming out to swim at the famous Mission Viejo facility.

December 4th, 2003, 09:00 AM
ditto to Jim Clemmons comment about the Rock Hall Social.
Best I've ever been to at any Nationals

December 4th, 2003, 09:37 AM
Yes, the Hall of Fame party was fabulous. It was like a religious experience for me, especially the John Lennon exhibit. And it was worth the price of admission to see Randy Nutt's reaction to some of Jimmy Page's clothing being on display! (And who would have thought that Jim Morrison lettered in swimming in high school?!)

Obviously, every Nationals is not going to have an attraction like the Hall of Fame nearby. Otherwise, I would say what is most important to me is that the cost be reasonable, the food and drink plentiful, and the location nearby.


December 4th, 2003, 02:09 PM
Originally posted by matysekj

USMS supplies the on line entry system and on line event check-in for all nationals hosts. ....

Thank You Jim for the good info.
I'm not sure what to say other than I'll pass it on to the people who are more involved at that end (like my coach...). I'm sure they will be much more familiar with the details. There are some very good logistics considerations that you brought up.

I'm just a tiny little wheel in the whole thing (although, a squeaky one at the moment).
Just a reminder... Don't take anything I say here as a done deal, it's just a brainstoming set of posts.

December 4th, 2003, 04:07 PM
Originally posted by swim53
ditto to Jim Clemmons comment about the Rock Hall Social.
Best I've ever been to at any Nationals

Uh oh...!:eek:
I feel like I need to resurrect Elvis to top that one!

And NO, tere will NOT be Elvis impersonators at out social... NOT!
Over my dead body NOT!

I'm thinking, close to the pool there is a Lake, Lake Mission Viejo.
I saw somewhere that in the summer they have a whole concert at the lake series, and they had some big names play there... I noticed Pat benatar did a show there as a part of the California summer concert series. I dunno, that is a part of a private community as far as I know, might be a tough and expenisve venue to get..
We'll come up with something fun, I'm sure. There's a lot of neat places around here.

December 8th, 2003, 01:11 AM
This comes from a letter that Dr. Keith Bell wrote to me last week:

Yes, USMS can boast about 40,000 members. So what? In my opinion that has detracted from much of what was good about USMS. For example, there are very few persons that have competed in as many USMS Nationals as I have. Yet, I've stopped entering and may never swim in one again because they have gotten so large that it has taken much of the fun out of it (the days are too long) and has been detrimental to good competitive conditions. Also in my opinion, the huge bureaucracy that has gone along with the rise in numbers has had many other negative results. I miss a smaller USMS.

December 8th, 2003, 06:21 PM
I can understand Dr Bell's concerns, but from similar discussions on past Nationals, I don't see a way to put the genie back in the bottle. (Most suggested changes to Nationals would disenfranchise one group or another.)

When I watch NCAA basketball on TV, I think, "wouldn't it be better if they had fewer than 65 teams in the tournament". Then I think back to when I was in college, and there was a real risk of cancelled water polo championships, because there were not enough Division I teams. (Misuse of Title IX was starting to rear its ugly head.)

Point: Sometimes smaller does not equal better. (Just like sometimes bigger does not equal better.)

Bert Bergen
December 8th, 2003, 07:41 PM
Agreed, smaller isn't necessarily better...or well received. Take a look at how well Dr. Bell's "other" masters endeavor is going and as what swimmers think of his idea for individual world records BY individual age (ie., men's 26 year old, men's 43 year old, women's 31 year old, women's 67 year old, etc).

Of 40,000 registered swimmer, how many realistically are expected to swim at a nationals, let alone a zone meet? The purpose of USMS (also shades of prior threads--can of worms here) was to encourage participation and friendship. What we do is the healthiest activity on earth and that is why we should continue to grow.

December 9th, 2003, 01:04 AM
Originally posted by shipleywm
I miss a smaller USMS.

What about smaller local meets? Do you not get the community feel out of smaller meets?

How would one take an event that encompasses a national level (of anything really, not just swimming) and keep it small and cozy?

December 10th, 2003, 09:27 PM
My two cents as pluses (+) and minuses (-): Been to: Santa Clara, Honolulu, Cleveland, Phoenix, and Piscataway....

Santa Clara: +crowd control, multiple ways to get where you're going to avoid the crowds, - parking (don't get there late), +heat sheets (up everywhere), ++close to home :)

Cleveland: +20 minute delayed Camcorder recording, - help can't breathe indoors (from CA), + the dome (breathing option for those unaccustomed to humidity) ++social

Honolulu: +detailed bus schedule, ++open water swim option

Phoenix: +water for a dollar stations other than the snack bar, +lots of shade, +++ foot (rails for short people like me so I can stand), - a bit of a squeeze to walk thru in certain areas, ++check in system,

Piscataway: +++P.A. system hooked up in locker room hallways, etc.. (for once I didn't have to worry what event they were on every time I got nervous), - construction=shuttle problems solution: car rental, we were warned, ++seating with backs(nice if you can't haul out your own high back chair from coast to coast), ++ check in system

I had a very enjoyed myself at every nationals, plus every other meet I've travelled to and I realize nothing is perfect, but some problems can be avoided.

Suggestions: I've only seen plentiful "You are Here Maps" at one place, can't remember where, its nice to have them in the program, but alot around the facility are nice for spectators and swimmers, the delayed taping was real cool too. The P.A. was awesome, no matter where I was I could hear the announcer, though it was freaky at first to hear a male voice next to me in the locker room.

One more liability issue you may want to cover....seems no matter what meet I travel to, I seem to almost slip and fall, clumsy me I know, but imagine all the floors soaked with water, unable to dry, due to sheer volume....getting some extra non-slip pads might not be a bad idea

December 11th, 2003, 12:31 AM
Hi Karla,
Thanks for the good feedback and ideas :)

Hey, my coach and I met you over at the pierce college SCM meet. Great job! You beat me in each event we swam in (we're in the same age group). You go girl!

Another year of training for me, and ... watch your heels ;) , well, I hope.