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Phil Arcuni
August 20th, 2005, 12:54 AM
Mission Viejo had very good facilities, great weather, superb organization, and the best hosts. Overall a great meet.

However, as commented in another thread, there were lots of no shows. In four of five events I had an empty lane next to me. This is not the best racing environment, and it makes the meet last longer than necessary. I am not critical of the people that did not show up -- I was one of them on Thursday, as an emergency at work made me arrive a day late.

On deck seeding would be a simple and easy solution.

Evidently some people like to know a day or days in advance who will swim in their heat. However, the way it worked for me, I found out as I walked up to the block who would *not* be swimming. *That's* lots of opportunity to get psyched! (not)

I don't think the way this meet was seeded (check in for distance events, advanced seeding for the other events) was a very good compromise. This was my first non-deck seeded masters meet, and I did not enjoy that aspect of it.

dorothyrde
August 20th, 2005, 08:25 AM
I have been to a lot of age group meets. I have run the computer table at a lot of age group meets. I know Master's is not age group, but the age group championships are always preseeded. The regular meets, up to the meet host.

Positive check in at a meet is very, very, very hard to juggle and get the meet started on time. And a meet of this magnitude, I would think would be real tough. Although, you could preseed the first 2 events each day, and deck seed the rest. That gives the computer people more time to get the scratches, seeding and printing done.

Phil Arcuni
August 20th, 2005, 10:41 AM
At Pacific all masters meets are deck seeded, including local 3 day championships that have 800 or so swimmers, each often swimming up to 7 events, plus relays. That is significantly more events a day than in the five-day Mission Viejo meet. There is no trouble meeting the timeline that I have seen, and the lanes are full.

Betsy
August 20th, 2005, 01:43 PM
The problem with deck seeding (check-in 1-2 hours before the event) is that you don't get a heat sheet. It is very hard to watch friends and team members when you don't know when they are swimming, especially with 2 courses. When we tried checking in by 6 pm the day before, you got a heat sheet, but there were still no shows. For fear of forgetting to check in on time, some team members checked in everyone on their team, so there were still empty lanes.

Personally, I prefer a few empty lanes and a heat sheet.

dorothyrde
August 20th, 2005, 02:29 PM
That is what I was talking about. When we run positive check in sheets, we also have to get the heat sheets out prior to the meet starting. It is always a race against the clock to get the scratches done properly, seeded, and everything printed(including lane timer sheets and sheets for coaches and officials).

Of course I would hope Masters would not have the same problem as age groupers, in forgetting to check in or being late, and having to come to the computer table to get put back in.

cjquill
August 20th, 2005, 03:19 PM
I too attended the Mission Viejo championships. After having suffered through a USMS Nationals with close to event time check-in I was very pleased to be able to have preseeded heats. If this meet had been deck seeded for all events I doubt I'd have bothered to attend (even though this is an age-up year for me).

Pre-seeded events result in way less hassle - no lining up, no worry about missing the cut-off, no checking back to see you're corretly seeded, and, best of all, a printed heat sheet to refer to for all kinds of useful information other than what lane am I in. When the events are pre-seeded, one expends significantly less energy wandering around the deck to find out when you're going to swim.

The first meet I experienced on deck check-in was the 2001 long course nationals held in Federal Way. What a disaster! Unlike Mission Viejo, Federal Way had a lot of stairs with very few places the heats were posted. I had to be at the pool two to three hours earlier just so I could check in, then wait around for the heats to be posted. All so some male hot shot doesn't have to swim next to an empty lane? No thanks!

On deck check-in for shorter events is a bloody nuisance. The current compromise (check-in for distance events only) is working. As other posters have indicated, there will always be empty lanes for many reasons. Why louse up things for everyone else?

michaelmoore
August 20th, 2005, 09:03 PM
All so some male hot shot doesn't have to swim next to an empty lane?

I am disappointed that we cannot discuss this topic without ascribing pejorative adjectives to others who do not like our position. Phil thinks that the better swimming conditions happen when the lanes are filled up and he is swimming against his competition.

I am a middle aged white guy who when I swim think that it is a great meet if I finish in the top half of a Pacific Masters championships or in the top 80 % at a nationals. No one has ever described me as a hot shot (well except for my wife and she was being sarcastic).

I, too, believe that a meet believe that seeding the meet either on deck or having the check in the day before in many cases makes for a better meet.

If we are talking about a meet that does not have many swimmers in it - for example a nationals that has about 1600 for a scy meet, it does not make much difference. You have open lanes but you also have a meet where there is plenty of recovery time between events for the swimmers.

For large meets, those that have over 1900 swimmers, deck seeded even for the sprints is the only way to keep the time line under control. None of the officials and volunteers like to be working at a meet for 12 hours and when there are events where only 3 out of 10 lanes have swimmers in them (yes it does happen) many of the officials believe that their time is being wasted, by a group that does not think enough of the volunteers and officials to keep the time line under control.

And think of the swimmers, no one likes swimming at a meet at 7 pm. There is a lot of drop off of swimmers after the sun goes down. I believe that positive check in is the a way to get the meet time line under control. (of course another option to get the time line under control is to tighten up the NQTs - but then we need the meet hosts to make money).


michael

Phil Arcuni
August 20th, 2005, 10:44 PM
Male is a descriptive adjective of me, and 'hot shot' is a noun phrase -- no pejorative adjective there! I wish I could claim hot shot status; hot shots are the ones that can win their events.

Michael speaks well from the standpoint of the officials and volunteers. I speak from the standpoint of a swimmer. I don't travel, spend the money, disrupt my family life, and take days off work to swim in a time trial. I like the competition, and, while it may not be PC in this crowd, I am happier to win with a poor time than lose with a good one. I am always aware of where the person next to me is, but unable to be aware of the person across the pool. Thus, swimming next to someone is more fun than swimming next to an empty lane.

I like to think that the meet I am in is significant and worth the sacrifices I make. It is easier to believe that if I am not next to a lane made empty by someone who did not find it important enough to show up.

A bad implementation of a good idea is still a bad implementation. Of course there should be plenty of well marked places with the heats posted. I also enjoy walking around to find my heats, especially when on the way to one of my many trips to the restroom. Those get especially frequent at race time!

Incidentally, five days is a long time for a meet. If a tighter timeline can make it four days, I think it is a good idea, even if some swimmers are inconvenienced.

jim clemmons
August 20th, 2005, 10:56 PM
I'm okay with the five day format but have to agree with Phil and Mike on their points otherwise.

I swam 2 events with both adjacent lanes empty. I noted heats with three contestants that had eight seeded in the program. I also got to watch a heat before one of mine that had one (1) swimmer in it.

I realize there would be additional work but with that kind of participation, it's hard to agrue for "pre-seeded" heats as opposed to morning (or night before) check-in.

Karen Duggan
August 21st, 2005, 12:26 AM
Being another swimmer from Pacific LMSC, I must agree that the meet should be deck seeded. It is not MORE work, just different. I know at our short course championships there is a program to buy the first day which shows everyone who entered. Then you have to wait until before your event to find out who you're swimming against, who's there, who isn't. And we're racing by entered time, not age group. Often I get my butt kicked by people a lot older than me, but still win my age group... but I digress- another can of worms completely.

I don't really care if I know ahead of time who is in my heat. My race is my race and I'm not going to swim it any differently just because someone shows up or not. It IS nice to know the approximate time of the swimmer near you....

Jim, I think I was sitting with you when that guy was the only one in his heat. I felt really bad for him. I would not enjoy that myself.

Perhaps, it's because it is done so seemingly effortlessly and efficiently at our meets that I don't realize that it is difficult? Help here Michael :p

dorothyrde
August 21st, 2005, 07:46 AM
One thing that was succesful for our age group meet this summer, and we stole the idea from a St Louis team, was to preseed the first two events each day. Then we did positive check in, which closed 45 minutes before the meet started each day. We also had rented a copier, and the minute I had heat sheets ready, they were copying, and I was printing using a laser printer. We were ready to start, and ready to sell heat sheets so everyone had them. Now that was only 400 swimmers, but the concept works for 1600, because that means the first two events are even bigger and more time is given.

I was actually a naysayer of this method, because I hated the idea of empty lanes for the first two events, and yes there were some, but after that it was fine.

Jeff Commings
August 21st, 2005, 11:41 AM
I'm surprised people are in a tizzy over having to get to the pool to check in two hours before. Wouldn't positive check-in be available the day before? And online? Didn't we have to do this in Tempe and no one complained?

And yes, some teams could check in their entire team and we'd still get empty lanes. Here's a solution:

If a swimmer does not show up to his lane after being positively checked in, he is unable to swim the next event he is checked in for. If that's another event the same day and he doesn't show up for that, he's scratched from the next event.

Looking at this from the audience and swimmer perspective, having some poor guy swim alone in a heat is a major letdown. Whether it's Gary Hall Jr. or some guy swimming his first nationals, it's not as fun as seeing a full pool.

I'm all for positive check in for every event. I know we're adults and sometimes we find out that there are emergencies (family or career or otherwise) after check in, but that's what a scratch box is for. Go over before the heat sheets are printed and do a positive scratch.

I have all faith that this could happen on the administrative end. I bet the officials at masters worlds next year could pull it off.

MPohlmann
August 21st, 2005, 12:41 PM
I cannot speak for how the events will be seeded at FINA Worlds at Stanford, but if previous FINA Worlds are any indication, they may all be pre-seeded.

I have been to FINA Worlds in Riccione, Italy (2004), Christchurch, New Zealand (2002), Munich, Germany (2000), and Montreal, Canada (1994) , and Indianapolis, IN (1992). They were all pre-seeded. Riccione even preseeded the 400 IM and 400 and 800 free.

My point is that FINA Worlds isn't necessarily pre-seeded despite the very large number of participants. Yes, there are many empty lanes and yes the days can be very long.

FINA Masters swimming rules state that:

MSW 3.7 Events shall be pre-seeded with oldest age groups first, slowest heats swum first within each age group. Events 400 metres and over may be deck seeded from slowest to fastest, regardless of age.

MSW 3.8 The Organising Committee may arrange 400 metre, 800 metre and 1500 metre Freestyle to be swum two (2) swimmers of the same sex in a lane. Separate timing will be required for each swimmer.

When deck-seeding is possible and permitted, I imagine Mike Moore will make it happen.

Mary

Peter Cruise
August 21st, 2005, 01:28 PM
As I was the individual who remarked upon the scratch rate at Nats in another thread, I thought I should weigh in on this discussion.
I have been to a lot of nationals, both Canadian & American, sc & lc (& one worlds) since 1985, less lately & have been one of those swimmers who loves to grab the heat sheet upon registration & race off to plan out the meet. But...I've come to the view that anything that makes life easier for the hordes of volunteer officials & timers at our meets should be of prime consideration. There have been some good concepts bounced around here, some already in use, but I have faith that the pace of technological progress & innovation will continue to make deck, or late-onset seeding practicable.
A couple of small notions occur to me: it has been mentioned that upon occasion people have waited in lineups to checkin each day- why not issue with registration 'positive checkin cards' for each event a swimmer has entered? They (or coach or friend) drop the appropriate card in the clearly labelled 'event-specific drop box', rather than lining up. If that card could be scannable as to event & swimmer registration #, then handling them could be quite straightforward.
Also, perhaps we could also cater to those who absolutely, positively do not want to bother with even that inconvenience, They could check a box in the original registration process labelled 'positive check-in declined' & pay, say, twice the fee per event that they would have.
Whay do you think?

cjquill
August 21st, 2005, 07:23 PM
I apologize - calling someone a "hot shot" IS perjorative and I shouldn't have. My personal experience has been that many more males tend to prefer on deck seeding than females. Can anyone find me a 60+ swimmer who prefers it? I can't help but think about the swimmer I met at Y Nationals who has Alzheimer's and had a relative help him get to the correct heat and lane. At least at that meet older swimmers were welcome.

Mr. Moore made a very good point about meets over 1900 swimmers which I had not been aware of. Certainly large events should have consideration for meet officials and volunteers (not to mention swimmers) in expediting the running of the meet.

However, I do feel my dislike of on deck seeding should not characterize me as being "in a tizzy." As practiced in Cleveland at the 2002 L.C. Nationals, having check-in for all events the day before was not nearly as cumbersome as same day check-in. As I recall, even then there was griping about empty lanes. You can't please everyone.

I did not attend the meet in Arizona and can't comment on the seeding there. However, because of the lack of shade and extremely high temperatures I never considered attending that meet. It was only with considerable trepedation that I attended Mission Viejo. With the help of some terrific friends with a car and a computer with realtime results, I was able to stay out of the sun despite the scarcity of shade. I do agree that the meet in Mission Viejo was very well run and I certainly would attend other meets there.

While the scanable card idea seems reasonable, what is the purpose of charging double for "no positive check-in"? You would still have to look up your lane and heat assignments when you got there and you still wouldn't have a heat sheet to use. Also, I wouldn't care for penalizing swimmers for the actions of others (i.e. teammates or coaches who check them in).

Peter Cruise
August 21st, 2005, 07:30 PM
Catherine, the charge is just to give people who adamantly not want to have to checkin the opportunately-if they're willing to pay for the privilege. The only other category of swimmer which should be charged double or even triple would be that of 'aquageek'.

barryf
August 21st, 2005, 08:21 PM
Here is some info on check-in rates and no shows.

For the Pre-seeded events (50's, 100's, and 200's), there were 716 no shows (21%). That's one in every 5 swimmers who do not make it to the blocks.

For the deck seeded events (400, 800, and 1500 Free and the 400 IM), there were 183 (19%) that did not check in or scratched before the events were seeded and 32 no shows (4%). Note that the no shows for the 1500 Free on Monday were 19 (10%).

The Host would need an extra 3 or 4 people working the meet to deck seed all the events. However, everyone would get to go home earlier and there would be fewer empty lanes.

knelson
August 22nd, 2005, 01:32 AM
I'm with those that prefer deck-seeded meets. But, I think it is important to make sure heat sheets are available for distribution and posted as early as possible.

One thing I notived at MV was there seemed to be lots more no shows among the younger age groups. When I was standing behind the blocks for the 200 free I glanced at the timers' sheet where they list the result of each heat. Just about all the "old guys" swam, but there were lots of "NS" in the later heats. I thought that was a little strange. I think my heat only had three swimmers and it was supposed to be a full heat.

Karen Duggan
August 22nd, 2005, 11:02 AM
Cjquill, I'm not sure what lack of shade you're referring to at MV? There was A LOT of shade and those bleachers were not full- you could have sat there.

As far as the deck seeding at Pacific meets- the heats and lanes are posted well ahead of time at about 4 different "high traffic" areas around the pool. Again, you don't have your own heat sheets, but do you need one? At our meets, again, there is a program and if you're so inclined you could write in the heats and lanes of all of the swimmers!

No shows and scratching penalty- this was how it was done when I was an age-grouper. I don't like it for masters. There are way TOO many things that come up. I frequently have someone check me in when I'm not in the first distance events and so far I've NEVER missed my event, but I know people who have had real life emergencies and were able to swim their next event.
Plus, I'd be really miffed if I drove a long way, had a rotten trip, I was late (whatever happened) and THEN on top of it I couldn't swim my next race! Remember Masters is supposed to be as inclusive as possible :p

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 22nd, 2005, 12:19 PM
Karen's comment about being as inclusive as possible is really important. In reality, this is only an issue to about 1/3 of the total of USMS's membership. Only once have I ever come across any problem.

Jeff Commings
August 22nd, 2005, 01:07 PM
Worried about not having a heat sheet and missing a friend's swim if it is a deck-seeded event? Get a world-class announcer and have him or her announce the swimmers before each heat. Do it in the time it takes the previous heat's swimmers to get out of the pool.

Or ... ask the swimmer or swimmers who you want to see what heat they're in and write it on a sheet of paper. If it's someone you don't know and want to watch them ... well, watch the entire event and listen for the announcer.

Problem solved. Of course the announcer might be real hoarse by the end of the day announcing about 10,000 names!

Conniekat8
August 22nd, 2005, 01:36 PM
Even thought it may cut down on the empty lanes to a degree, deck seeding is no guarantee that there will be no empty lanes.
Heck, I've seen some deck seeded 200 fly's where there's only one or two people in it.

IIRC the small % of the time savings to deck seeding heats in short events 50's and 100's was actually offset by the breaks in the timeline it would take to deck seed the events, so the result would be fewer empty lanes, longer breaks in between the events and little bit longer days.
I believe the 200's were a tossup.

Also, I think it boils down to instead of working 2-3 hours agfter the close of the day, the admin people would have to work 3-5 or so hours after the close of the meet each day.

Personally, I swim the best races when I don't worry about people next to me.

dorothyrde
August 22nd, 2005, 02:05 PM
For age group meets, we do positive check in up until 45 minutes before meet starts. Then it is a rush and flurry and stressful time to get everything scratched seeded and printed. And yes, it does not prevent empty lanes all together, but it stops many of them. I don't see the admin people staying late, this is a before the meet process unless you close checkin the night before like age group championships.

Conniekat8
August 22nd, 2005, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by dorothyrde
For age group meets, we do positive check in up until 45 minutes before meet starts. Then it is a rush and flurry and stressful time to get everything scratched seeded and printed. And yes, it does not prevent empty lanes all together, but it stops many of them. I don't see the admin people staying late, this is a before the meet process unless you close checkin the night before like age group championships.

Well, wheter you see it or not, I was one of those admin people staying up late, just dealing with deck entered relays and protests, getting the results out, data entered, heat sheets printed out and posted for the next day.
The days were ending between 3 and 6 PM, and administration, volunteers and the cleanup crew were leaving the pool 4 hours after that, and coming to the pool about an hour before everyone. Admin days ran from 5AM till 11PM every day.
That's without deck seeding the 50's, 100's and 200's.

I don't see how one could take a tally of everyone (few hundred people) entered (checked in for) a 50 free (for example) and not hold up the meet if you don't close the check in the night before.
Especially if that happens to be the first event.
Sure, you could have more people doing the data entry, but you still have to take time on the QC.

As for the checking in, people get confused with just one check-in deadline per day, can you imagine the confusion if you told people that the check in for each event closes two hours priror to that event???
Then you have to allow some time to clear problems and protests... there's always those.

Also, I worked or sectional and JO meets which are pretty big in with respect to the swimmer count.
You don't get 30, 40 or 50 heats of one event, like you do in masters. It's a different animal.
I remember Indy last year, I think there was 90+ heats of just men's free. That's 90*8 people... That's 720 names that one has to make sure are checked in. Even if it takes you half a second per swimmer to check them in or scratch them, that takes some time.

mbmg3282
August 22nd, 2005, 03:19 PM
Typically, we find at nationals there is a high incedent of no shows as it gets closer to flight times. The 200 free on Sunday at Mission Viejo is an example of this.

A few thoughts on totally deck seeding a meet versus particially deck seeding.

If we require swimmers to check in one hour before the race (as we have done in the past), it would eliminate most of the empty lanes. However, there are some tradeoffs. You will not give the first heats much warm up time. We found they typically only had a few minutes from the time we were able to post the seedings to when they swam. Also, you don't know where people are swimming. For many of us, swimming is part competitive, part social.

So, at the 2003 nationals in Tempe, we tried a compromise. Check-in for all events the day before. This allowed us time to seed the meet in a less hurried fashion than one hour before. It did require the admin staff to stay late. At the 2003 meet, we typically didn't leave before 9:00 pm. That was tough when we also arrived at 5:00 am each day. The advantages - it gave us heat sheets. The disadvantages - there were more no shows than if we did it the day of. Also, if you missed signing in, you were out for the entire day, not just one event.

After studying the data for a while, we discovered that we saved about 10% by deck seeding an event. Wow, that is a lot. Maybe. The 50's take about a half an hour. So we saved 3 minutes for each of those that we deck seeded. That got us thinking that maybe deck seeding wasn't necessary for all events. The last few nationals have not been so big that we needed every minute of time savings that we could get. So, we tried deck seeding only the distance races. The advantages - simplier process for swimmers. It is also much easier on the admin staff. Now we only have to seed one event each day. We are not staying until 9:00 pm anymore. If a swimmer misses checking in, they may still get to swim some on that day. The disadvantages - there are more empty lanes. The meet may run a few minutes longer.

Why deck seeding doesn't always speed meets up? It does remove empty lanes in the middle of the pool. However, if there are 8 swimmers in an age group and 2 don't check in, we still swim the heat, now there are just 6 swimmers in it. Because we seed by age group, removing no shows does not mean we gain time in all cases. Only if the heat drops under 4 swimmers would it matter.

If an efficient meet is what we are after, we should seed only by time. Better yet, we should seed by time and mix the genders. We currently only do that in distance events. However, nationals is a complex system of tradeoffs. We like to swim by age group when feasable, so we accept an less efficient meet for the opportunity. We also want to meet to be user friendly. Thus we don't deck seed everything and we provide heat sheets. The championship committee tries to balance all of the different desires to create a competitive and fun meet.

mbmg3282
August 22nd, 2005, 03:31 PM
Get a world-class announcer and have him or her announce the swimmers before each heat. Do it in the time it takes the previous heat's swimmers to get out of the pool.

The timeline implications of this suggestion would actually slow the meet down more than not deck seeding does. Consider we have several hundred heats that take place each day. If you only spent 20 seconds reading off the 8 names clearly so those without heat sheets knew who was stepping up, you would add over 1.5 hours to the meet.

At our LC Nationals, we use dive over starts. The heat is called up to the blocks while the heat in the water is finishing. As soon as the last person touches, the starter begins the sequence of commands to start the race. Only after the swimmers are off the blocks do the athletes in the just finished heat exit the water.

At SC Nationals, we do not use dive over starts, but the start is calling the swimmers up on the blocks as the athletes finish and exit. Once the start blows the first series of whistles all the announce can do is give the heat number.

Jeff Commings
August 22nd, 2005, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by mbmg3282
If an efficient meet is what we are after, we should seed only by time.

:D :D :D

And I understand your analysis of the announcer thing. I have not been to a long course nationals so I didn't know how it was conducted.

It seems we might be at an impasse. Our wise Mark Gill has shown us that it really doesn't cut down the time. And I guess some of us will have to deal with it. I don't want to have frazzled administrators who work 16-hour days in the heat of an outdoor meet to make the meet end the next day 20 minutes earlier (though anyone who was in Tempe on Saturday night in 2003 knows that 20 minutes would have gotten us out of there before sunset).

I defer to the administrators of the meets to make the best choices. I'll just show up and promise to be in my lane when my heat is called.

dorothyrde
August 22nd, 2005, 07:28 PM
Originally posted by Conniekat8
Well, wheter you see it or not, I was one of those admin people staying up late, just dealing with deck entered relays and protests, getting the results out, data entered, heat sheets printed out and posted for the next day.
The days were ending between 3 and 6 PM, and administration, volunteers and the cleanup crew were leaving the pool 4 hours after that, and coming to the pool about an hour before everyone. Admin days ran from 5AM till 11PM every day.
That's without deck seeding the 50's, 100's and 200's.

I don't see how one could take a tally of everyone (few hundred people) entered (checked in for) a 50 free (for example) and not hold up the meet if you don't close the check in the night before.
Especially if that happens to be the first event.
Sure, you could have more people doing the data entry, but you still have to take time on the QC.

As for the checking in, people get confused with just one check-in deadline per day, can you imagine the confusion if you told people that the check in for each event closes two hours priror to that event???
Then you have to allow some time to clear problems and protests... there's always those.

Also, I worked or sectional and JO meets which are pretty big in with respect to the swimmer count.
You don't get 30, 40 or 50 heats of one event, like you do in masters. It's a different animal.
I remember Indy last year, I think there was 90+ heats of just men's free. That's 90*8 people... That's 720 names that one has to make sure are checked in. Even if it takes you half a second per swimmer to check them in or scratch them, that takes some time.


No, the whole session closes 45 minutes prior to the meet start. We put out checkin sheets that list the names of the swimmers and their events, and they circle their names and the events they will be swimming. Then you go through and scratch and seed prior to the meet starting. I have been setting up and adminning meets for 10 years, and this is how we have always done it. This summer, to try to take some of the stress off of getting the big meet started, we preseeded the first 2 events of each session. I asked for scratches the day before, by a certain time.

Now with championship meets, it is always run preseeded, with scratches due the night before at a predetermined time, and all the meet is seeded the night before after the scratches.

Also, these are age group meets, and I think that it is a different flavor to run. They have a coach telling them to be there at a certain time, and all the swimmers arrive usually on time. With Masters, there is a little more.....coming and going.

Connie, one more edit. I did not mean to critisize how it was done, I did not even go. Most comments of the meet were very favorable, so I would say you all did a very good job running the meet. Just like the conversation of seeding by age or seeding by time, there are good arguements on both sides, and no true correct way.

mbmg3282
August 22nd, 2005, 07:40 PM
Jeff,

Your ideas are good. It helps to hear different perspectives before we argue things out in championship committee meetings and present proposed changes at the annual convention.

One idea that occurred to me reading this thread is that if we could scratch swimmers that haven't gone through the arrival registration or checked-in for an event online, we could prevent a large number of no-shows. Typically, each national championship has 10% of the people enter the meet and never show up. If we could determine who these people are and remove them before running heat sheets, we could gain a great savings and come closer to meeting the goals of a number of the ideas posted here. Of course, this is probably not that easy to implement and would require creating heat sheets during the middle of the night. Still, something to think about.

Phil Arcuni
August 22nd, 2005, 08:48 PM
I have talked to several meet administers who all agree that on-deck check in is worth whatever extra effort is involved, so I do not buy the too much work or too much extra time argument. I have helped at several USS meets (I was the person who collected the check in sheets, marked the ones scratched, passed in on to the person at the computer, and posted the heat sheets in the highly trafficked areas) and seen it work first hand. A person removes the names not checked and prints the sheets -- voila! finished before the event and no late nights. Perhaps they used a different system at MV.

But time saving is not a major driver for me, though I do not look forward to an international meet where the 50 events take considerably more than half an hour. I just want a better meet, and I hope that my desire for full heats (as full as practical -- the argument that there will always be empty lanes is true but irrelevant) is not perceived as more selfish than the desire of some swimmers to not be inconvenienced by checking in to events once a day.

I am not a big fan of heat sheets in my hand during the meet -- it seems like a waste of trees, to me. I ask my friends when they are swimming or look for their names in the posted sheets. As for those elderly who have problems with that, I don't see why heat sheets would help (we have a memory problem, right?), and that is what coaches, friends, family, and teammates are for. I watched a 360+ relay team make their relay events no problem, and there were no before the day heat sheets for those events.

(by the way, when do you think the first 400+ relay will occur?)

dorothyrde
August 22nd, 2005, 09:04 PM
Phil, I am that person you hand those check in sheets to that magically give you the printed heat sheet! It is a highly stressful 45 minutes, and takes all of my concentration to make sure I do it correctly(while 10 people are trying to ask me questions, I actually post people around me to field them so I can get it done!). For a meet as large as this, it would definately take longer than 45, but if you could also have a pre-positive check in for people who know say the week before, that cuts down on the time also. This last summer meet, I let coaches know we would be preseeding the 400 Im on Friday night and if they knew of swimmers that would not be there, let me know by 9pm Thursday. They were very co-operative, and not only let me know those scratches, but others as well, which made each day a little easier.

I think that age group is easier because there is a central person(the coach), per team as a contact. Masters would be harder because it is more each to his/her own.

Phil Arcuni
August 22nd, 2005, 09:18 PM
Dorothy,

Yes, I do recall those 45 minutes being stressful for the person at your job, and I do remember standing at the door and keeping people away.

I also know that your position requires a very professional and trained and experienced person.

dorothyrde
August 22nd, 2005, 09:53 PM
Yep, and I am searching for that right person to take my place as my kids are growing up and out of the program. I have several trained, and one young lady I had to throw onto the hot coals last summer because I had to leave to coach my softball team! She did fine, and that was encouraging because she has young kids and should be around for awhile.

Conniekat8
August 23rd, 2005, 11:56 AM
Originally posted by dorothyrde
Phil, I am that person you hand those check in sheets to that magically give you the printed heat sheet! It is a highly stressful 45 minutes, and takes all of my concentration to make sure I do it correctly(while 10 people are trying to ask me questions, I actually post people around me to field them so I can get it done!).

Boy, ain't that the truth!!!


For a meet as large as this, it would definately take longer than 45, but if you could also have a pre-positive check in for people who know say the week before, that cuts down on the time also. This last summer meet, I let coaches know we would be preseeding the 400 Im on Friday night and if they knew of swimmers that would not be there, let me know by 9pm Thursday. They were very co-operative, and not only let me know those scratches, but others as well, which made each day a little easier.

I think that age group is easier because there is a central person(the coach), per team as a contact. Masters would be harder because it is more each to his/her own. [/QUOTE]

That is very true, almost all of them handle check in's on their own, and even when a coach checks them in, often they come and ask questions to double check.

The day for the checkin of the 1500 we decided to make thje laptop available at the checkin so everyone is checked in online. Having a mix of paper checkins and online checkins added an extra step of merging the databases, which wasn't as smooth as it is supposed to be (by the book)

Conniekat8
August 23rd, 2005, 12:06 PM
Originally posted by Phil Arcuni
A person removes the names not checked and prints the sheets -- voila! finished before the event and no late nights. Perhaps they used a different system at MV.


We used the same system.
Ithink what you're overlooking is the time factor to look through some 500 names. Even if it takes you 1/4 of a second to scan through each, it adds up to 2 hours of what you're claiming is a voila! Implying that it happens at the push of a button.
AND there's no room for error here, you can't accidentally remove someone's name, so you can't really take shortcuts or rush through things.

Also, in age group meets you don't get 500 kids swimming one event.

As far as the heat sheets being available ahead of time, in our case in the meet program, I was getting very positive feedback about that choice. Lot of smiles at the mention of heat-sheets in the program.
And I was the one handing out the program and explaining registation and checkin procedures to people.
Most people were really happy that once they went through the registration all they had to do is look up their heat and lane and show up at the block. No additional pressure of checking in for the events, except for distance.

Your point of view that you don't care a whole lot about having the heats sheets seems to be in a minority.
As a matter of fact our meet administrators, after seeding the 1500 have gone through the trouble of distributing the heat sheets that evening to the hotels where we knew swimmers were staying. Large number of those gave us a feedback about how comforting it was to wake up in the morning and find the heat sheets on your doorstep.

Sitting in the administration areas, one of the most frequently asked question is WHEN the heat sheets will be available, and where they are.

Not so much at the kids meets, since the coaches tend to get the feedback from the admin, and take care of their swimmers being in line.
In masters it's different, most swimmers are there fending for themselves, without the coach, and not always familiar with the rules and minutia of meet administration, not to the extent most coaches know the process.

Karen Duggan
August 23rd, 2005, 01:05 PM
I do agree that it is nice to know your heat and lane even days before your race, but I will continue to contend that checking in the day of the meet, having a program with all of the entered times, and then posting the heat sheets at the pool before the event is efficient.

While it may be comforting to have it on your doorstep when you wake up, it shouldn't matter what heat and lane you're in. Hopefully, you've prepped your race well ahead of time...

Math question: Connie you said that even if it took a 1/4 of a second to look at 500 names that it would be over 2 hours? My math puts that at around 3 minutes. But then again, I teach English!

I've done this check-in procedure at our meets and it isn't difficult at all. We actually have two people doing it at the same time, one following the other to check for boo-boos. Haven't messed up yet :)

dorothyrde
August 23rd, 2005, 01:30 PM
Karen same procedure, one looks over the others shoulder, and we check off as we scratch. Then we hand it to a third who goes through and makes sure that everyone is checked as they should.

Most I have in one event is about 100 per. The hard part about age group is how kids sign in, sometimes it is a mystery what their intentions are!

The amount of scratches is what would really slow it down. On meets when the scratch rate is very low, positive check in is a breeze, but on meets where there is a snow storm, and lots of people don't show, it takes much longer. So in this case, it sounds like the scratch rate was fairly high, which would mean a lot of time.

Heat sheets are very important at the age group meets, parents always want them, because they cannot be on deck with the coaches and kids. Plus it is one source of revenue for our team!

Conniekat8
August 23rd, 2005, 11:00 PM
Originally posted by Karen Duggan
Math question: Connie you said that even if it took a 1/4 of a second to look at 500 names that it would be over 2 hours? My math puts that at around 3 minutes. But then again, I teach English!


Ooops, I was thinking one thing and writing something else.
Half a day later, I forget what I was getting at.
Ever play smoosh, or something like that when you run words in together. :rolleyes: