View Full Version : Relays at Nationals

Tom McCabe
December 7th, 2003, 09:01 PM
Here is what I believe should be the criteria when composing the IM relays for Nationals.

1> Requests from 4 individuals who would like to form a relay together should be given the most precedence. Masters should be fun. Relay's are fun, especially when you swim with your teammates/friends. I know of several people I swim with who I could coax to nationals if they could compete in a relay together. Otherwise, they most likely would not go at all.

2> Relays wishing to set national records or state records. Sometimes these relay's are made up from individuals on different subgroups who want to come together to go for the existing record.

3> Have a checkbox on whether people would like to compete on the most competive relay in their own age group as opposed to a higher potential placed relay in another age group.

4> Lastly, formulate relays with the remaining people at best as possible.

I am just opening this up for ideas with some of my own. I do think IM needs to address these issues for national meets as the conflicts do come up. It would be best if a method was formulated so that we don't have individuals not swimming with IM because of relay issues.

Matt S
December 8th, 2003, 03:03 PM

Your ideas are interesting, but I am not clear on what you are suggesting. Do you mean that anyone who wants to swim on a relay at Nationals should submit their name to a central register, and then some as yet to be defined someone matches people up for relays? Do you mean to do this at some level below the National level? Most of the large USMS teams already do something like this in advance of Nationals. Do you mean we should loosen up the rule on same team affiliation to form a "legal" relay?

It has struck me that forming relays is too hard under current USMS rules, but on the other hand, do we want the four best swimmers from across the country (or perhaps the four current age group record holders in the case of the medley relays) teaming-up to put the record out of sight to anyone except a similar dream team? I don't know; maybe we do. Do we value faster records, or meaningful competition among USMS teams? Who will do the process of matching swimmers to relay teams? Like I said, interesting, but what is you idea exactly?


December 8th, 2003, 03:15 PM
My understanding of the relay process for IL Masters is that the IL Masters Secretary, in this case Mary Pohlmann (who is also the CMSA President), compiles a list of everybody who wants to swim on a relay and then tries to create the fastest relays based on the times that each swimmer submits to her.

I do know, that for Nationals in Tempe this past summer, if memory serves, it took Mary nearly 3 days just to create the few relays we did have. Trying to do all of what Tom suggests is going to be nearly impossible, unless Tom is willing to do it himself.

Right now, I think the way we have it is the best way for all concerned. However, if 4 IL Masters swimmers want to get together and form their own relay, I think that's fine. We've got time to work on the relay entry form (email me if you'd like a copy or look up on the CMSA newsletter page under the March-April 2003 newsletter for a copy).


December 8th, 2003, 06:01 PM
Matt, for Illinois Masters, we ask for peoples preferences for relays. Then a small ad-hoc committee tries to juggle the people around. There was no rigid rules, but we considered all of the points that Tom was suggesting. If Tom (or someone else) wants to help organize relays, they can e-mail Mary. If someone wanted to relieve Mary from the responsibilities of forming relays, then I think that person would need to demonstrate beforehand that they can handle the task.

I was part of group (of 4 people) that organized the Cleveland relays, and from the sidelines I got to hear some whining over the Arizona relays. Here is my perspective. (I can understand Tom's points, but I want to present counter-points.)

When people were asked for relay splits/ which days they could swim, there was room for comments. Sometimes you only find out at the day of the meet, "I only wanted to swim freestyle". If they would have made that comment earlier, they would have been happier. In fact, sometimes when people bail out at the last second (for justified or unjustified reasons), there is a mad scramble to find any legal relays that will match up with what was submitted at the start of the day.

As for 4 people requesting to swim together, I can see both sides of that issue. Sometimes honoring every request will mean all relays being stuck in the same age bracket, whereas a minimal change will allow you to spread out those relays over many age brackets!

I think part of the fun of Nationals is to mix it up with people you don't normally deal with. Sometimes the only way to grow is to be pushed out of your comfort zone.

For some new swimmers, they will get a richer experience if there is an old hand (so to speak) as part of the team.

I heard of an example where someone (basically) said, "I'm either on the most competitive relay, or not at all", to which I think, you selfish -------! For example, let's say you have 4 guys and 4 gals for mixed (medley) relays. It may turn out, due to limited stoke choices, that "fast person" is bumped to the second relay. Then "fast person" bails out, screwing three people who would want to do a relay. (I think there is a huge difference between asking to be on a competitive relay, and demanding to be on the fastest relay.)

I'm probably over-reacting. If people make their preferences known (and how rigidly they are to be enforced), the organizing group does its best to honor them. My concern is if people are too inflexible (let's say everyone makes some of the demands on Tom's list), there will be much fewer relays, and more people sitting around twiddling their thumbs.

Tom McCabe
December 8th, 2003, 07:56 PM
I know that allowing people to request to swim together adds to the confusion of making up the relays. I personally would typically swim any relay with anyone, especially newbies to give them the taste of swimming on the relay's. Since I go to all the national meets it works out that way anyhow.

I have in the past and will again in the future (hopefully) swim on a custom relay of old college buddies, or with the people I swim with on a day to day basis. In the past, we had our own independent team outside the umbrella of IM called CHUM. What I would like to try and avoid is switching teams to accomplish swimming such a relay.

I do know how involved formulating the relays are. That is all the more reason to have a set of guidelines for the volunteers to follow. I am bringing up the issues on the forum so we can hopefully get everyones ideas on making it easier for everyone involved, if that is possible.

Tom McCabe
December 8th, 2003, 07:59 PM
Why don't you give DGN a try. 5:45-7am MWF. You would get there faster than COD. They are hopefully going to be formulating a masters team this spring.


December 8th, 2003, 11:38 PM
Relays at Nationals:

Currently we have a form that swimmers who want to swim the relays fill out as Mark pointed out. You may request to swim on a relay with other swimmers which we have granted in the past. We try to do the relays the best we can and trying to please everyone. When we have such a huge group of swimmers it becomes challenging. We are open to any help anyone wants to offer. Right now we have Mary Pohlmann, Dave Gibson, Mark Mattson, Carl Saxton and Nadine Day that helps with forming the relays. Sue Welker had a big group at Tempe and her feedback was greatly appreciated. We are a team and we will have a huge force at Indy with a lot of relays.

Swimmers, please don't lose focus------We are there to have FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Swimming is Fun, and competing just adds to the fun and being with others that like to swim makes it more fun.

December 9th, 2003, 02:56 PM
As with anything, whoever is forming the relays should have a Plan B in case someone bails out at the last minute. Have a list of backup swimmers who don't care one way or the other if they are on a relay. I'll be first on your list of backup swimmers.

Mark Morrison
35+ male
breaststroke (best), backstroke (worst)

Tom McCabe
December 9th, 2003, 05:40 PM
You never answered me. I know you read my question. Is DGN out of your comfort zone? :) For that matter, you should be leading out lane :)

December 9th, 2003, 05:42 PM

Tom McCabe
December 9th, 2003, 08:00 PM
Downers Grove North. Mark swam with us at COD for awhile, but has since returned to Naperville Waves. I am trying to coax him to try out DGN and to lead the lane, both of which our out of his comfort zone. At nearly 7 foot tall, he should be tearing it up.

December 10th, 2003, 06:14 PM
Hi Mark Morrison! The problem is never with one person bailing out, the problem is with 2+ people bailing out, then finding replacements who will not change the age bracket, but still keeping the people who only want to swim backstroke on the 3rd fastest relay happy. :)

I remember in computer science class, the wedding problem... 5 guys and 5 gals want to marry (no same-sex marriages). Each guy ranks the girls, and vice versa. It's simple if each person has a different 1st choice, and their 1st choice picks them as well. The problem comes when the same person ranks high on many lists, or your 1st choice picks you 5th. In many cases, there is no obvious best solution. Depending on your criteria for what makes the "best" matches, you can have multiple solutions.

Tom, you need to remember that the times you are swimming right now are at my lifetime best. (Not Masters best, I mean lifetime best.) So unless we are swimming breaststroke, I should never be leading the lane. :) CoD was a good, but I think the Waves practices are what I need right now to get better. And being 9 ft tall is an advantage if the height is in your legs. My height is due to a long gut.

Coach Sue
December 12th, 2003, 10:45 AM
We will have a big Waves group going to Indy this year & I would gladly help with putting relays together.:)

Tom McCabe
February 25th, 2004, 09:04 PM
To the relay organizers:

John Martin, Kevin Lange, Brian Bateman, Tom McCabe

We would like to give this a shot at Nationals.


February 25th, 2004, 09:24 PM
Hi, Tom,

Looks like a good relay. Are you willing to help organize the relays for your age group?

Please make sure that each of these guys has sent in their relay form and fees to me. The form was printed in the last newsletter.

Naturally, make sure they have entered the meet too. Deadline for entries is postmark March 15th or online entry March 18th.

Thanks for your input, Tom.


Tom McCabe
February 26th, 2004, 09:26 PM
Hi Mary,

I will help with the relays for my age group. Brian is from an older age group and he would be swimming down to be on our relay. He wants to do it, but it could affect swimmers from the 55+ age group. It is special requests like this is why I started this thread in the first place. In well attended meets like Indy there are many condsiderations (objectives) when relays are being formed.


Tom McCabe
February 26th, 2004, 09:31 PM
Hi Mary,

I looked on the last newsletter and did not see the relay entry form. Did I just miss it, or is it not there?


February 26th, 2004, 10:11 PM
HI, Tom,

The Illinois Masters Relay form for 2004 USMS SC Nationals is located on page 30 of the Jan-Feb CMSA newsletter.


March 6th, 2004, 08:07 AM
Be sure to send me your relay form and fees if you are interested in swimming on Illinois Masters relays at Nationals.

The form is attached as a pdf file.