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View Full Version : Had a great time at SCY Nat's!



riderlee
May 24th, 2005, 12:40 AM
Thanks to everyone involved in the Ft. Lauderdale Nationals. I had a great time and met some exceptional people. I especially want to thank Doug Malcolm for the competition in the adjacent lane. It looks like (from USMS data) you have not competed for quite a while and had a great meet! I had not competed for over 20 years when I entered the 2001 Nat's at Santa Clara and have done pretty well for the past few years. Doug exemplifies what our sport should be all about; a true competitor who brings out the best in someone like me who may not have accomplished the standards acheived in Ft. Lauderdale without someone like him next to me. I never got a chance to thank you so I am doing so now. Keep up the good work!

I would also like to congradulate John Blank for being the first male competitor over 45 to break one minute in the 100 yard breaststroke; a great accomplishment! I have never broken a minute in that event and am full of envy.


Lee Rider

Fritz
May 24th, 2005, 10:05 AM
I'd like to especially thank the announcer Mark Gill. He was well informed, energetic and funny all at the same time. We should offer him the job of USMS annoucer and get him to all the meets.

I'll second the congratulations to Jon Blank. I trained next to him all year. He set his goals, worked hard and it paid off. I know this will embarrass him but he's an example for all of us to follow.

matysekj
May 24th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by Fritz
I'd like to especially thank the announcer Mark Gill. He was well informed, energetic and funny all at the same time. We should offer him the job of USMS annoucer and get him to all the meets.

Mark does a great job as announcer, but don't believe everything he says into the microphone. He was making up things about me all weekend - most of which was false, but all in fun. It is tough sometimes when you're not having a good meet and you have to ask people what was said about you this time after each race. His time will come.

NKMD
May 24th, 2005, 10:55 AM
Jim,
Darn, I wanted to buy one of your Gospel CD. :-)

Your breast events looked good.

I did try to get a few words about him when he swam the 200 free since he took over 30 minutes to recover from a 2:00 free.

It's hard to get a word in since he took the cordless mic to the blocks when he was swimming and then started commentating right after he was done swimming.

Now, that take's talent. He did keep the meet very entertaining.

knelson
May 24th, 2005, 11:13 AM
Originally posted by NKMD
It's hard to get a word in since he took the cordless mic to the blocks when he was swimming and then started commentating right after he was done swimming.

I noticed that! I saw him with the mic while he was standing behind the blocks waiting for his relay heat. I expected him to hand over the mic sort of like runners have to pass the baton in relays :)

I had a great meet and a great time. Thanks to everyone who helped out in Ft. Lauderdale!

dorothyrde
May 24th, 2005, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by NKMD
Jim,
Darn, I wanted to buy one of your Gospel CD. :-)

Your breast events looked good.

I did try to get a few words about him when he swam the 200 free since he took over 30 minutes to recover from a 2:00 free.

It's hard to get a word in since he took the cordless mic to the blocks when he was swimming and then started commentating right after he was done swimming.

Now, that take's talent. He did keep the meet very entertaining.

Nadine, how did your meet go? Your times looked pretty good, like you are recovering nicely, good job.:)

Rich Abrahams
May 24th, 2005, 01:19 PM
I'd like to add my kudos to Mark for a very informative and entertaining announcing job. Add my vote for him to get the permanent job. One of the things that really helped was a great sound system. You could hear clearly from anywhere on the deck and that was a big plus.

Also, I thought the meet was extremely well organized and I'd personally like to thank Stu Marvin for coming out of "retirement" to run the show. Now maybe he'll have some time to start competeing again.

hrietz
May 24th, 2005, 01:35 PM
Mark was very entertaining and did a good job. I'm sure that Rich especially enjoyed being referred to by Mark as a "nineteen year old" in his 200 free!!!

Rich Abrahams
May 24th, 2005, 03:01 PM
Heather,

That's the first I heard of that. Maybe I should reconsider

hrietz
May 24th, 2005, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by Rich Abrahams
Heather,

That's the first I heard of that. Maybe I should reconsider

I think that it was after the first 50. He said something to the effect of "Now we have 19 year old Rich Abrahams taking the lead in the 200".

By the way you truly are an inspiration in both your fast swimming and by the way you look. Is it the Colorado air??? You might have to start bringing your driver's license to meets to prove that you are actually 60!!!

knelson
May 24th, 2005, 03:53 PM
I didn't really notice Rich's times until I got back home and looked at the "record breaking swims." I was floored. Well done, Rich!

Karen Duggan
May 24th, 2005, 04:05 PM
Amazing :)

hrietz
May 24th, 2005, 04:13 PM
I think that Rich should write a book called "Secrets to Achieving the Six Pack after Sixty". Judging by the interest of several posters in trying to get a six pack again I think that it would be a best seller...

waves101
May 24th, 2005, 05:09 PM
I had a great time too! Kudos to all the meet organizers and volunteers. I hadn't swam at the pool in 21 years (1984 Y Nationals as an age grouper) and can't wait to swim there again. I was amazed by all of the fast times and loved seeing the city dominated by swimmers. Thanks to the Hospitality area too! The Gold Medal sponsorship was well worth having a place to cool off in the AC and get a good cold bottle of water.

Big Streamline
May 26th, 2005, 01:23 PM
I agree - great job by the meet organizers and all of the volunteers last week. The meet seemed to run super smooth and Mark Gill was very entertaining behind the mic. I only identified 3 things that would make future nationals even better: cooler weather (can't control that!!); $1/minute massage rates ($1.50/min was a bit steep); and a return of the small/medium team competition. Why were the small/medium team categories removed in the first place?

matysekj
May 26th, 2005, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by Big Streamline
I only identified 3 things that would make future nationals even better: ... and a return of the small/medium team competition. Why were the small/medium team categories removed in the first place?

The championship committee voted at last year's convention to change the small/medium/large team categories and their 1st through 3rd place awards to a single category with 1st through 10th place awards.

My take on this topic is that the small/medium/large categories were completely arbitrary and resulted in some less than desirable results. For example:

It doesn't seem right that a team with 13 swimmers present would receive an award for the small team category while a team with 17 swimmers that scored more points at the meet did not receive an award in the medium team category.
A team with 1,000 registered swimmers that only brought 13 swimmers to the meet could earn an award in the small team category. A team that large is hardly a "small team" and should not be rewarded arbitrarily for such a small turnout (unless these 13 swimmers really placed in the top ten overall team points).
There were a few teams that were found to be "encouraging" their slower swimmers to enter the meet unattached so that their team could be placed in the small team division. This is counter to the Masters Swimming goals of participation and fostering cameraderie.


Personally, my team has received awards for the small and medium team categories in the past. In cases where other teams with more swimmers outscored us and didn't receive an award, I kinda felt that our award was much less meaningful. If a team really wants to win a team award, they will get a big turnout at the meet and enter lots of relays and encourage each other throughout the meet. That's what teams are all about in my view.

jim clemmons
May 26th, 2005, 02:11 PM
From Big Streamline:


$1/minute massage rates ($1.50/min was a bit steep)

Hey Mike,

The massage "dude" upstairs charged the $1.00/min rate (at least on Friday he was).

I didn't hear what the massage "dudette" was charging. Perhaps you were getting hit with a surcharge due to your "Big"ness.


Maybe they should consider adding barfbags-to-go after some of the "longer" events. I heard there was not only one needed but a couple of others were required after the 1000 and 1650.

It's always fun swimming with the VCM folks.

Jim

Karen Duggan
May 26th, 2005, 03:18 PM
I don't know what all Scott S., the maseusse, did to me. He REALLY hurt me as he was massaging, but I didn't say anything because I didn't think any damage was being done. However, when I got in the warm up pool the range of motion in my left shoulder was markedly improved! That's the arm I carry kids on normally, and it felt like brand new. I had my best race of the meet after that massage :) I had another appt with him but missed it because of races :( He was AWESOME!

I too was only charged $1.00.

Big Streamline
May 26th, 2005, 03:26 PM
Jim (Matysek) - Thanks for the info....it sounds like the championship committee has already thought about this issue at length. I agree with everything you said, but it still would be nice to get back to some of the fun small club team battles that our team (VCM) experienced at Indy and AZ. With many of the larger teams now being "state" teams with teammates who don't even train in the same pool/city/state together, it doesn't bode well for the individual clubs and small teams anymore. The relay records are also another subject with these combined teams, but in the end it's probably better for Masters swimming since it's attracting more swimmers (via recruitment) who may otherwise chose not to compete. I guess if our team wants to jump back into the team competition, we'll have to get bigger and/or join an area/state team.

FYI - I thought about the team ranking issue during the meet, and was initially thinking about tossing out an idea for a new team scoring proposal where the current scoring system would be used along with a "swimmer-weighted" team score (total score divided by the # of swimmers). I was thinking that the team rankings would then be compiled by the sum of their two rankings (i.e., CMS = 1 (total score ranking) + 20? (swimmer-weighted ranking) = 21, while TOC = 4 + 1? = 5, and so forth). The team with the lowest score would be the champion. Interestingly enough, I scored a few of the top 10 teams from last week using this approach, and found that TOC would probably rank first due to their extremely high "swimmer-weighted" scores (men, women & combined were all well above 30, while CMS and many other large teams were in the 15-25 range). A problem with this approach is that it might drive teams to select "elite-only" members n order to increase their swimmer-weighted score. Well it's just an idea.....I'll keep thinking.....it brings up ideas of college football's BCS system.

By the way, Mark really talked up a storm during your races....payback may be necessary.

Big Streamline
May 26th, 2005, 03:41 PM
Jim (Clemmons) - It's always fun to swim with you too. You had an awesome meet, keep it up. Nice comments about "Big"ness and barf bags...loved those. I'd like to point out that a few ISHOF 5-gallon buckets of water also work well in cleaning up post-1650 distress episodes.

On the issue of $1.50/min, that was the rate on Thursday. I didn't go back after that cause I needed to save money for my post-meet beer fund. Maybe there was a revolt and the massage gang lowered their prices on Friday.

LindsayNB
May 26th, 2005, 04:49 PM
Team competition was debated at length in another thread on
"super teams", you might want to do a search if you are interested.

My pet scheme is to have two classes of team competition, one based on participation like the current system and a second based on small fixed size teams. Participation is a good goal and competition with unlimited numbers is a good thing, but competition based on differing numbers of swimmers is inherently uneven/unfair and will often tell you as much about the distance between the meet venue and the team home base as the competitiveness of the club's swimmers. If you want fair competition you absolutely have to have fixed sized teams, as they do at the Olympics or World Championships. You could have a team size of eight and for each event the team gets the points of their swimmer with the highest number of points in that event (i.e. you need team members that can swim a variety of events not eight 50free swimmers). I'm not sure that eight is the right number but this scheme meets all the basic criteria and objections raised about other schemes.

mbmg3282
May 26th, 2005, 05:04 PM
Just to add on to a few of Jim Matysek's comments as to why the championship committee recommended getting rid of the small, medium and large system.

The divisions were arbitrary. A team with 17 swimmers would be small and a team with 18 would be medium. It didn't make much sense as to where we assigned the breakpoints.

The large division could contain a team that had 250 swimmers and some that only had 80.

At many meets, being in the large team guaranteed you a banner event if no one scored. As an example, in Tempe there were only 2 large teams.

There have been examples where the 4th place small team outscores some of the medium teams that earned a banner.

Overall, we felt that 1 - 10 would be a fairer scoring system. You however bring up an excellent point that what we have now encourages your team to merge with others to be big enough to compete against the combined teams. There will be a rule proposal next year that will separate out the independent teams into a category of their own while still having a category for the large combined teams.

The championship committee would be open to new ideas on scoring. We are not close to agreeing on the above proposal yet.

Mike...be careful what you say or you could be my target the next time I get to announce. And those distance events allow so much more to be said.

Karen Duggan
May 26th, 2005, 05:27 PM
Here we go again, Mark.

I am planning on going to the convention, will it be decided there?

mbmg3282
May 26th, 2005, 05:34 PM
Karen, I was thinking the same thing.

It will probably not be decided this year. In part because the swimming rules portion of the USMS rule book is voted on ever other year. This year, we are dealing with the legislative portion of the book. Also, to be fair, we should probably let the current system be used for a few meets before we begin changing things. I would expect that the topic may be discussed this year and actual rule proposals will come forth next year.

knelson
May 26th, 2005, 05:41 PM
Originally posted by Karen Duggan
I don't know what all Scott S., the maseusse, did to me.

I believe a man is a "masseur." A masseuse always refers to a woman.

kristilynn
May 26th, 2005, 08:57 PM
I, too, was thinking that the team scores needed some sort of revision. Our team is very small, and we only brought 6 swimmers to the meet (SAWS). We still managed to score 165.5 points without even having relays.

It was discouraging to know that our swimmers were placing so well and know that there was no conceivable way for us to compete against teams combined by state with 80+ swimmers. Because we knew placing top ten was impossible even if we had entered relays, we opted not to enter any relays so that we could be fresh for our individual swims.

I also compete in Masters ski racing, and at our National championships, we score on a percentage. Having a larger team doesn't necessarily help unless all of your team is placing well in their respective age groups. I am certainly not one of the strongest racers, and I have never felt like my team discouraged me from participating so that I wouldn't bring down their percentage.

Just some thoughts. This was my first meet in many years, and I absolutely loved getting back into it. I'd like to go again next year.

Kristi

Glenn
May 26th, 2005, 09:22 PM
Who was the woman who swam the 200 back who, it appeared to me, had had a stroke and was essentially swimming with one arm? Talk about an awesome performance!! If that is not the essence of Masters swimming, I don't know what is. To me her performance was truely amazing!


Let me add too that the meet ran smoothly and right on time. It was nice to be able to hear the announcer too. Great job all:D

Glenn

swimr4life
May 26th, 2005, 10:44 PM
Ft. Lauderdale was one of the best run meets I have ever been to! Kudos to everyone who organized, planned and worked the meet!! It was nice to have time to go to the beach and enjoy a dinner out with my teammates at the end of each day. Very relaxing!! I've been to Nationals that started at 7 and ended at 8-9 at night.....very exhausting and not the best conditions for peak performances. Ft. Lauderdale was GREAT!! THANKS!:D

TheGoodSmith
May 27th, 2005, 09:07 PM
Yes, Mark was entertaining indeed. Then again, being a self proclaimed Metrosexual, creativity flows naturally from Mark.

Just remember this Mr. Gill...... The "Good" and The "Evil" are watching your every move. We are researching your past, digging up dirt on you every day. What's worse, Mrs. "Evil" is equally interested in your blossoming career as an announcer.

Note: she is not as forgiving as her sasquatch husband.


The "Good" Smith
:cool:

BruceGianniny
May 28th, 2005, 07:15 AM
Originally posted by Glenn
Who was the woman who swam the 200 back who, it appeared to me, had had a stroke and was essentially swimming with one arm?

Glenn

Similarly, who was the woman swimming longer freestyle events and, with a fast rhythm, alternated 3 strokes with right arm and 2 strokes with left? Had to be in great condition to keep that up. I wondered about her story.

mattson
May 29th, 2005, 07:53 AM
Originally posted by matysekj

A team with 1,000 registered swimmers that only brought 13 swimmers to the meet could earn an award in the small team category. A team that large is hardly a "small team" and should not be rewarded arbitrarily for such a small turnout (unless these 13 swimmers really placed in the top ten overall team points).

That attitude would tend to penalize teams that encourage new swimmers and triathletes to sign up (for practices, maybe not meets), and reward overly competitive (selective) teams.

I hear what people are saying about the team designations, but I still kinda enjoyed it. You didn't know a priori where the team divisions were (or often how many people from your own team signed up) until the results were in. Unless your team was clearly the largest or smallest, your team could easily be at the top *or* bottom of a "team" category.

matysekj
May 29th, 2005, 08:15 AM
Originally posted by mattson
That attitude would tend to penalize teams that encourage new swimmers and triathletes to sign up (for practices, maybe not meets), and reward overly competitive (selective) teams.

Exactly. That's why I also don't favor any system that ranks teams based on some sort of ratio of registered swimmers and points scored either. I like the system used this year - top ten teams at the meet win awards, period. There's no ambiguity, nothing arbitrary about it (besides the number 10), and it's completely fair in my mind. To those that complain that a small team has no chance, I say that the results are entirely in your hands. Build a bigger, stronger team and you will win an award. It's the same way for individual events and relays - swim faster, win an award.

LindsayNB
May 29th, 2005, 10:10 AM
Originally posted by matysekj
To those that complain that a small team has no chance, I say that the results are entirely in your hands. Build a bigger, stronger team and you will win an award. It's the same way for individual events and relays - swim faster, win an award.

You have hit the crux of the matter on the head, the team points are, at the core, a participation award not a performance award. People who live in large urban areas close to the site of the meet and/or with affluent members are given a large advantage. Short of moving from a small town or city to a large urban area the results are definately not in your own hands. It is in no way like the individual events or relays, in which, except for the requirement of four swimmers for relays, there is no participation factor, just swimming performance.

Rewarding large team size and fair competition regardless of team size are contradictory goals and no amount of tweaking the current system will reconcile them. The only way to achieve both goals is to have two separate awards, one that rewards large teams and one that offers fair competition, which can only be achieved by fixed team sizes. People who have no problem with relays which are competitions with a team size of four for some reason I don't understand have a problem with team competitions with eight or sixteen or whatever swimmers.

I'm not suggesting getting rid of the total points competition, I'm just saying that if you also want a competition based on performance without an advantage being conferred by population densitity, location, and affluence you need to add a separate competition with fixed sized teams where any team of the specified size competes on a level playing field with the other teams, as per the relays.

matysekj
May 29th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by LindsayNB
You have hit the crux of the matter on the head, the team points are, at the core, a participation award not a performance award. People who live in large urban areas close to the site of the meet and/or with affluent members are given a large advantage. Short of moving from a small town or city to a large urban area the results are definately not in your own hands. It is in no way like the individual events or relays, in which, except for the requirement of four swimmers for relays, there is no participation factor, just swimming performance.

I don't understand how you can say that. The swimmers you bring to the meet still have to place in order for your team to get an award. One could certainly field a team of 300 swimmers, none of whom place at the meet, and you would not earn a team award. Yes, statistically you are more likely to get a team award if you bring more swimmers, but that's not a guarantee. The swimmers you bring still have to score points.


Originally posted by LindsayNB
Rewarding large team size and fair competition regardless of team size are contradictory goals and no amount of tweaking the current system will reconcile them. The only way to achieve both goals is to have two separate awards, one that rewards large teams and one that offers fair competition, which can only be achieved by fixed team sizes. People who have no problem with relays which are competitions with a team size of four for some reason I don't understand have a problem with team competitions with eight or sixteen or whatever swimmers.

We just disagree here. I don't see how having awards for the top ten scoring teams at the meet is contrary to fair competition. I disagree with your conclusions and do not like the idea of fixed team size competitions. I don't believe that encourages participation if only the top N swimmers on a team count towards a team award. I believe that fosters elititism.

LindsayNB
May 29th, 2005, 11:39 AM
There are no guarantees only advantages. There is no guarantee that four swimmers will swim 200m relay faster than a single swimmer but the playing field is not level in a one person versus four person relay race. In any individual or relay event there are many factors that can make for an uneven race, but the terms of the competition provide a level playing field. This is not true with variable team sizes.

I explicitly stated that I was not advocating removing the total points competition, by all means keep it. Participation is a good thing and should be rewarded. What I am arguing is that if you want to have team competitions with a level playing field you must have fixed sized teams. There simply is no way to have large teams compete with small teams on even terms without introducing factors that discourage inclusion/participation by the less elite.

Since you are against fixed team size competitions I assume you are against relays? Why is it ok for a club to field four relay teams but not ok for the club to field two eight person teams that compete on some other defined basis? I never suggested that a club be limited to one team in the fixed sized team competitions.

All I am saying is that you can't have one competition that both rewards larger teams and that allows small teams to compete on a level playing field. The two goals are contradictory and can best be met with two competitions.

Paul Smith
May 29th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Sorry to say that life ain't fair..............and we're trying to make this far to complicated. I guess we should look to the Olympics and change thir current format so that large countries like the US & China can't always win the most medals?! Or the current USS system, maybe we should "fix" the number of people that attend JO's or nationals so that we can level the playing field.........can you say "socialism"?

Jim's point about size being in your own hands is correct and Colorado is an example of that.......a small group of people busted their butts getting people on board, organizing hotels, relays, etc. and we managed to get over 80 of them all the way across the country. Everyone that atended got to swim on relays regardless of points scored or not.

LindsayNB
May 29th, 2005, 06:18 PM
It's worth noting that the Olympics use a fixed team size in swimming (although allowing teams to be less than full size), so the question is really the other way around, should the Olympics be changed to allow countries to enter as many athletes as they want? The Olympics already went in the other direction by limiting each country to two swimmers per event.

Peter Cruise
May 29th, 2005, 11:49 PM
I must point out that Lindsay is presently embroiled in a similar discussion of much the same points in a Canadian forum. He is obviously a glutton for punishment, therefore his potential for doing massive amounts of yardage plus dedication to technical improvement means the sky is the limit. Watch out Tall Paul...

Paul Smith
May 30th, 2005, 10:01 AM
Peter, point taken!!

Although Lindsay is correct with the his reference to fixed sizes in swimmers, my comment refered to the overall team size (all sports). The example being that the US, China, Russia, etc area lays at the top of the overall medal count which could be likened to the current debate about about masters team designations/size. Also, the more relevant comparison would be USS but that argument was avoided.

More importantly to my point is there is no perfect system for trying to level the playing field............and some of the suggestions would create an incredible nightmare to administer (come on Shaf!).

So with that in mind, my challenge was for people to get out and recruit if they want to have more competitive teams.........our getting 80 people to show up didn't "just happen"! The beauty of the current system (much like USS) is that it would allow swimmers from small isolated clubs to swim with a larger state team or any team that want for that matter......free market!

LindsayNB
May 30th, 2005, 12:03 PM
Unfortunately I am not familiar with USS competition, if you care to fill me in on the relevant aspects I can see how it affects my argument.

The issue which I was trying to address is the desire of smaller clubs to be able to compete on a level playing field. One solution is for the small clubs to join together into "super teams". Some people have a problem with this solution as it raises the question of what a team is, witness the whole debate about super teams. The basic flaw is that teams gain advantage by being bigger, and while participation is a goal taking two teams and combining them doesn't actually advance the goal of participation. To start the smaller teams in a state get together to form a larger team that can compete with the bigger clubs, but that leaves the door open for California to enter a state team, which means the smaller states are no longer competitive, so maybe they form a regional team, so California joins with the other west coast states etc. etc. International competition has a clear definition of what constitutes a team, i.e. each country has a team made up of citizens of that country. Clubs used to be the basis of team competition. Blah blah blah, see the super team thread if you want more on this. :)

Relays are a good example of team competition on a level playing field. You have a fixed number of swimmers and while one team may have better swimmers than another the playing field on which those swimmers compete is level. I think they offer a good model for team competition in that small teams can field relay teams that compete on a level playing field, and while a club may place its best swimmers on one relay a club can enter multiple relay teams so there is no pressure to exclude the less elite swimmers from participation as there is with any scheme involving averaging points per swimmer. Yes, statistically the top four swimmers on a 200 person team are probably faster than the top four swimmers on a 20 person team but the two teams of four are competing on a level field.

All I am saying is that if you want to offer small teams an opportunity to compete on a level playing field with large and small teams alike, relay teams provide a better model to build on than the total points competitions. It really isn't that radical a proposition and it isn't an attempt to even out the number of medals, it is just a way to provide a level playing field like in the current individual and relay events.

Conniekat8
May 31st, 2005, 01:24 AM
Why not take total points a team won, and divide it by the number of splashes the team had (or number of people), including relays.

This could award teams for both, participation AND competetiveness. More participations will get you into relays and score more points, then a team with perhaps only 3 very elite swimmers, but not enough to make up a relay.
Perhaps not a perfect way, but one that may equalize competetiveness vs. participation a little bit more then it is now.

Paul Smith
May 31st, 2005, 08:58 AM
level what playing field?

small teams in any sport at a national championship will always be at disadvantage and I believe understand this (I did before joing CMS, I went to a smaller Div I college, etc.) and wouldn't expect to challenge a larger team in overall points.

your system could ulitmately limit swimmers from larger teams from participating because at some point you have to have a "cap" to balance with th smaller clubs. If not, then your going to punish these programs by creating some "formula" to balance something out that should be left as "pure" (unless you want to start moving people from billings MT to larger cities so they have access to bigger clubs?).

As for "super teams", which Colorado would fall into....the argument against them or any team that bands together is that someday CA will do the same. If they want to do that and try and adminster it I say good luck and go for it.

mattson
May 31st, 2005, 10:09 AM
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think there are two reasons for the team banners:
1) Swimmers are a competitive bunch, so trying to beat another team gets people frothing at the mouth.
2) Advertisement. A smallish team can mention that they placed at Nationals, in their recruitment literature.

So my preference for the old system (arbitrary large/medium/small categories) is because of (2). You want teams that don't normally bask in the lime-light to have a fighting chance to get a banner.

So if we stick with "top 10 teams" (for simplicity), I'm guessing that we don't want the same 10-15 teams to hog the banners. How about, if your team wins a banner this year, you can't win a banner next year. Or some other system that spreads the wealth a little. (Dunno, just thinking out loud.)

gull
May 31st, 2005, 10:11 AM
Originally posted by Paul Smith
So with that in mind, my challenge was for people to get out and recruit if they want to have more competitive teams.........our getting 80 people to show up didn't "just happen"! The beauty of the current system (much like USS) is that it would allow swimmers from small isolated clubs to swim with a larger state team or any team that want for that matter......free market!

OK Paul, so what's it going to take to get you to swim for North Carolina? Do you have an agent we should contact? Tell us your bottom line and we'll make it happen. Maybe you could bring that other Smith too.

LindsayNB
May 31st, 2005, 10:19 AM
What I read into the replies is that the idea of having two seperate team competitions, one for total points in which participation is encouraged and the larger clubs will almost always dominate, and one for fixed size teams of small enough size that smaller clubs could enter a team and compete on a level field, so that small clubs also have a team competition that they can be competitive in without needing to amalgamate with other clubs, is somehow too radical to be considered. All the replies appear to presume that there can only be one competition that must be based on total points whether it is a simple total or averaged or split into catagories. Rather than continuing to go in circles perhaps someone can simply address why it is undesirable to have two competitions to reflect the two contradictory goals of encouraging participation and allowing small teams to compete on a level field?

To address Connie's question of "why not average?", it is because averaging means that any swim that doesn't score points becomes a liability and most people will not accept a schema that discourages participation by club members who are not going to score big points. Again, the two goals are contradictory and ANY scheme to "balance" them within a single competition will compromise one of the goals.

To address Paul's question of "Level what playing field?" my proposal is to create a new playing field on which teams from small clubs can compete on an even basis with teams from large clubs, it is really very analogous to relay competition. I am NOT proposing to do away with the total points competition. Small clubs will rarely if ever win the total points competition but at least they will have a field on which they can be competitive.

I do not see how my proposal would ever limit swimmers from larger teams or how any sort of cap would ever result. We already have relays which are competitions for teams of four swimmers without any resulting limits or caps. There is no need for formulas to balance anything and the competition is as pure as any.

Paul Smith
May 31st, 2005, 12:49 PM
Mark, I hear what your saying about "advertising" however I'm not aware that any team ever benefited from that? Team growth falls first to individuals pulling in friends, clinics, etc. etc. In our case, we had about 5-6 VERY vocal "recrutiers" (Evil-GoodSmith) who helped get some folks on board who may not have gone to nationals.

Craig...........I'm cheap.........unlike Evil-Goodsmith!!

Lindsay; I hate to sound harsh.......but I'm tired of th old PC crap thats worked its way int sports saying things like "level the plying field". Bottom line is population base is the first factor on teaam size, then pool availability, then coaching/programs. Trying to create parity in sports, especially masters swimming where there's no money involved to me is silly.

mattson
May 31st, 2005, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by Paul Smith
Mark, I hear what your saying about "advertising" however I'm not aware that any team ever benefited from that?

I hear what you are saying, Paul, as I have no direct evidence, just a gut feeling.

My local team managed to win the IL state meet last year, interrupting 20+ years of Evanston dominance. That was of enough interest to make an article in the health club newsletter (where we swim), and a few other places.

Anything that can be used as an excuse to write a (positive) article about Masters swimming is a good thing. :) When I'm talking about advertising, I'm thinking of the group that is really not aware that Masters swimming exists. Five years ago, I fell into that category. I heard of it, but didn't really look into the possibilities until I noticed my weight gain from volleyball. (Too many jello shots and beer pitchers in my competitive summer league.)

Western Ky swimmer
June 1st, 2005, 03:33 PM
Not to change the subject!! I am Bleary eyed trying to keep up with it. Maybe to much Chlorine on the brain. I live in a place where most adults never even had the chance to learn to swim!! SO it makes recruiting tough. I am working on it. Thankfully the rest of the state swims so I had some team to call my own. I had a great time at the meet and was glad to see the teams who won. They deserved it! They had the best and most swimmers. Anyway, my question is this, does anyone know if we can still get T shirts from the meet? If so who do I contact? Thanks Cindy

TheGoodSmith
June 1st, 2005, 05:17 PM
Leave well enough alone. We don't need to adjust small team scores in some fashion in order to level the playing field in order to compare to large teams. Note: Mission Viejo won USS Nationals (dare date myself and say the word AAU Nationals) many years on talent that was from out of state. It's just a fact of life.


Really.......... people......... it's just Masters Swimming.


John Smith

Rob Copeland
June 2nd, 2005, 11:04 AM
I’ll probably regret this post, but in my opinion the Olympics and relays are two examples of UNLEVEL playing fields. When was the last time small team (Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India, Qatar, Macedonia …) won the medal count in swimming over the “super-clubs” (USA, Australia, USSR/Russia, Germany, China)? And when was the last time you saw Mozambique duke it out for gold with the USA in the 800 Free Relay? And while I haven’t looked at the Estonian Swimming discussion forum lately, I’d guess they aren’t grousing about changing the way Olympic medals are awarded because they aren’t distributed evenly. And one more Olympic note, team size is capped, not fixed.

And talk about level playing fields; it doesn’t get more level than swimming. Each swimmer has practically identical conditions (starting block height, lane length, wall conditions, timing system, water temperature …). So if Tall Paul beats you in a race, blame genetics, blame your training, blame Paul (because of his genetics and training) but don’t blame the playing field.

In Masters, team scoring is supposed to be the icing on the cake, not the whole meal. My most memorable masters moments are NOT of me hoisting a team banner at nationals, they are of my swims and my fellowship with other masters. I admit I had a different view of this in school, where winning the conference championships was a big deal. But, as I was recently reminded “it's just Masters Swimming”.

And congratulation to the Smith’s, Jones’s and all the other folks who were fortunate enough to attend USMS SCN, in sunny Florida!

LindsayNB
June 2nd, 2005, 01:16 PM
It seems to me that there is a problem in terminology at work here. It seems to me that there are two distinct concepts that are quite different but are not being distinguished.
1) All competitors should have an equal probability of winning regardless of ability.
2) Competition should be decided by the abilities of the competitors not by the conditions of competition or equipment or whatever.

When you say that relay competition is an example of an unlevel playing field because Mozambique never wins you are referring to the first concept.

When you talk about swimming being a very level playing field because the conditions of competition are almost identical you are referring to the second concept.

Personally I use "level playing field" to refer to the second concept not the first. For me the relay competition is still on a level playing field because the conditions of competition are still pretty much identical. If I were to race against Michael Phelps the competition would be very uneven but still on a level playing field.

If you had two baseball teams and you allowed one team to field two extra outfielders I would say that you no longer had a level playing field, although it is possible that the smaller team could have better players and actually win.

Perhaps there are some people here that think that teams ought to be able to win regardless of the abilities of their swimmers. That has not been my argument, what I suggested was to add a new competition where a small team could win if it had team members that were faster than the teams fielded by larger teams. It is true that in general larger clubs will have more fast swimmers and are likely to win a lot of these competitions, but at least the small teams will have a level field to play on.

The basic argument is that if two teams can combine into one team and thereby gain a significant advantage in a competition then the meaningfulness of that competition is open to question - it isn't being decided by the abilities of the competitors but by the organization and size of the team. There are valid reasons to reward organization and participation so go ahead and keep the total points competition. If nothing else, providing an additional competition on which small teams could compete on the basis of their swimming ability would lessen the number of proposals to average the total points per swimmer, which we all know is a bad idea for reasons that have been stated several times.

Tim Hedrick
June 2nd, 2005, 02:40 PM
On a straight-up points basis, is there anyone who thinks realistically that a small team (VCM: 2005 SCY nats 8 members) can "compete" with a large team (CMS/NEM/IM: 2005 SCY nats > 60 members each)? Unlikely. While we might be able to hold measure via individual points thanks to a couple of our "stars", a team such as ours has a lot more trouble fielding relays than a larger team. It's not necessarily a talent issue; we're talking a basic numbers issue and relays require 4 people.

When there were separate team divisions, the playing field wasn't level either. There were separate fields! With the elimination of the arbitrary team divisions, there is only one field - and a very large one at that. "Our" field was taken away!

Over the past few years, we (VCM) enjoyed our place in the small division (as high as 3rd, Men's), and used that for our local newspaper reporting and advertising purposes. Now we're embarrased to ("local masters swimmers 41st in 2005 National competition". Nice headline eh? It happened). In an area where swimming is an incredibly minor sport, we are interested in using everything positive at our disposal to gain community awareness (not necessarily recognition). It's not about ego. And it isn't just about increasing our numbers. It is also about gaining respect in our community, and some of the perks that come with it - i.e. pool availability and space - not just for our Masters team but for our age group program as well.

The comments by Paul and others are well taken. If we don't like our current place in the single division pecking order, we have the option to try to create something more competitive team-wise. Clearly a formulaic approach to try to "level" the playing field is not a popular idea, and any formula that might be agreed by a representative group of people as being "fair" would likely be too complicated to implement. The only avenue left to us, if our goal is to be competitive as a team, is to increase our membership and/or combine into a larger association (any takers for an SPMA team at Nationals?). Until we do so, we will continue to watch the "team" competition from the outside looking in.

With the talk of Masters swimming being so inclusive, at least on an individual level, the team competition at Nationals seems to me to be an area that is inconsistent with that broadly-stated goal. Perhaps it should be scrapped. If group point totals are to be kept, how about an association competition based on LMSC?

jim clemmons
June 2nd, 2005, 04:05 PM
If group point totals are to be kept, how about an association competition based on LMSC?

Pacific might go for that. Or how about Bay Area Aquatic Masters? Either one could/would be very large.

Personally, I really don't care about overall placement team wise although we had 5 guys and ended up 19th in the Men's Div and 37th overall. I doubt we'd have made top ten in small - maybe.

As arbitrary as it may be selecting the cut-off numbers, small, medium and large divisions seemed to make more sense but whatever.

MegSmath
June 3rd, 2005, 03:13 PM
This may violate the physical laws of the universe, but I find myself agreeing with both the Good Smith and the Evil Smith! I like what Evil/Tall/Paul Smith says about the size of your club as well as the number of swimmers you bring to a meet being entirely in your own hands. And if California wants to combine into one gigantic team, then that's their privilege and entirely within the rules. And Good/John Smith was downright profound with "Really ... people ... it's just Masters Swimming"!

This discussion got started because of the perception that all clubs competing in the same division for the top 10 places was not fair to the smaller clubs, and that the old way, top three in small, medium, and large divisions, was more fair. I personally prefer the old way too, but can live with the new top 10 way. What I really wouldn't like to see is a division between so-called superteams and club teams.

My club, Swim Kentucky, is sometimes cited as an example of a superteam. We're flattered to be in the company of New England, Colorado, and Illinois Masters! But really folks, unless Nationals is held within driving distance for us, there's not much chance we're going to get a lot of our swimmers there and steamroll everyone else. We like to win as much as anyone else does, but that was not the reason we formed SKY. The reason we did it was for cameraderie. We realized that when the people from Kentucky went to Nationals, we all hung out together, roomed together, went out to dinner together, and cheered for each other, regardless of which club we belonged to. We enjoyed each other's company, and we wanted to be teammates. Combining the local teams into one statewide club was sort of like being tired of just living together, and deciding to get married!

It was more about acknowledging that we were already de facto teammates, but our points were being split up among smaller clubs, and we did not get to swim relays together. SKY does give us much more of an opportunity to participate in relays, with participate being the operative word. It's not like the relay I was on with two 48-year-old women, one 55-year-old, and one 74-year-old had a chance of placing! We knew we were seeded last, but we had fun swimming together, and held our heads high!

Since we formed SKY, the numbers we've sent to Nationals has ranged from 67 (at Indy) to 1 (at Rutgers). We had 21 in Ft. Lauderdale, more than I expected. Most came because they wanted to go to Florida, or they had family there. Others (like me) often go to Nationals, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're likely to score a lot of points. I haven't scored a point for SKY since its inception (not for lack of trying)!

I would be very unhappy to have my club pushed off into a separate division, and stimatized as not being a "real club" just because some of my teammates live 70 miles away. Heck, I commute 36 miles round trip every day, so distances don't mean that much to me. I've heard people say you should have to live within a certain radius to belong to a club. Well, I live in a rural county and work in the next county. There isn't a pool in the county I live in that I can work out in. I actually spend more of my waking hours in the county I work in, and someone's going to tell me I can't belong to the team that practices on the campus where I work? Talk about unfair!

Hink
June 3rd, 2005, 07:12 PM
All this talk about what's fair or not fair with small and large teams reminds me of dog shows for kids where everyone wins a prize for best something. Also, "Swedish" competitions for children where "everyone wins."

I understand the benefits of giving children (and adults!) the opportunity to participate and feel like they won something. On the other hand, attempting to "level the playing field" too much is a cruel joke to people who all of a sudden find that, for better or worse, much of our society and world operates in a competitive athmosphere.

I met my "goals" at Nationals by bettering my times in each of the three events I swam. (This has been my first year of competition since 1968!) But I really came in 1st place by being, without a doubt, the fastest 57 year old bald guy with blue swim suit and initials EGH. (It took a few minutes to make sure that nobody who swam faster had my iniitials!)

On the other hand, I'm very aware that Andrew Mc Pherson and Chuck Olsen were the real winners and that they did so because they were better technical swimmers, who were better trained and better conditioned and had made a much deeper commitment to the sport. This is really important to me, and I believe a lot of other people as well. The reason is that by respecting what the real winners have accomplished, I and others can concentrate on what WE have to do to improve, rather than moan that somehow the rules were not fair.

I love US Masters Swimming. I returned home knowing that I bettered my best times, who the real winners were and giddy with inspiration to train smarter and harder. I already look forward to the 2006 Nationals!

Big Streamline
June 4th, 2005, 11:58 PM
OK - I'm sorry for bringing up the club scoring issue after the meet....I had no idea that It would garner so much attention (and emotion). I just wanted to find out why the old system was dropped cause it was really fun competing against other small clubs. Our team (VCM) had a blast a few years ago in Indy, Hawaii, and Tempe battling for the small men's team title (2nd & 3rd in Indy & HI). Now it's different and I was just curious why the switch was made.....and I wanted to put my vote in for going back to the old system or something new that would involve all sizes of teams/clubs, especially the smaller individual clubs. I know no system is perfect and not everyone will be happy, but I guess the question has to be asked.....is there a better system? I think it would be awesome if we put our heads together and came up with "the model system" that other athletic associations (i.e., Masters track & field, cycling, triathlon, etc.) looked to as an example for team scoring. Maybe I'm dreaming.

Paul and John Smith, great job on you efforts with CMS....your hard work (and talent) has paid off for CMS and USMS. You probably encouraged many swimmers to attend nationals who would have otherwise not come - that's great. By the way Paul, you STILL owe me a case of beer for those two 50 back bets.....double or nothing again??

Paul Smith
June 6th, 2005, 04:05 PM
Shaf,
It was important to bring up, and let me try and be a bit clearer on my position.

My concern right now is that the rules we're changed to the current system and that people are looking for ways to "modify" this system to "level the playing field"...........which I'm against.

I have no problem what so ever with there being a division of teams; small, medium, large........Club vs. State, etc. etc. In fast I do think that is a better way to go, however let's make sure that its well thought out and as simple as possible. One things for sure, no one will ever be 100% happy with any set up!

As for our little wager, you know damn well you kicked past 15m so don't even give me that "owing" you crap! I will however start from scratch and go for a full ase in the 200 free next year in FL!!

Big Streamline
June 6th, 2005, 05:50 PM
Pablo,

My buddy and the stroke & turn official that day, Steve Schofield, would never allow me to go past the 15m mark. It was legit and if I remember correctly, you lost by over a second...ouch!! Then you lost the "double or nothing" rematch the following year in Vegas, so we're not even close to being "even." And by the way knucklehead, you were the one who laid down the bet in the first place!! Now if you want me to change the event and give you another shot at "double or nothing", I'll give you a few more options other than 50 back.....how about 100/200 back, 200 fly, 400/500 free, 1000 free, 1500/1650 free. I was thinking of including the 100 fly, but at 7'4" you have too much of an unfair advantage (can you say level playing field?). So what's it going to be?

P.S. Don't make us Santa Barbara Gauchos look bad by not paying up on your bets. My teammates want to have a post-nats party, so it'd be nice if you'd send over a case of your finest from the Rockies.....FINALLY!!

Paul Smith
June 6th, 2005, 06:36 PM
I've been totally "worked" by fellow Gaucho, so sad!

OK..........the 500........if the shoulder surgery goes down.

PS: for those of you reading these pathetic posts you're seeing in action one of the best ways to keep yourself training/motivated....as well as getting people to commit to meets!

Big Streamline
June 6th, 2005, 06:56 PM
Tall Paul...the 500 it is. I now have something to start training for after my knee surgery next week. You better get that shoulder fixed so you can start putting in some non-sprinter/distance workouts.....ha-ha.

ShayShay
June 10th, 2005, 11:39 AM
I'm "tuning into this very late" but it doesn't look like your question was ever answered about the woman at Nationals who swims with one arm. I believe that the woman is Sue Mocha from Brandon, FL. She is truly an inspiration to all swimmers here in Florida as she has overcome serious physical disabilities but competes in the longest, most grueling swims of all (open water, distance postals up to 10K, 400 IM's, 1650, etc) . She has one of the most positive attitudes of any swimmer I have ever met! I am enclosing a little blurb about her as she won the "Overcoming Adversity Award" for Florida Local Masters in 2003. She is also actively involved with Florida Master's swimming and currently serves as the Sanctions Chairperson.

http://home.earthlink.net/~floridalmsc/inspiration.html#moucha

Sharon Salzman

jean sterling
June 10th, 2005, 12:43 PM
I agree with ShayShay. Sue Moucha is truly an inspiration in every way.

BruceGianniny
June 10th, 2005, 01:01 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by jean sterling
[B]I agree with ShayShay.

I watched her entire 1650 as well as some other races ...never know where you're gonna get that inspiration from...a former big name olympian or an anonymous lane 8

AguaMan
September 21st, 2005, 02:24 PM
Chiming in late but i just discovered this discussion forum.
Nationals in Ft. Lauderdale were very enjoyable for me. It was my first Master's meet and my first competition in 24 years. What a good way to launch my Master's career. I am once again "Hooked on swimming".
Good meet, good people, good motel (GinaLee) and wonderful facility.
Look forward to many more competitions and the nationals in Florida next May.
blessings to all
AguaMan