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reudyt
May 31st, 2007, 07:10 PM
first of all, congrats to the meet directors and all the volunteers on a job well done. so organized and efficient!! very impressive. the only thing i wish someone could explain to me is why the usms champ. committee changed the team scoring from large, medium and small team to clumping everyone in the same category. seems extremely unfair to have what i call "real teams" competing against state mega teams. there is no possibility for "real teams" to ever come close to competing against them. if you are going to give team awards at the end of the meet, is there any way you can do it fairly? our team is extremely proud to have gotten as many team members as we did to go to natls. (most of them for the first time), but unfortunately they were very disillusioned (as was i) with the idea that we would be competing against state teams. as one of the coaches i didn't have an explanation. even though we were very proud of our 7th place finish in men's division, and our 12th place in combined, we were only one of a few "real teams" in the top ten. would appreciate responses. maybe even someone from the champ.committee could explain how they felt this scoring system would be more fair to the majority of swimmers. then i can pass it along to my teammates.. i don't want them to be so disillusioned that they lose interest in attending any future natls. thanks

mbmg3282
June 1st, 2007, 01:05 AM
Tom,

I understand your frustration. I think our current system is in need of some repare. As I was very involved with this change, let me address your first question. The former team scoring method of small, medium and large was eliminated due its arbitrary nature. In theory, the concept was good, but in practice it was flawed. What made a team of 12 small and a team of 13 medium? At the same time what made a team of 300 large and a team of 80 also large? The main challege that existed with the small, medium and large system was that there were not logical break points for the divisions. Teams with one more or less swimmer ended up in separate divisions.

I think you hit on the right idea dividing between mega team (state teams) and what you call true clubs. In fact, in my original proposal contained this idea. However, many members on the state teams objected. There were several reasons that caused them to object. One, they didn't feel it was fair for a smaller state team to have to compete against a large one (and yes, under our current system, they do). Two, how do you define a state team. We currently don't have a definition of anything other than a club. State teams and true clubs are all clubs by that definition. The later objection is the more difficult one to overcome.

I think we are halfway to a better scoring system. However, until we split the mega clubs from the "true" clubs we have a systems that encourages clubs to join with other clubs to form a mega club. In order to change this, legislation needs to be proposed so this can be discussed at convention. It would be great if your LMCS or some other would get the second part of the debate rolling by proposing a rule change. I personally think it would find support in many areas and equally strong objection in others.

Frank Thompson
June 1st, 2007, 02:26 PM
Tom:

I am going to provide you with some links on the discussions we had about this in the past and I hope this helps explain things better and how people feel about scoring.

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4104&highlight=club+scoring

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4139&highlight=club+scoring

http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=5089&highlight=club+scoring

imspoiled
June 1st, 2007, 04:13 PM
Mark mentioned the arbitrary nature of dividing teams into categories. I can understand how that can be a challenge, as well as the frustration of being on a "small" team that sometimes gets lumped into the "medium" category. I've also heard rumor of teams that prevent swimmers from entering meets so the team can stay in the smaller category and not have the "extra" swimmer push the team over the edge into the next larger division.

Perhaps the answer lies not in determining divisions by number of swimmers entered, but rather by total number of events entered. Looking over psych sheet for larger meets, I have seen a breakdown by team that includes number of participants per team and total entries by team.

For example, team ABCD has 75 swimmers with 235 event entries, while team WXYZ has 17 swimmers and 85 event entries. In this example, the larger team has more entries, but fewer entries per swimmer (3.1 vs. 5 for team WXYZ); however, the larger team has more opportunities to score points. By looking at the total event entries per team, we are treating every event entry as an equal opportunity to score for the team.

Looking solely at number of participants, we overlook the fact that some entries may be relay-only swimmers (no individual events entered), or may have only entered one or two events (while other swimmers entered the maximum allowed). This would be especially effective at a meet like Nationals, since swimmers not meeting NQTs are limited to three swims. It would also prevent coaches/teams from discouraging participation because "one more swimmer" will push them up a size.

No, it's not a perfect solution. Relay entries are usually deck entries, so they would need to be factored in, along with a dozen or more things I haven't thought of yet. But I'm sure someone could come up with a formula that allowed adjustments for relay entries. Maybe something that looked at the number of men vs. women entered, or just counted relays as an event?

As an example, when my team went to Colonies Zones, we were the smallest team in the medium team category. We had several swimmers who entered the max number of entries, and a few who only entered two or three. We also only had two women at the meet, so we could not score points in the women's relays. The team did well due to some strong individual swims, but not being able to score realy points, we could not compete on the team points level. It was one swimmer that put us over the "small team" cutoff. We did not know that until the meet started, and that was fine. Interestingly, we had one swimmer enter the meet who has not been practicing with the team. We were all glad to see him at the meet. He placed well in his events, scoring individual points in all. It would have been great to think, "More points for us!", but we were also thinking, "Darn him, he put us over the limit!"

Just some food for thought,
Dana

swim4life
June 1st, 2007, 11:48 PM
I just attended my first Nationals in Federal Way and I was thrilled with the level of excitement and competition. But, I guess I wasn't the only one questioning the rationale of the scoring system.

It makes sense to me why they did away with the old large/medium/small team scoring system, as the dividing line was COMPLETELY ARBITRARY (and therefore, inherently unfair), and it seems from what I've read that some teams were actually discouraging swimmers from attending the meet in order to stay in a smaller division. I would never want to discourage anyone, no matter what speed, from competing in a meet, so I'm glad that system is gone.

However, not having ANY divisions seems just as bad, if not worse. These mega teams obviously have an insurmountable advantage, and the winning team of the meet is most likely a forgone conclusion. If an LMSC, or state, wants to pool its teams to create a mega team for the purpose of scoring more points, then I think, in doing so, they should be opting into another scoring category. *For the record, the argument that a state combines several teams in order to make a relay, or for comradrie sake, does not carry much weight with me - it's to have BETTER relays, and score MORE points.

High schools do have divisions based on school size (at least where I'm from in Washington state) in order to make competition more fair. Could you imagine if some high schools combined to compete together for the state championships!? Essentially, that's what we have here. In my ideal world, every club team would compete as itself - a club team. But, since these mega teams have apparently been accepted, there needs to be SOME FORM of division between mega teams and true club teams.

MY MAIN POINT:
By dividing mega teams and true club teams, the pitfalls of the previous scoring system are still avoided: (1) There is no arbitrary size division; (2) Swimmers will not be discouraged from competing.

It is true that some mega teams will be larger than others, and some club teams will be larger than others, but there is nothing anyone can do to avoid that, and that's all part of competing. At least this way it SUBSTANTIALLY LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD WITHOUT PUTTING ANYONE AT A DISADVANTAGE. Has anyone posted an argument as to why this should NOT be the way it's scored?

Thanks. I'm looking forward to differing perspectives.

Peter Cruise
June 2nd, 2007, 01:25 AM
Um, why have team counts at all?

michaelmoore
June 2nd, 2007, 02:33 AM
Below is a list of the top ten scoring teams at the last five SCY Nationals. As you can see the LMSC teams have a significant advantage over the non-LMSC teams. As the LMSC teams take eight of the top ten places in the combined teams scores.

While I voted to change from the Small, Medium and Large teams, after looking at the results, I would rather see the SML come back rather than the system that we have right now. Yes, there is some arbitrariness to it, but it cannot be helped - in any system we chose there will always be some arbitrary number that will make one team in a division that it does not want to be it. It is not completely arbitrary, if one looks at the team numbers, one can see natural breaks and those breaks are where the dividing lines are.

I would suggest that any team that has 40% or more of the total number of the LMSC members is an LMSC team. I could think of other defining issues, does team have central management, how many bank accounts does it have? (more than one operating account - then it should be a super team). Who makes the decision on the hiring and firing of coaches?

While some can argue about small LMSC teams competing against large state teams, that pales in obsticles that a true team has competing against an LMSC team. Of course, I keep thinking that if the game is to be played with the LMSC team, I think of Team Pacific going against Colorado Masters or the Florida LMSC teams. There are many Pacific swimmers who think it would be fun to be on a relay team with members from other current clubs.


Lets look at the results of the past five years and who is doing well:

2007 - Federal Way, Washington
1 Pacific Northwest Aquatics
2 Oregon Masters
3 Colorado Masters
4 Walnut Creek Masters
5 Arizona Masters
6 Team Illinois Masters
7 Wisconsin Masters
8 San Diego Masters
9 The Olympic Club
10 North Carolina Masters

Only two teams were not LMSC Teams: Walnut Creek and The Olympic Club. PNA was hosting the championships.

2006 Coral Springs, Florida
1 Gold Coast Masters
2 Colorado Masters
3 Fort Lauderdale Aquatics
4 Florida Aquatic Combined Team
5 Team Illinois Masters
6 New England Masters
7 Pacific Northwest Aquatics
8 North Carolina Masters
9 Florida Maverick Masters
10 Wisconsin Masters Aquatic Club
Only Two teams were not LMSC Teams: Fort Lauderdale Aquatics and Florida Maverick Masters

2005 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1 Colorada Masters Swimming
2 Gold Coast Masters
3 Florida Aquatic Combined Team
4 The Olympic Club
5 North Carolina Masters Swimming
6 Illinois Masters
7 Walnut Creek Masters
8 New England Masters
9 Virginia Masters Swim Team
10 Pacific Northwest Aquatic

Again only two teams were not LMSC Teams: Walnut Creek and The Olympic Club - Not bad for traveling all across the United States.

2004 Indianapolis, Indiana
1 Illinois Mastesr
2 Indy Swim Fit
3 Rocky Mountain Masters (Colorado Masters)
4 Walnut Creek Masters
5 OHIO Masters
6 Michigan Masters
7 Swim Kentucky Masters
8 New England Masters
9 North Carolina Masters
10 Woodland Masters Swim Team
Only three teams were not LMSC Teams Indy Swim Team (which was swimming at its home pool), Walnut Creek Masters and Woodland Masters Swim Team

2003 Tempe, Arizona
1 Arizona Masters
2 Rocky Mountain Masters (Colorado Masters)
3 Walnut Creek Masters
4 San Diego Swim Masters
5 The Olympic Club
6 Pacific Northwest Aquatics
7 YMCA Indy Swim Fit
8 Illinois Masters
9 New England Masters
10 Oregon Masters
Only three teams were not LMSC Teams Walnut Creek Masters, The Olympic Club, and Indy Swim Fit.

Congratulation to Kerry O'Brien of Walnut Creek and Scott Williams of The Olympic, who consistantly get swimmers to travel to compete at the national championships - and they do very well!!


Just my $0.02

michael

swim4life
June 2nd, 2007, 12:17 PM
Hey Michael,

Thank you for posting those team results for the last 5 years. It's quite telling. And yes, congrats to Walnut Creek and The Olympic Club for doing so well! Teams like this DESERVE RECOGNITION and under the current scoring system, it takes looking at a list like this to see how well they've actually done since neither of them have ever won Nationals.

Michael, you said you voted to change the old scoring system, so I assume you hold a position that may give you additional insight to this issue. I'm confused from your post as to whether you want to go back to SML scoring, or Mega Team/Club Team scoring. (Also, I'm unclear as to what you meant with the 40% idea. ??) I still think the SML scoring system requires an arbitrary division that would GREATLY hinder some teams while GREATLY helping others, who happen to be on the fortunate side of the line.

I don't think that dividing Mega Teams and Club Teams would be arbitrary at all. We can tell by simply looking at the name of the team, i.e., Oregon Masters & Colorado Masters vs. Walnut Creek & The Olympic Club. There is no need to look at number of bank accounts or anything so detailed, but if pressed, I think a Club Team would have one board (and a training schedule, to be found on the club's website, should they have one).

In the 3 links provided above (a few posts up) there was discussion of how Club Teams in Ohio (or Illinois?) compete as themselves within their LMSC, and they compete together when outside their LMSC. It seems that everyone is aware of what their real Club Team is.

I'm still looking for an argument against dividing Mega Teams and Club Teams.

Thanks!
Brian

A.K.
June 2nd, 2007, 08:56 PM
How about..

Within LMSC compete as Club Team

Outside LMSC or Nationals compete as State Team

Outside Country or International meets compete as National Team

michaelmoore
June 3rd, 2007, 01:28 AM
I'm confused from your post as to whether you want to go back to SML scoring, or Mega Team/Club Team scoring.

IMHO, either is preferable to the current system. But I would prefer the Mega Team/Club Team Scoring.

I still think the SML scoring system requires an arbitrary division that would GREATLY hinder some teams while GREATLY helping others, who happen to be on the fortunate side of the line.

Any system that we design will have some degree of arbitrariness to it, but lets not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We may have done that with the current system and what we see is that the large LMSC teams dominate in team scoring.

Within LMSC compete as Club Team

Outside LMSC or Nationals compete as State Team

Outside Country or International meets compete as National Team

Sounds good to me. I know a bunch of Pacific swimmers who would love to swim with Pacific swimmers from other clubs on a relay. Actually it would not take much to impliment a or b. In Pacific there are teams that like being their own teams, however, there are those that would like to combine for nationals and worlds.

There is a FINA rule about competing as a national team - you compete as a 'non-national' club.

michael

Betsy
June 3rd, 2007, 07:11 AM
I am so glad to see this discussion. The Large, Medium, and Small divisions may not have worked perfectly, but the system was better than the current one. I am intrigued by the suggestion of number of actual events entered. I don't know if it is practicial, but it would account for the swimmers who do not have qualifying times and can only swim 3 events.

I also worry about the definition of a "mega" team. But that's probably a discussion for another thread.

some_girl
June 3rd, 2007, 03:05 PM
How about..

Within LMSC compete as Club Team

Outside LMSC or Nationals compete as State Team

Outside Country or International meets compete as National Team

Please no. I like my club. I am proud of the work that goes into it and its competitive tradition, and I would rather not be part of some "team" that is a group in name only. Honestly, I think LMSC and state teams are bad for competition: If you want to swim relays get four people from your team to go! That way you encourage your teammates to push themselves, both in competition and training.

(It is hilarious how many people on my team come in swearing they won't compete, get nagged into going to a team focus meet, and wind up sucked in and ready to go to nationals.)

So I would rather superteams didn't exist at all. However, at least with two divisions, you wouldn't be actively promoting a worse option.

Betsy
June 3rd, 2007, 03:14 PM
Since I posted my last message early this morning, I've been thinking about team scoring. At first I thought perhaps we should base the grouping on team membership. That would be an incentive for teams to encourage participation. However, the location of nationals has the biggest impact on how many attend from a team. On the east coast, my team has had as many as 100 (Baltimore LC) and usually averages around 35 or so. In Federal Way, we had 11. If we had been in a small team category, we would probably have entered more relays.

The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of basing the team category on number of "splashes" or number of events members of the team have entered. People who enter only for the distance day or people who can only enter 3 would count in proportion to how many events they entered. It might even keep me from scratching some events!

michaelmoore
June 3rd, 2007, 07:08 PM
Betsy

I dont understand where you are going with basing the team championship on the number of slashes. The team that brings the most swimmers who have the most number of splashs to the championships, is that the winner?

Or do you take the total points and divide it by the number of splashes?

And of course, who and how is the tabulation going to be done? Just curious.


michael

The Fortress
June 3rd, 2007, 09:42 PM
Please no. I like my club. I am proud of the work that goes into it and its competitive tradition, and I would rather not be part of some "team" that is a group in name only. Honestly, I think LMSC and state teams are bad for competition: If you want to swim relays get four people from your team to go! That way you encourage your teammates to push themselves, both in competition and training.

(It is hilarious how many people on my team come in swearing they won't compete, get nagged into going to a team focus meet, and wind up sucked in and ready to go to nationals.)

So I would rather superteams didn't exist at all. However, at least with two divisions, you wouldn't be actively promoting a worse option.

I agree!! I joined my team because it was a "real" club team with good swimmers who had been on the team for years and longtime coaches. I purposefully did not join VMST, which is our state-wide umbrella team. State wide teams practice in a million different locations and have no real affinity other than the name. I'd rather swim relays with people I consider my teammates or friends. Many of our swimmers never compete. But, as with some girl's team, we all make a good showing at zones. One year everyone trained like crazy and went to nationals in Hawaii together and won the small team championship.

So, I think the state wide or mega teams should be separated from the true clubs. I wouldn't object to going back to SML either. Arbitrariness is part of life. Some minor unfairness at the masters level is not breaking my heart.

Peter Cruise
June 4th, 2007, 01:44 AM
And mine either. However, since everyone ignored it, I will restate- why keep track at all. Before you recoil in automatic horror, consider that there are evident large flaws in the system and no one (to this point) has come up with a seamless solution that satisfies everyone- so why do it? In Canada (I know, some of you automatically discount this statement) we have not, in my experience, kept track of team standings at nationals. There has been no observable suffering on the deck because of this- so why do it?

swim4life
June 4th, 2007, 02:32 AM
Wow, I'm glad to see people discussing this...I want to address a few items from the previous posts:

(1) Number of splashes.
When calculating score by the number of splashes, slower swimmers will still be discouraged from attending Nationals because it will weaken a team's strength, so I cannot support this option (...how ever it may be calculated, i.e., total points divided by number of splashes).

(2) "Arbitrainess is part of life."
This may be true, but while there is CLEAR arbitrariness in the SML team scoring, this factor is minimized (or nearly eliminated) with Mega Team/Cub Team scoring. Why deal with arbitrariness when we don't need to?

I realize there will still be room for debate for a team like the Olympic Club who competes with swimmers from around the country even though they don't train together as long as they are really fast. But, that discussion can be saved for another day. I would still rather compete against the Olympic Club than an ENTIRE STATE. I would be fine considering the Olympic Club a club team. People have mentioned that determining what is considered a Mega Team may be difficult, but I still think it seems rather clear. PLEASE fill me in on what I'm missing.

(3) "Mega teams are bad for competition."
As I stated before, in my ideal world we would all compete with our club team. I completely agree that TRAINING WITH FRIENDS IN PREPARATION FOR NATIONALS is half of the fun of going to Nationals. I truly don't understand the benefit - on a personal level - of training all year with friends and then going to Nationals to compete (on a team or relay) with people you've never even met. Who cares?

I obviously enjoy competing with my club team, and if Team Pacific actually materializes, my team will surely opt out of competing as part of it because we are our own cohesive unit, we are proud of what we can accomplish through our own hard work, and we are truly a family that I LOVE. Joining a larger force in order to score more points does nothing for me. Where's the team pride in that?

Does the USMS Championship Committee and the rest of the LMSC Mega Teams really want to egg on California to create "Team Pacific" or "California Masters"? How boring would that be?

I apologize if my passion spills into this post, but I am still just waiting for someone to present an argument against Mega Team/Club Team scoring. Is there one?

The Fortress
June 4th, 2007, 09:56 AM
And mine either. However, since everyone ignored it, I will restate- why keep track at all. Before you recoil in automatic horror, consider that there are evident large flaws in the system and no one (to this point) has come up with a seamless solution that satisfies everyone- so why do it? In Canada (I know, some of you automatically discount this statement) we have not, in my experience, kept track of team standings at nationals. There has been no observable suffering on the deck because of this- so why do it?

I wouldn't be bothered by this at all.

I guess in an ideal world if you could keep things somewhat "fair," it would be fun for club teams to go head to head or do battle in long standing rivalries, and my team does that sometimes. This year (like last) we finished second at zones in the medium sized team category. Gave it the old college try, everyone cheered like crazy and no one worried more than a nanosecond about coming in second. (The cheering would no doubt have occurred without scoring as well.) I think the team competition may bring out more swimmers, so that is a benefit. But generally, I'm happy to swim my events, do a relay or two with my team and call it a day. I'm not sweating standings and that's not why I show up at meets. I also don't want to be forced to swim 8 events a day just to garner points if I find it to be physically detrimental.

Personally, I dislike the concept of superteams. I guess if if we're going to keep score, they should be separated from the true club teams. Although when they win, everyone knows why. I can't get too worked up about team scoring. And if someone wants to join a superteam to swim relays because their club team doesn't have enough swimmers, I don't care, fine. However, I wouldn't join a superteam team to swim with strangers. Now, if we had a forum posters relay for Team Hottub, I would consider that. Otherwise, nah. I'll do relays with my team if and when enough people show up and are sufficiently inspired to do it. I did enjoy my first mixed 200+ year relay at a local meet last December. No thanks to Team Mid-Atlantic or Team Virginia.

Betsy
June 4th, 2007, 10:07 AM
Michael,
I meant using number of splashes to separate teams into Large, Medium, and Small. I don't know the solution to the team scoring problem. I just know that the top 10 teams doesn't seem to be working, and I like discussing other concepts.
Betsy

some_girl
June 4th, 2007, 10:45 AM
And mine either. However, since everyone ignored it, I will restate- why keep track at all. Before you recoil in automatic horror, consider that there are evident large flaws in the system and no one (to this point) has come up with a seamless solution that satisfies everyone- so why do it? In Canada (I know, some of you automatically discount this statement) we have not, in my experience, kept track of team standings at nationals. There has been no observable suffering on the deck because of this- so why do it?

I dunno. At nationals I don't pay much attention, but at New Englands (where scoring is divided between the NEM superteam and other clubs), competing as a team is half the fun. It encourages some folks to swim 16 events and be silly; it encourages everyone because scoring goes 16 deep, so you can contribute without being "fast." We all cheer like crazy and have a wonderful time. Maybe with the right mix, nationals could be like that too.

Rob Copeland
June 4th, 2007, 11:00 AM
I just know that the top 10 teams doesn't seem to be working,It is working, the team with the most points is getting first place, the team with the second most points is getting second place, etc to the team with the tenth most points is getting tenth place. And I’m sure that in the event of a tie two teams would receive the same place, although there may be a scramble to get a duplicate banner created.

There are obviously many potential solutions to this; leave it alone, Small/Medium/Large, club-team/super-team, splashes/bodies, no team scoring. All solutions have their pros and cons and no solution is fair to all.

michaelmoore
June 4th, 2007, 11:48 AM
It is working, the team with the most points is getting first place, the team with the second most points is getting second place, etc to the team with the tenth most points is getting tenth place.

Yes, that is correct the HyTek program totals up the team scores. And if you are part of an LMSC team it works wonderfully well. If you are a club that has a single management, practice at one or two pools, where most people know each other - you have a great chance to get 21st.

The rules currently favor those clubs that combine in a given area whether it be New England, Colorado, Virginia or Georgia. It puts those teams that have a single management and pool at a distinct disadvantage. There is no way that a Rolling Hills Mudshark team or Mountain View Masters can bring same number of people who swim for an LMSC team.

I would much rather score teams into a SML or LMSC/club teams than the current system.

michael

Rob Copeland
June 4th, 2007, 12:18 PM
Thanks for confirming my suspicions that Meet Manager can in fact tally points.

However the current rule favors the team that can bring the most swimmers who can score points over the club that covers the most geographic area. In Michael’s example, the Georgia “super-club” was 45th at Federal Way; far behind the not so super Walnut Creek and TOC “real clubs”. Georgia however trounced the Mud Sharks! Not that either GAJA or the Mud Sharks paid much attention the team scores.

For me the fundamental question is not how we tally scores at nationals, but it is what do we need to do to best align with the USMS mission and objectives? Does scoring the top 10 promote fitness and health in adults better than S/M/L? Does scoring a true club team enhance fellowship and camaraderie among Masters swimmers?

The Fortress
June 4th, 2007, 12:24 PM
I dunno. At nationals I don't pay much attention, but at New Englands (where scoring is divided between the NEM superteam and other clubs), competing as a team is half the fun. It encourages some folks to swim 16 events and be silly; it encourages everyone because scoring goes 16 deep, so you can contribute without being "fast." We all cheer like crazy and have a wonderful time. Maybe with the right mix, nationals could be like that too.

You're still competing with your team even if there is no scoring.

But I agree that club competition can theoretically build comraderie, encourage more people to swim at meets, and possibly create ongoing fun rivalries. Since this would seem to be a goal for masters swimming, it would be preferable to separate the clubs from the superteams (assuming scoring). But this seems to happen more on a local or zone level than a national level.

BillS
June 4th, 2007, 12:43 PM
State wide teams practice in a million different locations and have no real affinity other than the name. I'd rather swim relays with people I consider my teammates or friends.



but at New Englands (where scoring is divided between the NEM superteam and other clubs), competing as a team is half the fun. It encourages some folks to swim 16 events and be silly; it encourages everyone because scoring goes 16 deep, so you can contribute without being "fast." We all cheer like crazy and have a wonderful time.

Oregon competed as a state team at Nationals. At our Association champs in April, we competed as local teams. I had a great time slugging it out against the other medium sized teams at Associations with my teammates. But I also really enjoyed the chance to meet to meet and swim relays at Nationals with some of the folks I have been swimming against at local meets but had not had the opportunity to meet. The team scores mattered to me at Associations, but not at all at Nationals.

I'm with Peter on this -- why keep team scoring at Nationals at all? And Rob's point is a good one -- what end is served? There appears to be no way to ensure a level playing field without limiting the number of swims and defining team status and eligibility.

Although I agree that the true clubs which consistently compete and score at a high level deserve recognition.

imspoiled
June 4th, 2007, 01:08 PM
I agree with Fort on the friendly rivalry breeds good competition point. There can be (I won't say is, since it may not be the same for all) an added extra spark of competitive juices when two (or 10) teams are duking it out for bragging rights--rival teams of similar size or geographic location. On the smaller club level, there is no way to feel that added extra something if you are one of 12 swimmers on a team competing against 100+ swimmers of umbrella teams. Even taking first in all your events will not put your team in the top 10.

My club has roughly 60 registered swimmers in any given year. Some are triathletes that just workout with the team and others just like the team practice and never compete. Roughly 10-20 of us compete on a regular basis, and maybe 8-15 make NQTs. Even if all of the qualifiers and interested parties showed up at Nationals, we couldn't keep up with the mega teams. This year, two of us made the trip to Seattle. We finished 97th. A team championship was never in the cards. Instead, we were focused on personal best times and maybe a medal or two.

There is a distinct home team/home state advantage to team scoring at nats. With litte or no travel costs and a state umbrella team, everyone can enter the meet. Put together a bunch of relays, and it is a point fest. To me, this does not breed comraderie (well, maybe for the mega team). It just makes the little team feel less important.

There's fair, and then there's fair. Yes, it's fair to let Meet Manager add up all the points and declare a winner. But, is it fair to all the competing teams? Drawing a line to distinguish teams of different size may not be entirely fair, but it is more fair than ranking a team of 20 (or 10, or 5, or 1) against a team of 100+. If a system can't be implemented that is as fair to the smaller clubs as it is to the larger ones, then maybe Peter is right. Don't award team prizes at national meets. Just let the Meet Manager software do the talking and let the swimmers interpret the results, without officially sanctioning a winner.

The Fortress
June 4th, 2007, 02:52 PM
Oregon competed as a state team at Nationals. At our Association champs in April, we competed as local teams. I had a great time slugging it out against the other medium sized teams at Associations with my teammates. But I also really enjoyed the chance to meet to meet and swim relays at Nationals with some of the folks I have been swimming against at local meets but had not had the opportunity to meet.

I'm with Peter on this -- why keep team scoring at Nationals at all? And Rob's point is a good one -- what end is served? There appears to be no way to ensure a level playing field without limiting the number of swims and defining team status and eligibility.

Although I agree that the true clubs which consistently compete and score at a high level deserve recognition.

I don't think we can do this in VA? To compete with out state umbrella team, I'd have to un-register with my club team and re-register with VMST, then go through that process all over again to re-join my club team. I have no desire to go through the paperwork, fees and hassle.

Besides, I meet plenty of people at local meets. Perhaps coincidentally, most of them are on local club teams, not superteams.

And personally, at Nats, assuming low attendance by my team (0 at Federal Way), I'd rather forget all the superteams and state teams and scoring and just be free to swim relays with anyone I wanted to. For example, I'd love to swim a relay with my FAF Sista twin. I'd love to swim a relay with Imspoiled, whose club team was duking it out with my club team at zones.

Jeff Commings
June 4th, 2007, 03:40 PM
I'm all for breaking up the super teams, even though it was great swimming with a bunch of people from all over Colorado at two nationals.

I would understand if a team championship meant more money, sponsorship or prestige for a team, but if the host teams always win the meet, and if coaches of super teams are actively recruiting people to join them just to get a banner that probably will never be hung on a wall or a rafter, it seems pointless.

Bottom line, I think nationals would have a different flavor if everyone had to represent a team within 100 miles of their home address. The meet would be pure, and you wouldn't have all the gossip on the deck regarding team scoring. The fact that the issue affected swim4life's opinion of his/her first nationals shows what the main goal of the meet is for most people.

Between this and the way nationals/worlds are seeded, it's obvious a major overhaul needs to be done.

BillS
June 4th, 2007, 08:09 PM
I don't think we can do this in VA? To compete with out state umbrella team, I'd have to un-register with my club team and re-register with VMST, then go through that process all over again to re-join my club team. I have no desire to go through the paperwork, fees and hassle

I got it a little bit wrong -- I think all of us were still technically swimming as Oreg, but the team scores were tabulated based on our local clubs. Sure made it fun, and my teammates and I cheered like fools for every point. The high point was our women's 25 + relay, which consisted of women ages 31, 46, 53, and 62, winning when the much faster and younger competitors in their age bracket got DQ'd.

Hugh
June 4th, 2007, 09:21 PM
My biggest question is why do we continue to score and present awards for three categories: Men's, Women's, and Combined. Why not eliminate gender-based scoring and only keep track of combined?

That Guy
June 5th, 2007, 12:36 AM
Here's a semi-alternate point of view. As an unattached swimmer, I wasn't listed in my LMSC's results from short course nationals. My LMSC competed as a "super team." Not being listed with the swimmers that I regularly compete against stung a little. It made me wonder: if I had set an LMSC record at Nationals, would it even have counted? If a tree falls in the forest, yada yada yada...
:violin:

Frosty
June 5th, 2007, 06:02 AM
Now, this is a good topic of discussion!

I concur with a little bit of everyone’s point of view, though Rob expressed it best by saying “…the fundamental question…is what do we need to do to best align with the USMS mission and objectives?”

What are these objectives and are these objectives different depending on the location and scope of the event? The good folks in the Pacific Northwest certainly know that they have a LMSC championship with a points competition scored for workout groups (with S/M/L divisions, not divided by sex), a zone championship with no team scoring at all, and a national championship scored for USMS-registered clubs (divided by sex & combined). (Like Peter, I have seen no observable suffering with this arrangement.)

I humbly suggest that one of the biggest objectives of having team scoring is to encourage more swimmers to participate in the event. Certainly, team scoring fosters other positive things (e.g. competitive spirit and group pride), but an objective long sought after by many who write here is to provide an incentive to workout swimmers to enter the meet environment. It’s clear from the posts here that there are some swimmers for whom team scoring is the one thing that gets them to swim in a meet (specifically the LMSC championships meets at New England, Pacific, SPMA and PNA…the largest meets in the country outside of nationals/worlds), and perhaps it’s the only meet of they entire year that they do swim. I don’t believe that the having a scoring system encourages large numbers of non-regular meet swimmers to participate, but it does bring in some.

At nationals, I think having a team competition has less of an effect, if not a negligible one, in bringing in the infrequent competitor to the meet compared to LMSC & zone championships. The time standards have an impact in this, though I suspect the large PNA contingent at SCY nationals this year was more encouraged to enter the meet because it was close to home, and less because of the high potential to be associated with the likely national championship club. Similarly, I suspect a large majority of swimmers from outside of Washington state who went to nationals would still have gone to Federal Way if there was no team scoring. I do not suggest that competitive spirit and pride in your team/club are not important or valued (clearly many of you value it!), but that it is less important than other factors that bring swimmers to nationals (pool?, location?, time of year?, quality of swimming?, etc?)

So then if a team competition at nationals isn’t going to bring in the casual competitor, the only reasons to have one are for club pride and competitive spirit. If that is true, then the discussions about how to foster or concentrate that spirit are going to go on forever. There will be arguments for ages about whether it is more important to, say, recognize Walnut Creek Masters as the #1 medium-sized team rather than the #4 overall team…or why the 11th-place medium-sized team gets less (or no) recognition than the 1st-place small team because the medium team had one more swimmer. In this respect, I lean a little towards the viewpoint of my Canadian friend. Canadian nationals and the NW zone meet have not, and will not, become second-class events because of a lack of team scoring. Is team scoring an essential element of nationals?

In the end, this subject does go back to Rob’s fundamental question…as does the issue of defining “clubs” and “teams”. Does team scoring at (particular?) swim meets meet USMS objectives? Do our current definitions or policies regarding clubs meet USMS objectives? (Sounds like the beginning of another thread…)

The Fortress
June 5th, 2007, 09:07 AM
Here's a semi-alternate point of view. As an unattached swimmer, I wasn't listed in my LMSC's results from short course nationals. My LMSC competed as a "super team." Not being listed with the swimmers that I regularly compete against stung a little. It made me wonder: if I had set an LMSC record at Nationals, would it even have counted? If a tree falls in the forest, yada yada yada...
:violin:

That guy. You should send an email to your LMSC registrar. Seems odd. I swam unattached for a year before I joined my "real club team" last year. My times always showed up in our LMSC listings.

Good post Frosty. I think you summed it up. Forget team scoring at nationals and keep scoring at association or zones meets to encourage more people to compete. At our local meets, usually only 5-7 people from my team attend. But at zones, which has been at my home pool the last few years, a LOT more people attend and we have tons of relays. It's much more fun.

Paul Smith
June 5th, 2007, 09:18 AM
The current scoring system is unfair and it needs to be updated. My own humble opinion is you have 2 Divisions; Club & Mega. This in itself we not making everyone happy because you have teams competing as "club" such as Indy & Dam who actually control most of the pools in their city....which I have no problem with in any way and think it supports the mission statement.....but at least their would be some separation.

As for breaking up the mega/state teams I think its a mistake. In my own situation I'm a team of 2 (we have no team in Evergreen). Prior to that we had a good group (about 20) in Vail.....but only 2 of us competed.....and we we're passed the 100 mile radius Jeff supports.

The simple solution and one that led to my staying involved with this sport was swimming for the combined team for Colorado. We've made hundreds of new friends and being a part of this has led to people such as John Smith and myself going out and harassing old teammates from college/club to get back in the water.....something that is going on in a major way right now behind the scene as we are relentlessly hounding dozens of old farts to step up for Austin next year.

I'd really hate to see an regressive or petty actions taken that may serve a few by changing a scoring system used in two meets a year when instead we can make a change that promotes participation and growth.

Peter Cruise
June 5th, 2007, 12:30 PM
One of the barriers to communication in discussing this is mixing two issues: super-teams for relays and definition of team sizes and membership criteria for purposes of team scoring. I put forward the concept of no team scoring as a talking point, one which would not preclude various relay forms winning relay events and garnering records. It is a related topic, but muddies the team scoring issue to assume that no team scoring equals no relays.

BTW, my mind was musing on this issue (I fear, perhaps a symptom of encroaching senility) when I fell upon a vision of pure black humour: At Nats all swimmers must declare political affiliation and swim under them- talk about blood in the water. No I am not serious, just extrapolating from the occasional 'spirited' discussion that flares on the forums when partisanship flares.

swim4life
June 5th, 2007, 02:11 PM
Rob, Frosty, Paul (& Hugh, at the end) -

Rob, thanks for bringing the USMS objectices into this discussion. Sometimes it's easy to get carried away in debate and lose sight of the bigger picture. To recap for everyone (sorry, I haven't learned the quoting function on this yet), a couple objectives are to "promote fitness and health" and "enhance fellowship and camraderie among masters swimmers."

Following Frosty's train of thought, I agree that these ends are best served through increased participation. While the fitness and health aspect is covered merely by working out throughout the year, the fellowship and camraderie aspect is achieved, in large part, through competing in meets, as they provide a much different environment that allows bonding on another level (more than the 2 minutes rest between sets).

Paul's point demonstrates the importance to him, and hundreds of others, of being able to compete with a group. This post made me realize the benefit of allowing mega teams to compete, especially in more rural areas. (Thanks Paul.) I'm now all for allowing mega teams to continue, but I stand by my initial assertion that by choosing to compete as a mega team, that team opts into a different scoring division (Mega Team/Club Team). As Paul said, this way "at least there is some separation" among these different breeds of teams. Even if it is not perfect, as the Indy example demonstrates, it's still heads above the current system, and heads above the SML team system.

Frosty, your example of being the #11 medium team or the #1 small team because of one more person, is the exact reason why SML team scoring is detrimental to masters swimming and the objectives we try to promote through increased participation (not to mention its arbitrary nature). This is why mega team/club team seems the perfect alternative.

However, I have a much different take on the effect of team scoring on participation at Nationals. My team had 12 people at our regional meet, but because we emphasized our team - and our goal of breaking into the top 10 - we were able to get 20 people to make the trip to Federal Way. (Crazy, huh!) So, I strongly believe that team scoring goes a long way in encouraging participation, and therefore fostering fellowship and camraderie. ...especially at Nationals, since travel meets are truly (I think) when a team bonds the most and new friendships are formed.

Furthermore, Frosty also acknowledges that team scoring fosters "competitive spirit and team pride." I agree. This alone makes me wonder why you would advocate doing away with team scoring. This is a HUGE part of all sports. It would be like playing a football game and not keeping score. It's what rivalries are based on. It's why hundreds of Notre Dame students and alumni travel to USC for their annual game - it's FUN!!

Last but not least, Hugh, part of reason scoring is dividng as Men's, Women's, and Combined, is because it's tradition. High schools and colleges have always had separate meets for men and women. I recognize that masters clubs group everyone together, but it also carries an additional benefit in encouraging participation and rewarding teams for their hard work. Suppose a team consists mostly of men (or at least the "competitive" team, that goes to meets), someone on the fence about Nationals would have less of a reason to go knowing that their team wouldn't challenge in the combined team score. At least this way, more teams and people are recognized for their achievements, and that simply makes people feel good - and that's enough reason for me to keep the gender based scoring as well as the combined.

That Guy
June 6th, 2007, 12:21 AM
That guy. You should send an email to your LMSC registrar. Seems odd. I swam unattached for a year before I joined my "real club team" last year. My times always showed up in our LMSC listings.

Thanks for the suggestion, Fortress. Remember that the LMSC results were published right here on usms.org, not by individual LMSC's. But thinking about it some more, I remembered my LMSC has all time top ten lists. I checked 'em and I appear to have gotten on a couple of those with my times at Federal Way. If my times don't show up when the lists are updated (and if my times weren't superceded by enough Other Guys that I'd not be on the lists anymore) then I'll put on my pestering hat.

Edit: Fortress is right, thanks to matysekj for pointing it out in a private message. Unattached swimmers are listed at the bottom of each LMSC's results. It didn't occur to me to look there; I looked in my age group. However my LMSC's web site posted a version of the results that do not include the unattached swimmers so that's where I'll direct the pestering.

reudyt
June 6th, 2007, 03:20 PM
wow. i really didn't think i would get such a response to my initial post, but honestly it doesn't surprise me. when we had the large medium small team scoring, i had never heard any complaints, and since the scoring system was changed, i've heard lots of grumblings (to put it mildly).

after reading all the responses, it's very clear to me that this new scoring version is, by far, the most unbalanced. of course what to change it to is the million dollar question. there have been many suggestions, but the consensus seems to be that we somehow have to separate the super teams from the real clubs, and that's not a bad thing. you really don't have to look much further than your own back yard to figure out why.

the reason all high schools and colleges are split into divisions in all sports is because the size of the school definitely has its obvious advantages. and those schools don't change their affiliation when they get to the bigger competitions. ucla and usc don't combine their squads when they go to the ncaas just to have a super team (and nor would they want to). similarly, a real masters club trains together, pays dues to one club, socializes together, etc. therefore i do not think it would be hard to define or recognize a super team. we all know who they are. it is okay to be part of a super team if you wish to. we are only talking in regards to the scoring disadvantage at nationals.

so ok. i think i've talked enough. we now have to put the ball in the championship committee's court (or the swim suit in the championship committee's pool) or something like that.

thanks again for the replies. it's been interesting and fun. let's keep it that way.

Allen Stark
June 6th, 2007, 11:26 PM
I propose 2 divisions,LMSC and club. If a team is more than 50% of a LMSC it would be an LSMC team. Also I propose a small team relay system where in,if your team does not have enough swimmers to form a relay you could pool with other swimmers in the same situation. Those relays couldn't set records or score points,but would be eligible for medals.

Blackbeard's Peg
June 7th, 2007, 10:54 AM
swimming is a pretty individual sport. i'm surprised folks are this passionate about team scores to begin with.

for those with excel, take a look at this interesting view of results... i do this every year. its points per swimmer (combined, male and female).

edit: file has been updated

Rob Copeland
June 7th, 2007, 01:36 PM
Very interesting results indeed.

What makes it more interesting is that the calculations are incorrect for teams of more than 1.

Your calculation for M&F Points seems to be adding points per swimmer instead of points.:shakeshead:

some_girl
June 7th, 2007, 02:30 PM
Plus it doesn't allow for people who scratched the whole meet. But that would be a giant pain, I am sure.

knelson
June 7th, 2007, 02:37 PM
Your calculation for M&F Points seems to be adding points per swimmer instead of points.:shakeshead:

I agree. The data in column C should be the combined points for each team, not a sum of columns G and J, which it appears to be.

BillS
June 7th, 2007, 03:12 PM
Or if Column C is designed to be a measure of a team's efficiency, it should result in a figure lying between the numbers in Columns G and J, rather than the sum, at least for teams with entrants in both. By my calculations, it results in a number which is neither the mean nor the average of G & J due to the skewing resulting from disparate numbers of men and women earning points.

Comparing Oregon to PNA, for example, we see that 68 Oregon men earned 1265 points and 48 women earned 829.50 points. So 116 swimmers earned 2,094.50 points for a global point-per-swimmer number of 18.056. The men were slightly more efficient, with 18.60 points per swimmer, with the women contributing 17.28 PPS.

199 PNA men earned a paltry 1532.50 points, while 142 PNA women turned in a stellar 1722. 341 PNA swimmers got a total of 3,254.50 points, for a team PPS of 9.544. PNA men PPS was 7.70; women PPS was 12.127.

And so we see that Oregon handily outperformed our soggy neighbors to the north; and that the PNA men owe their distaff teammates a beer or 7 for dragging them along to victory.

I am reminded of a quote generally attributed to Mark Twain: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

knelson
June 7th, 2007, 03:58 PM
But I also really enjoyed the chance to meet to meet and swim relays at Nationals with some of the folks I have been swimming against at local meets but had not had the opportunity to meet.

I'm with Bill on this. I could really care less that PNA won the team title. That was pretty much a forgone conclusion based on the number of swimmers we had. I did, however, enjoy the opporunity to swim on relays I wouldn't have been able to if I were just competing with my training group. In fact several of these guys I've been attendings meets with for several years now. Even though we don't train together we enjoy getting together at the meets. We'd been emailing for a couple months beforehand trying to come up with our "ideal relays" for Nationals.

edit: I don't agree with Bill's assessment that Oregon "handily outperformed" PNA, though! :)

BillS
June 7th, 2007, 08:08 PM
Taking my tongue from back out of the cheek in which I had it firmly placed for my prior post, tracking numbers like points scored per swimmer actually has a potential chilling effect on participation. If the efficiency number meant anything, teams would discourage swimmers who had no chance to score points from entering.

But 18.056 to 9.544 sounded pretty "handily" to me, Kirk, even if the numbers are totally meaningless. :thhbbb:

Blackbeard's Peg
June 7th, 2007, 11:14 PM
yikes, ok let me take a look at that tomorrow at work and see where my formulas are jacked up. I just checked out my own team's entry on that thing and it is WAY wrong. I'll repost. Sorry guys!!!:blush: (where's the "run and hide in embarrassment" smiley)

edit: 845am est 6/8/07 - file has been updated - my bad!

Anthony Thompson
June 8th, 2007, 09:26 AM
I think some valid points are being made here about scoring teams at USMS nationals, including:

Does have team scoring at nationals benefit USMS & its mission ? I think the concensus is YES; it does benefit and promote fitness & friendly competition.

What system provide some fair and equitable team scoring system ? These discussions are helpful. I think the recent changes to the system provided by the Championship committee need to continue to be evaluated and discussed.

At least one person has pointed toward the questions, is swimming an individual or team sport which focus on the question surround relay teams. Since USMS is part of the USAS governing national body, which is in turn the member of FINA, I think we need to first look at what FINA does.

Does FINA formally score team at Olympic or World Championships ? I'll have to consult my FINA Rule book. Should we parellal USA Swimming scoring system (or NCAA, high school, YMCA, etc) at nationals for continuity within the sport ? Should we look at other masters sport to see how they handle scoring at national events ?

FINA does require individuals be representing a "club" at FINA event, so no unattached swimmers or relays. FINA leave it to the governing bodies to determine how to define "club". USMS has not had a geographic restriction on registering with a club. The fixability built into the USMS system allows for difference within the population distribution with USA. In large metropolitain areas, "club" are sometimes individual workout groups or "teams". In less populated area or regions, multiple workout groups or perhaps entire LMSC are registered with USMS as a single "club". USMS could create one "National Club" called "USMS" and anyone from across USA, which was discussed with the FINA World Masters in 2006.

Question: Should USMS have a geographic restriction for "clubs" ? The proposal of within 100miles - is that sufficient or fair for large geographic areas with low population density ? Should "workout" groups be built into "club" defitions like many LMSC use at local or regional or zone meets ?

Also, each solution has advantages and disadvantage. Large, Medium, and Small teams has the disadvantage for "arbitary" dividing teams into these 3 subcatagories. Another proposal is "LMSC Club" (with 50% or more registered swimming within LMSC in a single club) and "Club", which again will have a disadvantage to LMSC with small popluation to draw upon and a club from a rural vs metropolitain area. Yet another would be a high bread of catagories based on numbers of registered swimmers in an LMSC, instead of number who actually come to USMS nationals to determine for a season/year which catagory a "club" would represent (large, medium, small - LMSC vs workout/club) !

An interesting solution is number of swims/splashes divided by number of swimmers, which would "normalize" the difference between larger and smaller clubs. Alternatively, at a recent event in Paris France, I learned they use a scoring system that awards points based on swim relative to national/region records. I don't completely understand it, but a swimmer gets about 1000 points for matching the national/champoinship record - and performance relative scaled to the record performances.

I think a bigger question comes back to LMSC and registration. Should swimmers be required to register in the LMSC they live ? Should we re-evaluate the LMSC structure so the population distribution is reflective in the size of the LMSC ? We have a LMSC structure that is historically based on AAU, and may not serve masters swimming anymore. USA Swimming has continue to modify and update from the historical AAU, like they only have 4 Zone and USMS continues to have 8. Does this serve the mission and goes of USMS ?

Lots of good discussion... and hopefully, some of these may make it to the Championship Committe, Rules Committee, & HOD at 2007 USAS/USMS Convention, as we evaluate the mission, goals, administration, and rules/policies/legislation for our organization. 2007 is a legislation year, so this many not qualify as "emergence" rules need at convention ?

Anthony Thompson
USMS Breadbasket Zone Rep &
Missouri Valley LMSC Chair

some_girl
June 8th, 2007, 09:48 AM
Honestly, I think if it has to be unfair for someone, it being unfair for less populated places is probably the most fair, as it affects the fewest people that way (by definition). Besides, I don't think it is as easy as rural/urban: plenty of LMSCs in less dense areas have more swimmers than Metro, for instance. But I am beyond biased: I don't think you should be allowed to be an LMSC team at all.

knelson
June 8th, 2007, 11:01 AM
But 18.056 to 9.544 sounded pretty "handily" to me, Kirk, even if the numbers are totally meaningless. :thhbbb:

I do agree the numbers are meaningless :) The hosting team would always be at a disadvantage in points per swimmer. Since the meet is local there will be a lot more swimmers who haven't met the NQTs and probably wouldn't have swum if the meet were held elsewhere. Also there are probably a lot more people from the hosting team who only show up for a day or two rather than the whole meet. As you mentioned, about the only way to avoid this would be to discourage swimmers who don't have a chance of placing from entering the meet.

Despite all that, I will concede that Oregon had a fantastic showing! I think it's pretty impressive you guys were anywhere close to PNA in the final points total.

Blackbeard's Peg
June 8th, 2007, 02:17 PM
Despite all that, I will concede that Oregon had a fantastic showing! I think it's pretty impressive you guys were anywhere close to PNA in the final points total.
Their caravan of oxen-pulled covered wagons was pretty impressive, eh, Kirk? :lmao::rofl:

BillS
June 8th, 2007, 05:50 PM
Their caravan of oxen-pulled covered wagons was pretty impressive, eh, Kirk?

Oh, this is so totally baiting, no doubt in retaliation just because a few of us kind-hearted, well-intentioned folks pointed out a couple of eensy-weensy, oh-so tiny flaws in your spreadsheet thingie . . . Where's Mod Matysek when we need him?:)

And we're dang proud o'them ox-carts out here in Ory-gone, thank you very much.

Blackbeard's Peg
June 8th, 2007, 11:00 PM
:whiteflag::whiteflag::whiteflag::)

Jon Klein
July 16th, 2007, 10:50 PM
I propose a formula by which we can even out the large teams and the small teams, the near teams and the distant teams, in the scoring at nationals. The formula would reward teams for bringing a larger PERCENTAGE of their team to the meet and it would also reward teams coming from a greater DISTANCE. Here is the formula:
Total points scored x [# team members signed-up for nationals / # total team members registered in USMS] x [air distance in miles from the airport closest to the meet to the airport nearest the geographic center of the USMS registered team / 100]= Adjusted points. The distance component of the formula is 1 for the host team and any team less than 100 miles from the meet. Looking at the meet in Federal Way, PNA would have 3440 x [341/1279 or .266] x [1]= 917. NCMS would have 538 x [21/740 or .028] x [2350/100]= 359. Walnut Creek would have 907 x [31/~300 or .10] x [678/100]= 614. Very Small Team X from 1000 miles away with only 2 swimmers registered with USMS and both coming to the meet with a combined score of 40 points would have 40 x [2/2 or 1.0] x [1000/100]= 400. Using this system we get rid of useless terms like super or mega teams and simply acknowledge that folks swim on different teams based on local availability along with a whole host of other factors. We also acknowledge the efforts of teams to a) encourage a large number of members to go to nationals, b) get a large PERCENTAGE of members to go to nationals, and c) travel distances to come to nationals.

michaelmoore
July 17th, 2007, 12:37 AM
Jon:

You have an interesting forumla.

The problem with your forumla is that it gives too much weight to the number of swimmers participating over the number in a team. I would like to see more top ten swimmers participating at the national championships. To get more average swimmers, while it is great for a meet host (and does pay for the meet) is not what I think you want to see. In 1987, there were over 2300 swimmers at the short course yards championships, after that meet, time standards were instituted.

Lets just look what I could do if I wanted to game the system. If I were Kerry, I might form the Walnut Creek National Team. Now lets say that only 45 swimmers are part of the National Team. Now Walnut Creek has 907 x [31/45 or .67] x [678/100]= or 4236.

If North Carolina were to game the system and only have 42 members of the national team then NCMS would have 538 x [21/42 or .5 x [2350/100]= 6321. Congratulations on the NCMS great win!!

Now, of course, we are only talking theoretically, we know that no one would game the system. :-)

michael

michaelmoore
July 17th, 2007, 01:09 AM
USMS could create one "National Club" called "USMS" and anyone from across USA, which was discussed with the FINA World Masters in 2006.

Interesting proposal, do you really think the FINA Masters Committee would allow the swimmers to swim as a nation? I had a modest proposal on 1 April and there was one letter to the EC that practically called for the break up of Pacific LMSC, what do you think would happen if USMS went to worlds as one team. It is one thing if Costa Rica comes as one team, it would be entirely another if US came as one team.

Should swimmers be required to register in the LMSC they live ?

Why should we? In Pacific, the last time I looked 1.3% of its membership lived outside the LMSC bounderies. There has been no arguement made to advocate that this would even the competition, Many times the people who live outside the zone have historic reasons for staying with the LMSC that is not where they currently reside.

Should we re-evaluate the LMSC structure so the population distribution is reflective in the size of the LMSC ?

While one could look at this question to see that it may be advocating breaking up Pacific, one should look at South Dakota, and North Dakota. We should do something to help those LMSCs become more successful.


michael

Jon Klein
July 17th, 2007, 08:51 AM
Michael,

Top 10 swimmers score more points than average swimmers.

If the meet were to grow due to teams wanting to have more swimmers collecting relay points and a greater percentage of their registered swimmers at the meet, USMS would then respond by lowering NQTs thereby making the meet faster and keeping it manageable.

It is very unlikely that teams will divide and have a portion of the team register as a new team with USMS for the sole purpose of placing higher at the national meets.

My opinion of USMS nationals is that the meets are generally very fast (many records are set), they offer the top swimmers excellent competition, and they allow all masters swimmers the chance to participate and enjoy the excitement of the big meet. So I don't think USMS nationals are broken. My proposal would just level the scoring playing field a bit while understanding that those teams with more fast swimmers will always win the meet. That seems fair to me.

Jon

jerry clark
July 18th, 2007, 07:05 PM
Along the way, some have mentioned that the actual number of swimmers in attendance at a meet are the ones who garner points for their places of finish in the events they swim. This in turn brings up the fact that the variety of quality of those swimmers at meets also has substantial influence on the total points a team earns.

It is the number of people who show up at a meet and the quality of those swimmers, be they slow or fast, that totally governs their point totals. It is NOT the number of people registered in an LMSC, state team, mega club or whatever terms are used. If say Colorado wants to ask fast friends to join their team for next years SCN meet at Austin, fine. If the local teams around Austin have big turnouts due to the proximity of the meet, fine. We have to compete with just those who are present at a meet.

I contend the most practical answer to the problem is to have more categories at nationals. I've been one who had to separate widely different sized teams into Small Medium or Large categories and indeed, there are big mismatches when doing that. Therefore, HAVE MORE CATEGORIES to allow the playing field to level out. A suggestion would be to have XXL, XL, L, M, S, XS and XXS. Thats seven categories rather than three. Maybe even have up to 10 categories in order to have teams with APPROXIMATELY the same number of participants (read: we'll never be able to have teams with exact same number of participants in just one category) in each category. Yes, there would be mismatches still, but remember that the final point count depends on how many events the swimmers enter and where they place in their events/gender/age group. Quality may beat quantity in some cases and the opposite would be true in other cases.

Geography plays the most influential role in how many people show up at meets...this is quite evident if one looks back as far as one wants (I've done it for the past 20 nationals). Having more categories would be the best leveler of all. It wouldn't bother most of us if the team awards given out had to be ended because of the upsurge in number of award winners....perhaps a single sheet of paper denoting the place of finish in say the XXL division, would be just fine. If we had to go to 10 divisions, I'm certain our fertile minds could come up a name for each of them.

Team competition is FUN...it fits like a hand in a glove with our mission.

Rob Copeland
July 19th, 2007, 10:03 AM
The formula would reward teams for bringing a larger PERCENTAGE of their team to the meet and it would also reward teams coming from a greater DISTANCE.

Not that any of us would “game the system”, but… “Team Rob” registered in Key West with 100% attendance at Federal Way (1 of 1) would have scored 980 points to crush PNA. I like it!:banana:

DRK1996
August 13th, 2007, 11:51 PM
Blackbeard's Peg: I looked at your attachment and found it very interesting. I have thought about something like that for years for all levels of swimming.

I hace coached numerous teams over the years, and the vast majority of the time, those teams have been small teams will local swimmers who love both the sport and the "team aspect" of our programs.

Yesterday, we finished up at the 2007 LC Masters nationals at The Woodlands. We had 10 swimmers competing, 2 of who had no chance of scoring. All eight other swimmers scores and we finished up in 23rd place out of 132 teams. This was beofre the 1500 and 800 contested today.

There was no way we could compete with the "state teams" or those teams who recruit every swimmer who is unattached or is a member of small teams.

My swimmers were very excited about the finish, as we were a "true" masters team, and not some mega team that recruits their way to a trophy.

I see nothing wrong with eliminating the team scoring. However, teams would continue to score it themselves and proclaim their "success" on the team level.

The sport of swimming is competitive in nature and as a result, people want to win. If they went to the "small, medium, and large" team concept, perhaps USMS could develop a system that uses their membership numbers as a guide and divide each team into a certain division, dividing all the teams into three groups by their registration numbers. USMS could make the decision from the previous year's registration. Anyone who registers or transfers after that COULD swim as a part of the team except at Nationals.

Each team’s membership numbers would be locked at that time and those swimmers that were not a member of the team 90 days before Nationals and must compete at Nationals as unattached.

Another way would be to determine how many swimmers the team had at the previous nationals and divide the teams using thsoe numbers. First year teams would be required to swim in the large team division until their second year of national competition.

Yes, there are flaws in both my proposals, but they could be worked out with more time than I have to post to this forum.

With the same 10-15 teams continuing to dominate the team standings, something has to be done.

Another idea is to do away with top ten awards for each division (male, female, and combined). The combined scoring would be the only one uised and awards could be awards to the top 30 teams with no increase in money. A team that wins a team award in one division is probably going to get one in the other two divisions.

In any case, this is something that they need to fix quickly.

Karen Duggan
August 14th, 2007, 11:25 AM
What is unfair about dividing the total number of points scored by a team by the number of swimmers that actually attended the meet on that team?

For example if WCM had 40 swimmers entered and only 35 swam and those 35 scored 600 pts... divide 600 by 35...

That way you have an actual TEAM score. So even if a swimmer didn't actually score a point they would be part of the formulation.

It just seems to me the most cut and dry formula. That way there is not an advantage to any team no matter how many hundred they bring!!!! It would be about the quality of the swims.

knelson
August 14th, 2007, 06:54 PM
What is unfair about dividing the total number of points scored by a team by the number of swimmers that actually attended the meet on that team?

It could discourage swimmers from competing who won't score points. After all they will be "bringing down the team" in this scenario. With the current total points system they aren't helping their team's score, but they aren't hurting it either.

mbmg3282
August 14th, 2007, 06:57 PM
Karen,

If a team wanted to win, what would keep them from asking their slow swimmers to declare themselves as unattached? The system you propose, provides an incentive for a coach or swimmer to do this. As a swimmer who doesn't score points at SC Nationals, it would be better for my team if I didn't swim with them.

If we are going to have team scoring, I think it needs to be a system that encourages participation of team all members.

Personally, I am a fan of having two divisions, one for super teams (defined as clubs that register as a club and then have to declare a sub group you train with) and regular clubs (you register just with that club and swim as that club at all meets). Get rid of women and men awards and just present awards in those two divisions.

jerry clark
August 14th, 2007, 07:34 PM
Its nice to see someone other than me mention that how many swimmers from a state or a club who actually attend the meet is what is important.

Its how many people, how many events they enter and how well they swim at the meet that earn the points. What difference does it make what organization it is that they come from? How much simpler can it get than to divide the numbers on teams at a national meet into 7 categories (like said before: XXL, XL, L, M, S, XS, XXS) and let them go at it for first, second and third in their respective divisions? Maybe I'll find time to run through the just completed LCN and see how that formula would have worked.

Jerry

SKO
August 15th, 2007, 06:52 PM
XXL, XL, L, M, S, XS, XXS is too many divisions... I think it would almost make it less important of special to win one with so many divisions, which would kind make it almost pointless to keep team score at all.

Even the score/total numbers of swimmers is flawed because whats to stop a team like team TYR from swimming as such. With such a high concentration of dominating swimmers how could they NOT win?

Redbird Alum
August 17th, 2007, 01:25 PM
All interesting reading...

Unless there is a definative definition for club created by the USMS governing board that will resolve geographic boundaries, you cannot and will not prevent state mega-teams (like Team Illinois Masters), or cross-country teams (like Olympic) or even corporate sponsored teams (like TYR).

The issue is, there are no rules for formation, other than registering with an LMSC and paying the fee.

All that said, you are left with setting some arbitrary boundaries based on head-count, or "splashes" if you want to have "team scores" at Nats.

michaelmoore
August 18th, 2007, 05:05 PM
Unless there is a definative definition for club created by the USMS governing board that will resolve geographic boundaries, you cannot and will not prevent state .. . cross-country teams (like Olympic). . ..

Matt:

I was wondering how you define a cross country team. I was looking my latest copy of team registration and The Olympic Club has 112 members, only five of whom live out of the Pacific Masters region. Of those five, one competed on the TOC team in Federal Way and none competed in Houston.(the one who competed in Federal Way had lived in Pacific for many years before moving to southern California).

(Is this really perception over reality? - just a question.)

michael

Paul Smith
October 17th, 2007, 11:08 AM
Hey gang....so what did our leaders at convention this year deem to be the best way to update the nationals scoring system?

Frank Thompson
October 17th, 2007, 02:25 PM
Paul:

The results of the Legislation, namely L2 failed. You can read the changes here http://www.usms.org/admin/minutes/leg-2007-9-28-4.pdf

I have not seen you at the convention in the last couple of years and some of the ideas you have come up with in the last two days, could be ideas that the Marketing Committee could use. I know you and John are members of the Marketing committee and you could get the ball rolling on some of these ideas. Maybe you could join the branding task force that is part of the USMS Strategic Plan

Paul Smith
October 17th, 2007, 07:49 PM
Frank....so can you give us the "Readers digest" version as to why this failed? This is an extremely important rule change/update....can't believe that something couldn't be put together!

I'm pretty sure that if John & showed up at a convention it would be very similar to the scene in Young Frankenstein with the "villagers" chasing us down with torches burning!

jim clemmons
October 17th, 2007, 07:50 PM
Paul:

The results of the Legislation, namely L2 failed. You can read the changes here http://www.usms.org/admin/minutes/leg-2007-9-28-4.pdf



Paul,

It failed by about 4 or 5 votes - it needed 2/3 "yes" votes to pass due to the off year timing. We hope with some clarification and minor tweaks, we can get it (or something similar in intention) to pass next year in Atlanta. It will require a 50% "yes" plus 1 vote for passage. Perhaps you can be the 1 additional vote?

Paul Smith
October 17th, 2007, 10:06 PM
Paul,

It failed by about 4 or 5 votes - it needed 2/3 "yes" votes to pass due to the off year timing. We hope with some clarification and minor tweaks, we can get it (or something similar in intention) to pass next year in Atlanta. It will require a 50% "yes" plus 1 vote for passage. Perhaps you can be the 1 additional vote?

Jim..I think I'm a bit of an enigma to many in USMS.....I love this sport but won't hesitate to challenge what I think needs to be challenged....I love 90% of what we are...but am completely frustrated by how a hard change is!

I attended convention and came away thinking that there were a lot of very motivated/hard working people but that the lack of a clear "mission statement" meant that things like this team size/make up intitative would fail most of the time.

Right now I'm trying my best to help as much as possible at the local level...work always makes time a challenge but I'm starting to think that the old saying "all politics are local" may make some sense with regard to our sport.

Plus...I'm afraid of fire/torches! :D

Rob Copeland
October 18th, 2007, 11:54 AM
so can you give us the "Readers digest" version as to why this failed?Paul, in my opinion this failed for 3 fundamental reasons:
1) currently there are 30 team awards for national, the proposal would bump that to 90
2) The issue being addressed was scoring at nationals, however the proposed solution could have had wide reaching implications into membership and registration for all members, not just those competing at nationals
3) While many stated the current scoring system was broken, few believed that this was the ultimate fix and that that it could make things more broken

And as a matter of disclosure, I spoke out in opposition to the proposal, not because our current system isn’t broken, but because:
1) The proposed language in Part 2 is vague and awkward from a USMS code perspective “a regional club shall consist of those meet entrants who are registered with a USMS club that includes separate entities that compete within its own LMSC.” If I don’t swim at nationals I am not part of the regional club, what does this do to my status in my club? What is a separate entity? A workout group, an individual? From the USMS perspective everyone competing at a sanctioned event represents their USMS registered club or they are unattached (201.3). Meet hosts can implement other creative scoring (workout group, gender, age, etc.) So without changes elsewhere in the rule book the USMS view of separate entities is at the club level.
2) The proposed change only defines 1 category under “Membership of Clubs” which was “regional club” it was mute on what you are if you are not a regional club. The intention was obviously not to only allow regional clubs at nationals but the proposal as written did not define an un-regional club.
3) The proposed change to scoring addressed “Regional Team” and “Club Team”. Neither of these terms were defined in Part 2 or elsewhere. Again the intent was obvious, but the necessary precision of language in code was lacking.

I did argue for changing the scoring, but I argued to change it in national scoring, not in how clubs are chartered.

And Paul makes an excellent that these is a lack of a clear mission within our House of Delegates, for which I am greatly responsible. To this point, the HOD spend an hour in passionate debate about who takes home a banner from national, yet we blew right by what I feel is a bigger issue, that there was only one bidder for each of our 2009 nationals. God bless Indi and Clovis, but if USMS nationals isn’t viewed as an attractive property (positive cash flow to host, community impact, increased local membership, etc) then, in my opinion, we have bigger problems than who gets a banner.

So much for the “Readers Digest” version.

Paul Smith
October 18th, 2007, 12:39 PM
Rob, I have to admit I never knew the details of the proposed rule change and I should have read into it more....based on what you just said I'm glad it was defeated!

What annoys me is how complicated this has become....it seems there could/should be a very simple solution that is for the "greater good"....I mean really is it to much to have 2 Divisions; Open & Club?

"Club" would apply to any team that swims out of one single location no matter how many members it has.

"Open" would apply to any team that is based out of more than one pool location, any state teams, etc.

Does it satisfy everyone's personal issues...no. But it is simple, as fair as your going to get and a better system than we have now.

As for the 2009 nationals bids....as is being discussed on a couple of other threads we need to find a way to make those meets more fun, in great locations and most importantly a profit maker for the hosts...

Rob Copeland
October 18th, 2007, 02:58 PM
As for the 2009 nationals bids....as is being discussed on a couple of other threads we need to find a way to make those meets more fun, in great locations and most importantly a profit maker for the hosts...Agreed,

Mark Gill and others are working to get a bid from San Juan PR for LCN. They recently held the Pan American Masters there; it is a phenomenal pool (very similar to the Atlanta Olympic design), San Juan is great vacation destination, and the local hosts know how to run a FUN meet!

meldyck
October 18th, 2007, 05:24 PM
As for the 2009 nationals bids....as is being discussed on a couple of other threads we need to find a way to make those meets more fun, in great locations and most importantly a profit maker for the hosts...

Paul,

you travel more than most in USMS and have GREAT contacts at many of the really wonderful facilities along the way. Why don't you be one of the USMS ambassadors who seeks out these really neat venues and persuade the locals where you are swimming to put in a nationals bid?

This is one grass-roots effort where you may really be able to make a difference and get some instant gratification rather than trying to fight through organizational red tape to get changes in rules which, we all appreciate, can raise the blood pressure.

I'll lean on you about this at the ASU meet....

Betsy
October 19th, 2007, 10:19 PM
My concern with the scoring proposals is the worry about what comes next. Will it be relays? Will the same people think it is unfair to have relay teams from a regional team compete against a club team for a national championship? Think about it. I don't like this approach.
I agree with Rob that the scoring system does not work as is. But defining the teams is not the answer. The good think about the proposal and the discussion is that at least we are talking about it an looking for a reasonable solution.

Paul Smith
October 20th, 2007, 06:35 PM
I again ask why is this so difficult for Masters? How does USS score? They have a very situation in may respects. How about High Schools? They seem to make things work with 3A, 4Am etc.

Its not that hard folks....yes a few people are going to get upset because it may not suit their needs but this has dragged out for years and we should be able to move on for the greater good!

And Betsy...what is the problem with what I proposed have an open vs. a club division...simple, clean...of course there will be a few people who will challenge whether someone like Indy SwimFit should be a club or team because of their multiple locations but that can be dialed in as well.

Betsy
October 21st, 2007, 10:46 AM
I think defining the two divisions is the sticking point. It would be interesting to hear reaction to the concept of a club defined as swimming out of one pool.
I still think the fairest way is dividing teams by how many swimmers show up at the meet. This would be similar to the way we used to do it, but I'd like to see modifications for how many events team members entered. I wouldn't want teams to discourage participation of members who don't make qualifying times and can't swim more than 3 events.
Actually, the bottom line for me is that I don't get real worked up about team scores. I like it when my team places, but that isn't the reason I participate. My opposition to the proposal at convention was the way it was presented and defended by the supporters.
The mention of high school divisions with A, AA, and AAA isn't a good analogy. High schools and colleges hold championships separately for the divisions. They never compete against the other divisions.
Again, I worry that if we divide scoring by divisions, will the club division eventually want to score relays separately???
I don't have a solution, but I love this discussion.

Rob Copeland
October 21st, 2007, 12:03 PM
“why is this so difficult for Masters?” It isn’t difficult; we currently score the top 10 in men’s women’s and combines without any problems. Meet Manager does this automatically.

“How does USS score?” USA Swimming scores very much like we do. No differentiation between super-teams and one-pool-teams.

“How about High Schools?” It depends on the state, since there are no HS nationals. But many that use divisions A, AA, AAA, AAAA run separate meets for each division. NCAA does the same thing. I would be strongly opposed to running separate meets for different divisions or different genders.

Bill Volckening
October 21st, 2007, 12:52 PM
How does USS score?

According to the most recent results on the USA Swimming web site, they appear to be scoring in three divisions: men, women, and combined. In each division, the club with the most points wins. They also have high-point scoring for men and women.

"USS", now called USA Swimming, requires all athletes to register in the LSC in which they reside. They must achieve qualifying times to attend Nationals, and the organization has a system to verify that athletes have achieved qualifying standards.

Although this model works very well for USA Swimming, requiring in-LMSC registration and enforcing qualifying times may not be the best fit for USMS.

Paul Smith
October 21st, 2007, 03:03 PM
Bill....if there is a requirement to register in their LSC I was not aware of it...so how does The Race Club operate with swimmers from all over the country?

This is part of the reason I suggested a two division system which would allow people who swim alone, or want to swim with friends in other clubs/states a chance to still be part of a team.

Rob Copeland
October 21st, 2007, 03:49 PM
From 2007 USA Swimming Rules:
203.2 A swimmer need not reside within the geographical boundaries of the LSC in which the USA Swimming club he/she represents is located, but he/she must be registered in that LSC...

Bill Volckening
October 21st, 2007, 09:50 PM
I stand corrected, but recall trying to register for a NJ club after I moved to Oregon, and they wouldn't let me. Things must've changed since then.

So then there's the qualifying time thing...

Blackbeard's Peg
October 22nd, 2007, 09:57 AM
Every nationals, I copy the text results into an excel file. One tab for men, another for women. A third pulls data from both and adds everything.
Since Excel is a great tool, I break out the formulas here. There are all kinds of ways to break down the results...
points per # of swimmers per team;
points by # of swims per team;
points by # of swims per swimmer per team;

the list goes on... points per swimmer can be misleading if a one-person team comes in and wins first places all over the place

while it doesn't really mean anything, its my way of saying, "you know what FLAQ or PNA or whomever, you guys may have had a lot more swimmers in the water, but Terrapin Masters with our 8 people scored more points per swimmer than you, so HA!"

personally, i don't really care about the points - i am just there to swim fast against myself and have a great time.

Bill Volckening
October 22nd, 2007, 10:19 AM
personally, i don't really care about the points - i am just there to swim fast against myself and have a great time.

I think this viewpoint is most representative of how a vast majority of USMS members feel.

Paul Smith
October 22nd, 2007, 11:36 AM
I stand corrected, but recall trying to register for a NJ club after I moved to Oregon, and they wouldn't let me. Things must've changed since then.

So then there's the qualifying time thing...

Bill....just say no to "earmarks" like QT's, number of splashes, etc. etc.

Keep it simple.....2 Divisions; Open & Club with M's, W's and Combined Championships in each and scoring through 10th place.

Rob Copeland
October 22nd, 2007, 01:33 PM
And only 60 team banners to present? Mark Gill should be able to announce these in about the time it takes me to swim a 1650 (or 1500 LCM).

But, I’m willing to give it a go.

Paul Smith
October 22nd, 2007, 05:13 PM
Rob....so only give it out to top 3...I was (for a change) trying to be nice!

Leianne C
October 22nd, 2007, 05:39 PM
Actually, what Pacific tried to do in suggesting this legislation was to create two divisions, like Paul is suggesting (and like NCAA division 1, Divsion 2 and Division 3) for National competitions. Obviously, from the notes in this discussion forum, that concept did not come across clearly.

In looking over the posts on this forum, clearly people are not happy with the existing scoring methods, so let's try something different.

As the proposal was drafted, you would always be on a "club". For competition at Nationals, there would be a subset of clubs, called a "Regional Club", and those would compete in a separate division. If we want to call it an "open division" that is another way to accomplish this concept.

Here's how the two divisions would be determined. Where your USMS registration card lists you as a member of a club, and you always compete with that same club (whether at meets inside your LMSC or at meets out of your LMSC, like Nationals), then you are on a "club team", and at Nationals, you would compete in the club team division.

If you compete for a different entity at the meets that are held inside your LMSC than the club that is listed on your USMS registration card (for example, at your LMSC championship meet you compete under the name of your workout group, but at Nationals, all those workout groups combine and you compete with the team listed on your registration card), then you would be on a Regional team for Nationals and would compete in the regional team division.

Each division would have small medium and large awards, based on the number of actual swimmers representing the club at the meet. So if a club only sent a handfull of swimmers to a Nationals, they would be in the small team group, but if the meet was close to home, and they had a lot of competitors, they would be in a larger category. We can decide what number of awards makes sense once we decide what method to follow.

Nothing in the proposed legislation dealt with club members residing outside the LMSC (because there are often good reasons why someone competes with a specific team -- they used to swim there, or are temporarily in another state). Nothing in the proposed legislation addressed regional relay teams.

The point that the Pacific representatives were trying to make (and they were echoed by other HOD delegates) was that if you want to promote club participation in Nationals, make it a competition where they can succeed. Then the clubs can succeed, too.

Let's get the principals down and then we can all work on the details.

Leianne

Paul Smith
October 22nd, 2007, 06:23 PM
Leianne,
I want it even simpler thats why I said have an "Open" division which does not limit you to swimming for a team wear you live. If I want to swim next year with my old college alums that should be allowed...its fun, it gets people int the sport that may not currently be...or ever had.

This would simply be a means of allowing a more competitive way for teams to attempt to win championships....and if Walnut Creek wants to "man up" and swim in the Open Division against regional teams more power to them!

Relays are part of the formula and should be swam both Divisions at the same time for the most competitive possible scenario but scored in their respective Division.

Leianne C
October 22nd, 2007, 06:33 PM
Hi Paul,

I agree, the more the merrier. Success at Nationals can translate into success for the clubs back home, and get more participants in the program.

What Pacific was trying to do was make a different scoring proposal that took account of the comments on this discussion forum, and would not change the way USMS already registers swimmers across all the LMSCs.

The L2 proposal would not change the way swimmers are registered, it would only change how Nationals are scored. Some of the LMScs (like NEM) have "workout groups" and some of them have both separate club teams and workout groups (like in Georgia). Pacific does not have any of these distinctions, we only have club teams.

Leianne

Paul Smith
October 22nd, 2007, 06:55 PM
Pacific does not have any of these distinctions, we only have club teams.

Team TYR and TOC both pose some challenges to this I know....and having swam for Vail, TYR, CMS & now Arizona I've been on both sides of the situation. I'm also very aware why this change occurred after the Tempe nationals which sadly was a knee jerk reaction to team/coach who was playing a bit loose with regard to the sportsmanship clause (we don't have)!

But I think we need what's best for the greater good....and we need to put it into a rule change thats about one paragraph long!

Leianne C
October 22nd, 2007, 07:10 PM
Hi Paul,

First off, under the L2 proposal, you could swim with your college buddies -- nothing in the L2 proposal restricts where team members live. You just all have to register for the same club. Go email them and tell them to get back in the pool, Nationals in Texas are just around the corner!

Second, I am not familiar with Team TYR, but I think (from previous posts on this forum) that The Olympic Club has 112 members, of whom only 5 (I think--check the prior postings) live outside the Pacific LMSC. I also know that to compete for TOC, you must be a dues paying member of their club.

They would not qualify under the L2 proposal as a Regional Team -- they always swim under The Olympic Club, whether they are competing in Pacific meets or outside Pacific LMSC.....If Team TYR swimmers always compete as Team TYR, then they are also a club team.

No rule change is going to be perfect, but given the stated dissatisfaction with the current system, we should try to improve the situation.....

I agree that Rules should be simple --but they do need to address the concerns expressed by USMS management and the members of USMS....

Leianne
^^^

Swimmer Bill
October 22nd, 2007, 10:11 PM
Rob....so only give it out to top 3...I was (for a change) trying to be nice!

I liked the idea of having 60 awards because the number 60 is closer to the actual number of people who are passionate about the issue.

Am I passionate about it?

Nah...

Why not?

It would affect maybe 0.05% of our 43,000 members, and a majority of the 0.05% probably wouldn't notice any difference.

:dedhorse:

Paul Smith
October 23rd, 2007, 10:41 AM
I liked the idea of having 60 awards because the number 60 is closer to the actual number of people who are passionate about the issue.

Am I passionate about it?

Nah...

Why not?

It would affect maybe 0.05% of our 43,000 members, and a majority of the 0.05% probably wouldn't notice any difference.

:dedhorse:


And Bill I would respectfully argue that us .05% may be the most passionate...and vocal...of that entire membership.

I don't see/hear very many of the other 40,850 engaging in the "process", asking for things, trying to promote growth and improvement. The silent majority if you will is pretty much just that....silent....

Which brings us to the question of who should USMS focus on building more support/growth from? In my (always humble) opinion....it would be from current and past competitors who want things like fair/simple scoring, more open water events and coordination with the Tri world, etc. etc.

Rob Copeland
October 23rd, 2007, 11:26 AM
And Bill I would respectfully argue that us .05% may be the most passionate...and vocal...of that entire membership.

I don't see/hear very many of the other 40,850 engaging in the "process", asking for things, trying to promote growth and improvement. The silent majority if you will is pretty much just that....silent...Paul,I would respectfully argue that you not seeing or hearing very many of the other 40,850 engaging in the "process” does not mean that they are not trying to promote growth and improvement.

Throughout USMS we have many many volunteers and staff actively and passionately involved in growth and improvement. We have people engaged in making USMS Swimmer the best of breed, in improving the products and services we make available to our clubs, the improve the leadership of our LMSC’s and national organization, working to improve the quality and quantity of Masters coaches; the list goes on and on.

You not seeing/hearing about these could be because what we have here is a failure to communicate. If you would see the results to date of the club development task force you will see that many of our members are engaged in this process and if you will hear our local and national volunteers talk about Masters you will hear people trying to promote growth and improvement.

Paul Smith
October 23rd, 2007, 11:42 AM
Rob,
I hope you understand that when I engage in these "debates" I'm not in any way attacking or belittling the people involved in our organization...but like any good "coach" I feel compelled to challenge and not accept status quo.

So I would counter your point by referencing much of the debate over on the thread "Is this the face of masters swimming". I think its fair to say that having 43,000 members in the #1 participation sport in this country is pretty small....and I would argue that the vast majority of non-competing members are signed up almost exclusively because it is a requirement of the club or facility they belong to....

I'm in no way saying that all the non-competing members are unimportant and should not be catered to....but I would tell you my years swimming all over this country with probably over 75 different teams now that the "heart and soul" if you will of USMS is this paltry .05% who compete. Yes lap/fitness swimmers are just as dedicated to their workouts...but I would suggest that most of them really don't know much about or really care about USMS...other than reading the magazine each month.

The fiery ones are debating and posting here, showing up at meets, looking for ways to make the meets more enjoyable and competitive and grow membership by recruiting old teammates to get their butts back in the pool.

I know this will be viewed as a very controversial statement...but would argue that the vast majority of the management of USMS are competitors not simply lap swimmers.

So what's my point? I'm hoping that when folks like Bill (who i consider a friend and like immensely) who really doesn't care about team(s), scoring, competition recognize that those 2000+ of us who do care about these things a great deal. We also want to see the organization grow and evolve...on multiple levels. But I cannot be the voice for the silent majority, I'm biased and admit it freely!

TheGoodSmith
October 23rd, 2007, 12:35 PM
Being the resident masters team whore that jumps from team to team each year to benefit my own friendships across the country, I am inclined to agree with the Evil Smith. In addition, it does appear that the majority of the USMS members who "care" about USMS diretion are the ones that do compete more regularly and make attempts to attend USMS Nationals.

40K members or so is not that impressive considering the amount of people in this country and the amount that swam competitively in a prior life.


John Smith

Swimmer Bill
October 23rd, 2007, 01:33 PM
I dunno.

I missed the convention in Anaheim this year, but had I been there, the only number in my mind would’ve been 43,000+. If I looked at it from a personal perspective, I’d still say club scoring doesn't rate high on my list of objectives.

Maybe I just haven’t thought about it enough. The next Nationals will be my 25th since 1992, and so far, club scoring hasn’t been a significant factor in the quality of my Nationals experience. But I’ll be paying closer attention at the next Nationals and will look forward to the buzz on deck about team scoring.

By the way – not to change the subject, but – I’m wondering what others think of the idea of printing individual high-point scoring lists for all age groups at Nationals.

Rob Copeland
October 23rd, 2007, 03:07 PM
Score individual events 20 deep
Give out high point awards to the top 3 in each age group and gender
Provide team awards 3/5 deep to small&large, local&regional men&women&combined
Find a corporate partner to sponsor the awards
Run a real awards ceremony, al la the Pan American Masters meet (no offense to Mark Gill’s announcing and dancing skills)

I believe they are all ideas worth implementing. But a quick reality check, the discussion forum is not a policy making forum. If you want to see change, you need to work with your LMSC, the Championship Committee and local House of Delegates members and keep buttonholing swimmers at swim meets.

Paul Smith
October 23rd, 2007, 03:48 PM
I dunno. If I looked at it from a personal perspective, I’d still say club scoring doesn't rate high on my list of objectives.

Bill, sometime I would suggest you hang out a bit with the folks like CMS, Walnut Creek, TYR, etc. and get more of the inside scoop on how swimmers within these organizations go about getting ready for Nationals.

I'll give you a personal experiance....right now I have at least 50 emails archived from a group of about 25 old "has beens" that started the same day
that Austin was announced....the badgering, taunting, betting and blackmail taking place to try and get some of these people to show up is not suitable for posting on this forum.

The point is...there is a whole sub culture that is promoting this sport and our events that a lot of folks don't know about...until they see Colorado fly to Florida wit over 100 swimmers and win.....or TYR show up at Worlds and break records in the relays....

Now truth be told...most of these people including myself don't take it all that seriousslly...its more social and fitness based for me than anything...that is until i step onto the blocks and "flip the on switch"....

TheGoodSmith
October 23rd, 2007, 05:54 PM
As long as I get the highpoint and the Evil Smith gets runner up. I'm for it.


John Smith

Paul Smith
October 23rd, 2007, 06:35 PM
As long as I get the highpoint and the Evil Smith gets runner up. I'm for it.


John Smith

You can have the highpoint...but you will NEVER have your treasured 50 free record back! I got $20 on it loser!

Leianne C
October 23rd, 2007, 07:07 PM
Hi,

I went back through this thread and there seems to be a fair number of people advocating two divisions for competition at Nationals.

The way scoring is done now (just on the raw points scored by each team), I think that what you have is what Paul described as an "Open Division" competition.

The small teams and the medium sized teams are competing against what have variously been called "Regional" or "LMSC" or "Megateams". See the earlier postings in this forum for the results of Nationals under this recently enacted scoring system.

The L2 proposal was based on the number of competitors that attend Nationals, and was not based on the number of registered USMS members in that club.

If we had two divisions, with each division divided into small, medium and large, with those categories based on the number of swimmers in the Nationals (but not mens/womens/combined), then you would have six sets of awards. Then the "small" "regional" teams (like Maryland, Kentucky or Wisconsin) would compete against like-sized competitors, and not against the "Mega" or "Super Regional" teams.

Same with the club team division. Mission Viejo (150 members, per their team website) draws from a similar sized membership as The Olympic Club (112 members, as noted before), but they would only compete in the same "club division" (small, medium or large) if they both sent similar numbers of competitors.

What also comes through to me in reviewing this thread, and this was also stated by Pacific in proposing the L2 legislation, is that Masters Swimmers LIKE their clubs. They like competing with the people they work out with, and it fosters the growth of those clubs.

If this is what USMS is trying to do -- grow the clubs -- then maybe a two division proposal should be tried.

Leianne
^^^

Betsy
October 23rd, 2007, 07:17 PM
Leianne C..
You present the case for 2 divisions very clearly. This is a refinement of the proposal presented at convention and a major improvement. Actually, this may have been mentioned during the discussion, but the intial proposal created opposition and changes were not clear - or not listened to.
I recommend that you volunteer to be the spokesperson.

jim clemmons
October 23rd, 2007, 07:24 PM
Leianne C..

I recommend that you volunteer to be the spokesperson.

I'll second that.

matysekj
October 23rd, 2007, 10:09 PM
Leianne,

While I don't have any problem with having two categories for club and regional teams, I am very much opposed to small, medium, large categories and to basing team size categorization on the number of swimmers entered in the meet. I feel that both are counter to our goal of growing the clubs.

I don't see what the point of having small, medium, large categories is. What makes a team with lets say 40 swimmers at the meet (placed in the large category and coming in last in that category) less deserving than the team that brings 30 swimmers and places first in the medium category when the 40 member team scores more points than the 30 member team? I just don't get that logic. If it's really important to your team to get one of those banners, then recruit more swimmers or bring more swimmers to the meet! Having these S,M,L categories simply encourages teams to bring less swimmers (to a point) and to bring only their fastest swimmers in order to keep them in a lower category with a better chance of getting a banner. This DID happen with the old rules when we had S,M,L categories, so I believe that getting rid of them was a GOOD thing.

If someone were to come up with a convincing reason why S,M,L is a good categorization, then I would argue that teams should be categorized by the number of members on their team as a whole, not by the number of swimmers showing up at the meet. Using number of swimmers showing up again discourages participation by providing an incentive for the banner-hungry teams to keep their travel team size down. Why should a 1,000 member team be rewarded for bringing just their 20 select elite members to a national championship and being categorized as "small"?

There may actually be a somewhat valid argument for S,M,L if it is based on the registration data rather than the number of people showing up at a meet. If two 400-member teams are competing against each other in the same category, then the team that scores the most at the meet wins. It shouldn't matter if they score the most by bringing a smaller number of really fast swimmers who each score a lot of points or by bringing all 400 members, many of whom score points (but may not be the uber-elites). They both have 400 members and are duking it out. Heck, in that system, why would we care if one 400 member team is a "regional" team and the other is a "club" team? They're both 400 members, so they are even. Some may argue that the regional team drew from a larger geographic area and is therefore unfair. While the geography lesson may be true, the "club" team may very well (and very often does) draw from an area with a much higher population density so there are more potential members in their smaller geographic area.

As I said before rambling so much, I wouldn't mind separating out "club" and "regional" teams if it's that important to people. However, in doing this I'm in favor of dropping the whole team scoring thing from the rule book and making it a championship committee policy. That's simplifying things. Having the 200+ seat house of delegates argue it out seems counterproductive to me.

Paul Smith
October 24th, 2007, 11:27 AM
I agree with Jim...and will go back...again...to the point of KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Open & Club Divisions
1st thru 3rd places for M's, W's & Combined

Done!

Now I would consider a provision that would allow Club's to compete in the open Division. Say for example WC is going to nationals and have over 100 swimmers committed, if they wanted to move into the Open Divivion and challange the regional teams I think that should be allowed...

Leianne C
October 25th, 2007, 12:16 AM
Betsy
Thanks; I am glad this is clearer, we had help at convention from members of both the Rules and Legislative Committees, who made good suggestions to clarify this proposal. The proposal also included a process so that a club that thought it was in the wrong category could protest, and some other details, but this is the general concept.

I know it was confusing to hear all the discussion on the floor of HOD without a clear picture of what was being proposed.

Jim,
I agree with your concerns about small, medium and large divisions, and heard a lot at convention about how arbitrary those divisons were, and how we may be encouraging clubs to tell people not to come to Nationals.

On the other hand, I also heard that most coaches want everyone possible to attend Nationals, and that under the old s/m/l scoring system, the cutoffs for divisions were determined after entries closed -- so I do not have any insight on which point of view is closer to what really happens. I was just trying to address the views that have shown up on this forum.

I do know that a trip to Nationals is expensive, so it is difficult for coaches to encourage more people to go (particularly younger swimmers just out of school when the meet is across the country) and many people may decide not to go at all, particularly if their local programs provide meets with good competition and pools. The Top Ten listings reflect this, as they always have people in the Top Ten that did not go to Nationals.

On the point about having divisions based on numbers of USMS registered swimmers -- I like that idea, too, but I also realize that there are many Masters swimmers that do not compete. At all, ever. Or they do open water swims or triathlons, but not Nationals, so I think that while while using registered swmmers on a club is an easy measure, it may skew the way the divisions are made up.

For example, you could be on a team like Davis Aquatic Masters (Pacific's largest, with over 700 members) and they do not send more than 6 or 7 swimmers to Nationals that are held outside California (and sometimes no swimmers) -- should they really be in the "large club team" division? Or you could have elite recruiting teams (I don't think there is anything in the rules that says they cannot recruit from across the country), and they might limit their registered USMS swimmers to a small number, say 25, so that they will always be classed as a "small club team".

I am not sure there is an answer that will satisfy everyone.....but I do think, given the interest the topic has generated, that we ought to try something else.

Leianne
^^^

Rob Copeland
October 25th, 2007, 07:53 AM
While I’m still not clear how the 12 swimmers from Georgia (regional team) had an advantage over the 12 swimmers from Pennypack Aquatic & Fitness Club (local club) at the recent LCN at The Wooldands, if scoring regional and local clubs separately will bring world peace, then make it so. Note – the Fitness club crushed the mighty GAJA super-team, just goes to show you that on any given weekend…

Why s/m/l? Like Paul, Let’s keep it simple for now. Looking at 2007 LCN, arguably there was only 1 large team (Woodlands – 128 swimmers), 4 medium teams (25 – 44 swimmers) and 141 small teams (1 – 22 swimmers). So to Jim Matysek not seeing the point of s/m/l; the point is to pad you roster with people who won’t be attending to get into the large division and get a guaranteed large division banner, even if only 1 person actually shows up. A real win-win! The club wins the banner and the host gets lots of additional revenue without additional splashes to slow down the meet.

imspoiled
October 25th, 2007, 02:29 PM
While I’m still not clear how the 12 swimmers from Georgia (regional team) had an advantage over the 12 swimmers from Pennypack Aquatic & Fitness Club (local club) at the recent LCN at The Wooldands, if scoring regional and local clubs separately will bring world peace, then make it so. Note – the Fitness club crushed the mighty GAJA super-team, just goes to show you that on any given weekend…



Rob,
As a member of PAFC, I was going to argue that the advantage GAJA had over our little tiny club was YOU; however, given the results...:thhbbb:

Taking the case of PAFC into account, one of the reasons we scored well is due to our coach's method of encouraging participation within the team--the team pays to send the swimmers that qualify for LCM, therefore, just about everyone who qualifies tries to make the time to go. Non-qualifiers can also go, but they must pay their own way.

That said, I don't think a change to "open" and "club" designations helps a team like PAFC (roughly 60 members year-to-year, maybe 30 compete regularly (locally), less than that at nationals). No matter what you call us, we will not be able to match up against teams with large participation at meets because we're hindered by the number of relays we can enter.

That doesn't mean I don't want to see change. Presently, it's not a level playing field when a team/club/unit (whatever) of 100+ is ranked against a team of 12 (or 40, or 3). It's one of the reasons I suggested a method of scoring by splashes (very early in this thread). Maybe, "strength of swim" would be a better way to put it. Something that doesn't penalize teams for encouraging swimmers not making NQTs to come to the meet, but that levels the field a bit for teams that only have a few members wanting to participate.

Another thought:
Would it make sense to exclude the host team/region from team scoring at Nationals? Given the push to encourage particiaption and the ease of attendance to what amounts to a "local" meet, the host teams will likely out-number the traveling teams. Host participants can earn individual & relay medals and set records, but at the end of the meet they wouldn't get a banner for beating up on their "guests".

my :2cents:,
Dana

Swimmer Bill
October 26th, 2007, 12:47 AM
OMG, are you guys still talking about this?

I'm bouncin'...

:bouncing:

swilliams
October 26th, 2007, 05:35 PM
Ok folks...this will be my first ever reply to a forum. I am a very active member of USMS (head coach of the Olympic Club) and was stunned at the confussion that the rules change for Nationals scoring created. Point of clarification; The Olympic Club should not be used as any model for a club team. We are a private athletic club and "nobody" can swim for us without being a member first...period. We cannot and do not allow swimmers to join our team for a nationals or worlds. We are a team!
Having said that, I want to echo the KISS method...keep it simple. Going back to Small, Medium, Large divisions keeps it simple. Whether you are a regional or club team dosen't matter, therefore no need for team definitions.
Regarding coaches "telling" there swimmers to stay home and only bring the elite swimmers is not in our mission statement and should be grounds for expulsion from USMS. Trying to get your team to any nationals is a year round project with goals set and participation encouraged. As Lieanne said: work, family, relatioinships, etc. are the determing factor whether people go to participate..."not" the coach telling them they can or cannot. If it is that important to any coach to win and leave swimmers home then **** em.
The best way to divide the teams in the S- M- L is by the number of entered swimmers in that particular nationals, not by the number of swimmers registered on the team (the majority of masters swimmers do not compete). It is not perfect but, certainly better than what we have now. The perfect scoring system (percentages) is too complicated for such a large meet but, would determine the "true" national champions.
Keep it simple!
My 2 cents,:applaud:
Scott

Carolyn Boak
October 27th, 2007, 02:36 PM
At this time, there is a subcommittee of the Championship Committee working on this proposal to make awards in two separate categories ("combined" club and "simple " club). Obviously, most of the convention delegates favored the idea and the nuances/definitions need to be better detailed. The Pacific proposal at convention did not pass because the Legislation committee felt it could be written better as to defining what is a combined vs. simple club. 64% of the delegates passed Pacific's amended proposal (amended in Rules), but due to Legislation's negative vote, for this proposal to go into effect, 66.7% of the delegates had to vote for it. Obviously, like many innovative proposals in the past, it takes more than one year of discussion to get the proposal to fit for the greater majority. To calm Betsy's fear "What will be next"-a fear that combined teamsmight not be able to swim relays together. There was never any intent by Pacific or anyone else to prevent combined teams from fielding relays.
I do like the idea of "Number of splashes" for size, if size is used, because that makes it less likely for a very competitive coach to discourage beginners from competing.
To answer Rob's question of Georgia vs. Pennypack, if Georgia Masters have more swimmers on their club than Pennypack, obviously Pennypack does a better job of encouraging their swimmers to compete. I am on the Club Development Task Force and much of what we learned from a questionnaire about clubs was how a strong local club encourages growth in USMS more than having one regional club for a large area.
Leianne and I are part of the Championship Committee subcommitee on the issue, and would welcome Pau (Are you still on the championship Committee) to give us your ideas. Any other ideas can continue on this forum or email Leianne or me--my email is carolynfboak@yahoo.com.

Allen Stark
October 27th, 2007, 03:08 PM
I like the idea of keeping it simple and the 2 division idea,unfortunately it isn't simple.Anyway you cut it the host club and it's neighbors will have an advantage.What would be slightly more complicated,but fairer would be some multiplier for distance.Getting 30 swimmers from FL to compete in OR(or vice versa) should count for something.
Team scores are only important to some people,but if it motivates them to get more people to Nats wonderful.Anything that encourages more swimmers is good for USMS.

Paul Smith
October 27th, 2007, 04:59 PM
Scotty..welcome to the forums..you picked a good one to jump into for your first time! Let me apologize as did make a mention of TOC in one of my posts suggesting that it would possibly be classified as a team that should be under "Open"...I really did mean to type TRC (Race Club)....even though I still have a recoding of you on my answering machine offering the big bucks to come swim with TOC! :)

Allen....isn't it true that in any sport the "home" team almost always has the advantage? I think we get so caught up in trying to create "fairness" when in sport there is ultimately always going to be things like "homefield" advantage, or home "refs" advantage...it does and should fall on each of us to step up/ramp up our efforts to get as many people on board to attend major meets as we can...and i again will use out efforts in Colorado as an example of what can happen bring LOTS of people into most nationals....

I'm now setting the same pace here in AZ (sorry Mel..not jumping ship to UCSB as JS is doing to Texas)...again using blackmail, bribery, outright threats and some cash on the line against other teams/swimmers (Evil Smith)!

Mel...also wanted to mention that do approach people/teams about hosting meets...often. Ask Schaffer & McConica about my visit to there stellar facility in Ojai a few weeks back....also, brought up 2010 SCY nationals to Mr. Shake down at the U of A who will have their incredible expansion complete in a little over 1 year!

matysekj
October 27th, 2007, 06:21 PM
Although it pains me to say this... I agree with Paul Smith. Home teams will always have an advantage. It takes a superhuman effort like the one Colorado put forth in Ft. Lauderdale to come in and defeat the home team. Live with it. I still despise the S, M, L categories based on participation because I just can't get over how a 1,200 member team can be considered "small" just because they only brought 20 people to the meet.

To me, having S,M,L categories is akin to having a separate medal category for individuals who started swimming later in life. Sure, they are at a disadvantage, but so what?

Paul Smith
October 27th, 2007, 07:31 PM
Although it pains me to say this... I agree with Paul Smith.

:mooning:

Who loves ya baby!

irishpolarbear
October 28th, 2007, 04:56 AM
It's one of the reasons I suggested a method of scoring by splashes (very early in this thread).Does this mean we will have large splash and small splash divisions?:drown: Will this be aggregated by splash on dive, stroke and turns? I usually make a big splash on my start and during turns, but not so much during the stroke phase.:fish2:

swilliams
October 28th, 2007, 08:53 PM
OK, I'm back. Tall Paul, you are always welcome to swim for us....move to SF and join the club first...:):thhbbb: S-M-L divisions keeps everything simple! No team definitions, no coaches playing dirty pool, and giving "all" teams a fair chance at winning a title. Right now, we don't have that scenario in USMS nationals scoring. Right now, if you have 345 swimmers at nationals, you win...big deal. I personally like the number of splashes and percentages of swimmers scoring in the top 10 but, that seems to be an overwhelming task for the host team. Have you noticed that there are not very many teams bidding on nationals (one for 2009)? Why do you think that is? And when they "do" bid, we create a FINA-type attitude. This is masters swimming. We have a mission statement. Are we living up to it? There is not a perfect solution, but, there is a better one than the one we have now. Change is needed or we will lose the participation that was once was up to approx. 2,000 swimmers for nationals.
Bring it....
Scott

matysekj
October 28th, 2007, 11:30 PM
... giving "all" teams a fair chance at winning a title. Right now, we don't have that scenario in USMS nationals scoring. Right now, if you have 345 swimmers at nationals, you win...big deal.

So what exactly isn't fair or simple about saying that the team that scores the most points wins, period? That's the simplest system and I believe the fairest system. It's also the system we have now. As I said before, I would be willing to go with club/regional team divisions, but that's it.

Bringing 345 swimmers to nationals IS a big deal! It shows the commitment of a team to get swimmers to participate. Regardless of whether it's a "club" or "regional" team, it still takes a lot to get that many swimmers to a meet (even if it is a "local" meet).


I personally like the number of splashes and percentages of swimmers scoring in the top 10 ...

Number of splashes is a direct result of how many swimmers you bring to the meet, and I have still not heard anyone able to give any explanation how it's "fair" to categorize a 1,200 member team as "small" just because they only brought 20 members to the meet. I don't think that's fair at all. They are a huge team and should always compete as a huge team (if there are size categories). If they don't bring more of their members to a meet, they should not expect to be gifted a banner for winning. These awards need to be earned. You do that by getting more points than the other teams that show up, just like you get medals by swimming faster than the other swimmers. To get more points, you want to encourage more team members to go and contribute to the team effort. That grows Masters Swimming and the meet participation.:cheerleader:

swilliams
October 29th, 2007, 11:39 AM
Scenario:

A team of 25 swimmers shows up at nationals and everyone swims all 6 events. Every swimmer wins every event plus sets a national record in every event. They win every relay possible plus set national records in every relay. They are not national champions because a team of 200+ swimmers scored more points without winning one event or setting any records.:joker: There has to be a better solution. I think the regional /club concept is good but, we seem to be stuck on the definitions. This is where we need to keep it simple and I'm not sure that we have.

Last 2 cents: We are not USA swimming where a coach can demand that swimmers attend a certain meet. We are masters swimming and people have a choice. If you are on a team that has 1,200 registered swimmers and only 20 go to nationals then that is your national team for that particular meet. Masters swimmers attending national meets do so for the team but, their decission is based on many other factors as stated on previous posts...:)
Scott

matysekj
October 29th, 2007, 12:08 PM
Scenario:

A team of 25 swimmers shows up at nationals and everyone swims all 6 events. Every swimmer wins every event plus sets a national record in every event. They win every relay possible plus set national records in every relay. They are not national champions because a team of 200+ swimmers scored more points without winning one event or setting any records.:joker: There has to be a better solution.

Scott,

Here's a similar scenario in another sport. An NFL team has been Super Bowl Champions for 3 years straight. They win all their games by a score of 31-0 or better this year. They set every record on the books throughout the year. In the Super Bowl they run up over 1,000 yards of total offense, including an NFL record 600 yards passing and they have two running backs who run for over 200 yards each in that game. Their defense gets 21 sacks during the game and holds the opposing team to a total of 12 yards the entire game. Unfortunately, with all this offensive power, they also fail to score a single point in the game. They keep getting stopped at the one yard line and miss all their field goal attempts. The other team, while unable to put together any offensive drives, scores on a fluke kickoff return for a touchdown and arguably the best team in the league gets outscored 7-0. Who wins this game?

Again I say: if your team really, really, really wants to win a banner at nationals, bring a lot of people and a lot of fast people and score more points than your opponent teams. That's what wins. I've been involved in dual meets where the other team won 8 out of 11 events but we won the meet by scoring more points. This is not something new or unique to Masters.

swilliams
October 29th, 2007, 12:44 PM
Hi Jim,
I'm not sure the 2 scenarios match up but, thats OK, I understand what you are saying. I guess all the banter is about change. I think it is pretty obvious that most members are not happy with the current scoring system at nationals. It seems from all the postings that a division of the regional teams and club teams might bring a more level playing feild to nationals. It just seems very difficult to define the 2. What do you think? The O Club will be there no matter what...:)
Scott

jim clemmons
October 29th, 2007, 12:48 PM
Maybe with virtual scoring, such as being considered for SCM "Nat's", then perhaps a one division size fits all. Everyone is practically swimming "at home" (or at least not having to fly cross country).

For a one location Nat's (SCY, LCM) though, I think there should be divisions such as S, M and L. Or like Starbucks - large, larger and largest!

Colorado pulling together like they did was an exceptional effort and will probably end up being more of a rarity rather than a common practice.

matysekj
October 29th, 2007, 01:35 PM
For consideration... I pulled out the attached listing of 2007 team sizes from a version of the national database and tried to do a quick categorization of "clubs" vs. "regional teams". The categorization was rather easy to do - just a few teams whose names sounded regional but I'm not sure if they really are or not. I've deleted all the club abbreviations from this listing so that the discussion doesn't get reduced to picking on one team or another. Note that there are a bunch of unattached "teams" listed because there's a separate Unattached designation in the database for each LMSC. I could have removed them to avoid confusion, but I didn't. I like confusion.

jim clemmons
October 29th, 2007, 01:40 PM
I've deleted all the club abbreviations from this listing so that the discussion doesn't get reduced to picking on one team or another.

I could have removed them to avoid confusion, but I didn't. I like confusion.

Oh, c'mon Jim. You like confusion and I like picking. I think you should put the names back in.

JK.

matysekj
October 29th, 2007, 01:43 PM
Oh, c'mon Jim. You like confusion and I like picking. I think you should put the names back in.

Oh, I will. It's not meant to be a secret. I just thought that at this stage of the discussion it's better to leave that out of the equation.

swilliams
October 29th, 2007, 03:00 PM
Go work Jim. Now this is good information. It appears that there only a handful of regional teams and some do not have a lot of members. There are a lot of Club teams and most with less than 10 members would probably not compete at nationals. This is where we get stuck on how to define these teams at nationals. A simple you are regional and you are club isn't really much different than the S-M-L debate about arbitrary. Also defining a club gets pretty sticky as well, thus...our dilemma. How do we keep it simple and fair? Nothing is going to be perfect...percentages, keep it the same, S-M-L? Who has the best solution? Come on, you know you're out there...:):doh:
Cheers,
Scott:applaud:

Betsy
October 29th, 2007, 06:00 PM
If we are going to designate 2 types of teams for scoring purposes, I think Leianne's proposal is the simplest. If your registration card lists a workout group as well as your club, you are a regional team. If your registration card only lists your team, you are a club team. Some LMSCs consciously went to the regional team concept in order to compete at nationals. At local meets they use their workout group designation. Other LMSCs have a large club (perhaps with a regional sounding name), but have always operated as one team. They would be a club team.
The orignal proposal at convention was too complicated and from my point of view, not fair. This newer proposal seems much easier to determine. What am I missing?

(As many of you know, I swim for Virginia Masters, so I am not unbiased in this discussion. But then, who is?)
Betsy

Paul Smith
October 29th, 2007, 07:44 PM
Go work Jim. Now this is good information. It appears that there only a handful of regional teams and some do not have a lot of members. There are a lot of Club teams and most with less than 10 members would probably not compete at nationals. This is where we get stuck on how to define these teams at nationals. A simple you are regional and you are club isn't really much different than the S-M-L debate about arbitrary. Also defining a club gets pretty sticky as well, thus...our dilemma. How do we keep it simple and fair? Nothing is going to be perfect...percentages, keep it the same, S-M-L? Who has the best solution? Come on, you know you're out there...:):doh:
Cheers,
Scott:applaud:

Seeing the data Jim put together is making me rethink the issue a bit....basically I'm back into thinking forget trying to categorize Club vs. Regonal (or Open) and go back the the S,M,L...if increasing particpation is to be one of the primary goals and if a team has less than 25 members at least those 25 have a reasonable chance of winning a M's, W's and/or combined cahmpionship...

michaelmoore
October 30th, 2007, 02:10 AM
The top 25 teams in terms of registration are:

NEM
PNA
CMS
IM
METR
ARIZ
NCMS
OREG
DAM
WMAC
MICH
SKY
GAJA
TCAM
NIAG
GOLD
WCM
STAN
SMS
O*H*
ISF
SDSM
VMST
CUBU
FACT

The only club teams are:
DAM
TCAM
WCM
STAN
ISF
CUBU
FACT

With VMST on the edge.

2/3 of the teams with the largest registration are regional teams. It makes it tough if you are a club team to compete for 1st place.

michael

Paul Smith
October 30th, 2007, 11:31 AM
Michael, so what do you suggest (other than the Pacific propsal)? Do we run two completely separate divisions "Club" and "Open" and within each of these have small, medium and large designations..then within those 3 divisions calculate the number of splashes vs. actua team registration numbers...then have an "ugly suit" penalty attached (for John Smith)..then divide by the sum of the whole thing and cut in half if its a full moon that day?

We live in a "free market" society correct? So tell me that all club teams....and especially those that are usually in contention don't have swimmers on their rosters that are from other states/cities?....I think KPN might be bringing in a few points for San Diego that Hawaii might like to have...so does that mean SD should not be allowed to compete as a club? Not in my opinion..she should swim with whom she wants to.

Here's some news...the real world is NOT "fair"...so lets take the solution that is the simplist and benefits the most while at the same time helping to get more peope interested in competing....? Any ideas..in less than 3 sentances?

jim clemmons
October 30th, 2007, 11:36 AM
Any ideas..in less than 3 sentences?

And, to be fair, obviously dots aren't calculated in the "3 sentences" equation...:blah:

Paul Smith
October 30th, 2007, 12:29 PM
And, to be fair, obviously dots aren't calculated in the "3 sentences" equation...:blah:

You got smething against .....s?

By the way how's Mandy, is she ever going to enter any masters meets?

jim clemmons
October 30th, 2007, 12:41 PM
You got smething against .....s?

By the way how's Mandy, is she ever going to enter any masters meets?

I have nothing against anything for the most part, especially ...'s.

'cept maybe whiners. Not :wine:ers.

Mandy most have been traumatized by ASU, or maybe this whole scoring deal. I don't know...eventually we'll get her to a meet. It may just take a few years.

swilliams
October 30th, 2007, 03:21 PM
:thhbbb: S-M-L divisions...simple...as fair as it can be...promotes participation from all (if a team is caught leaving swimmers home then penalize them)...GITTER DONE!
:groovy:
Scott
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MegSmath
October 30th, 2007, 04:24 PM
My goodness! I come home from convention, up to my eyeballs in minutes I need to produce (and I'm still not finished!!!), so I don't look at the forums for a couple of weeks and all, um, heck breaks loose! Clearly this is an issue dear to many hearts!

Like Rob, I think if it will keep peace in USMS, then fine, go to two divisions for purposes of scoring at national championships. Just please don't call them regional teams and club teams. We're ALL clubs. What came across to me with the terminology used at convention was that the nonregional teams are the REAL teams and the rest of us are second-class teams. Words do matter sometimes. I thought the best terminology I heard was regional and local. I would not be offended by such terminology.

I would also ask you to consider the possibility that the model that works for Pacific might not work as well for Kentucky. We have a concentration of swimmers in Lexington and Louisville, and then a few lone souls scattered throughout the rest of the state. The guy from far western Kentucky who lives in a log cabin in the woods has no hope of having any teammates at Nationals without the regional model. Our membership in Kentucky has actually INCREASED since we went to the regional model, so it doesn't seem to me that we are discouraging club development here.

The legislation presented at convention was definitely improved with all the wordsmithing that went on there, but it was still very awkward and unclear and full of potential pitfalls. I would be happy to work with anyone and everyone from Pacific -- or anywhere else -- to come up with cleaner, clearer language. I think we all have common ground, we just don't know how to say it.

What was clear to me was that nearly everyone (except Jim Matysek, apparently!) was unhappy with the current scoring system. I think many, if not most, wanted to return to the S, M, L categories. Some cared a lot about creating local and regional divisions; a few were violently opposed to this; and some didn't care at all! As I said above, I would be glad to work on a proposal that comes up with a system that recognizes the two models of forming clubs, as long as it doesn't use pejorative language. I personally like the idea of returning to S, M, L scoring, as well, but could be flexible there.

I won't lie and say that I wasn't thrilled with the banners that Swim Kentucky won in Indy in 2004. (I think I scared the daylights out of Mel Goldstein when I ran out onto the bulkhead to claim the women's banner, I was so enthusiastic.) But I can also honestly say that I had a great time at Worlds when there was no team scoring. That's a possibility to consider too. Just do away with the whole thing. But I think I'll be a very old woman before USMS ever goes that route!

Carolyn Boak
October 30th, 2007, 05:20 PM
I agree with Meg that what happened at convention is that members of some of what were being called Regional Clubs felt that was a pejorative name. In reality, there are "regional" clubs that are much smaller than some of the other regional clubs. Many people wanted small, medium and large teams so that all kinds of groups would have a chance to score at Nationals. Having been part of each size club at various times, I can say that it is fun and exciting to have a chance to place as a team. When we only did small, medium and large, it is interesting to note that the "regional clubs" still received almost all the team awards. A possible explanation for that is that a regional club who has 400 swimmers is relatively small for that type team, but is large compared to the vast majority of the other type clubs. Even though it will make for 54 awards (I believe TYR sponsors the awards, so the cost is not prohibitive for the meet), I suggest the following rule proposal as a "restart." although I think that the word "combined" in the third line would be better as another word, so as not to be confused with the combined category of men and women scores together. Note that I also incorporated "splashes," rather than number of entries to denote size, as we do not want to discourage clubs from entering their beginners in 2 or 3 events.
104.5.6 Club Scoring
B Club Types-- Clubs competing at Nationals shall be divided into two types: Simple clubs and combined clubs. Simple clubs are those whose majority of members reside within 50 miles of the club’s location and whose members always compete for that club in any USMS competitions. Combined Clubs contain members who compete as separate entities in LMSC competitions or who have a majority of members living more than 50 miles from the club’s location. The Zone Committee shall be responsible for publishing a list of each club’s type no later than February 15 of each year. If a club contests its designation, it may file an appeal with the zone committee at least 60 days prior to the National Championship Meet.
C Categories-- Club Scoring will be tabulated in three categories within each club type.
(1) Women’s . . .
(2) Men’s . . .
(3) Combined . . .
D. Divisions—Three size divisions, based upon the number of swimmers entered in the meet from each club, shall be recognized within each club type and category. The number of splashes from a club that shall constitute a division I (large), division II (medium), or division III (small) team shall be determined after the meet entry deadline by the Championship committee.
E Overall Point Total—The overall . . .

104.5.7--Awards
C Team awards—The organization conducting the national championship meet shall provide awards for up to three places in both types, in the three size divisions, and in the women’s, men’s and combined categories.


Rationale: Dividing into two types of clubs does not imply one is better than the other, only that they are different. Relays will still be contested as always, but this type of club scoring will encourage coaches of simple clubs to excite their club to compete as a team. Putting the 50 mile radius of a club into the rule is to provide that a person can put together a club from far flung areas, but that club would be in the combined category. (As an example, when Team TYR put together a club at Worlds, it would make more sense for them to be in the combined club, small division category)

Leianne C
October 30th, 2007, 05:40 PM
Hello,

First off I wanted to credit (or maybe, given all of the discussion, blame) Sean Fitzgerald on Legislation with coming up with the simple distinction of when you are on a regional team: if you do not always compete for the same entity that is listed on your USMS card, then you would be on a regional team" (workout groups compete against each other within their LMSC and band together for competitions outside their LMSC). To me, this had the advantage of being easy to understand and to administer.

I also wanted to clarify that there was no intention in the L2 legislation to be critical of the way any club is structured --it is what it is.

In some cases, like Kentucky or North Carolina, a regional team is the best way to have enough entrants for relays, which increases participation at Nationals. Seeing the size of some of the LMSCs listed on the USMS website, a regional team is a good way for them to go--based on the USMS website, over a dozen LMSCs had less than 250 registered swimmers in 2004-2005.

In presenting the L2 legislation, Pacific also did not want to talk about "Superteams" or "Megateams". We called them "regional" teams only to make the distinction between those clubs that drew from a limited geographic area (the "club teams"), and those clubs that drew from the greater part of an LMSC (the "regional teams").

For example, we did not follow a concept that a "club team" drew from less than 4 zip codes or held workouts in a single pool (all of this would get way too cumbersome to administer).

Other choices of words may better express these concepts. There is no feeling that any type of organization is better or worse, it just reflects what is the practice in different areas around the country.

As also stated before, the L2 proposal was intended to take account of the different practices around the country, without changing how people register, and only for purposes of team scoring at Nationals (not for relay composition or other purposes).

Pacific also considered and rejected putting into the L2 proposal any kind of geographic limits on club membership. As noted before, there are often very good reasons to swim with a club from another LMSC (including the fact that you want to be on relays with that club, or swam with them before you moved to a new area) and it would be burdensome to administer a requirement like that (such as "less than 10% of the club's members reside outside the LMSC").

In Carolyn's proposal, the Zone Reps (gulp, that's me for Oceana!) would determine this--I still think that will be hard to administer, but if everyone buys off on that, that is another way to determine the divisions, and may address the concerns expressed earlier about a club recruiting from all across the country.

As another alternative, we could also just take the existing USMS clubs assign them to an "Open" division for the "regional teams" (NEM, PNA, Metro, CMS, IM, NCMS, ORE, etc.) and a "District" division for the "club teams" (DAM, WCM, STAN, etc.). New clubs would need to designate their division when registering. However, I am not sure that this alternative would work, without actually defining what these categories are.

I think that this is a topic that obviously creates a lot of interest among members, which is why I would not leave it as a policy issue for any of the USMS Committees, but would have it open to the general membership at convention.

I still like the regional/non-regional team divisions with s/m/l awards, based on the number of entered competitors. That way like teams compete against like teams, and it is a simple concept, easily administered. I agree that points per swimmer or splash calculations may provide a measure of the winning caliber of a team, but I agree that they are too complicated, and I am open to seeing another, simple way to set it up.

If other people have alternative suggestions, this is obviously a good place to make them, as the topic invites commentary!

Clearly we need to make sure that the language that is finally submitted does not rub anyone wrong, but we also should decide what is the best way to encourage more participation at Nationals.

Meg-- you are on as a participant in this process!


Leianne
^^^

michaelmoore
October 31st, 2007, 02:38 AM
Michael, so what do you suggest (other than the Pacific propsal)? Do we run two completely separate divisions "Club" and "Open" and within each of these have small, medium and large designations..then within those 3 divisions calculate the number of splashes vs. actual team registration numbers..

We live in a "free market" society correct? So tell me that all club teams....and especially those that are usually in contention don't have swimmers on their rosters that are from other states/cities?....I think KPN might be bringing in a few points for San Diego that Hawaii might like to have...so does that mean SD should not be allowed to compete as a club? Not in my opinion..she should swim with whom she wants to.

Here's some news...the real world is NOT "fair"...so lets take the solution that is the simplist and benefits the most while at the same time helping to get more people interested in competing....? Any ideas..in less than 3 sentences?

Lets see you want me to respond to your three paragraphs in three sentences when what has been going on here might be worth three chapters.

What I think many in Pacific are interested in is a way to compete on a reasonable way. There is no way that individual local clubs can compete with swimmers from an entire state.

One thing that you missed at convention was the entire Pacific delegation wearing a bright yellow shirt that said on the front "Bigger pond, bigger fish" and on the back "Pacific Masters Swim team coming to a nationals near you." There has to be a way to correct this imbalance between the regional clubs and the single clubs.

It should also be said that L2 while proposed by Pacific, was supported by HOD members from throughout the Federation. With over 60% of the HOD support change, I believe that there will be change at the next convention.

There are two elephants in the middle of the room that no one wants to talk about. What would happen if many of the clubs in Pacific (or Southern Pacific) decided to join together to form a consolidated team. It would not have to be all of Pacific, just imagine Walnut Creek, The Olympic Club, USF, Stanford, Sierra Nevada Masters, Tualomne County Aquatic Masters and Tamalpias forming a consolidated club for competing at nationals.

Where the rubber hits the road, is what happens with relays that makes an impact on the scoring. People talk about going to nationals and then comment that it is only how they swim at the meet that counts, but it is the relays were more excitement is generated and more points scored. If you are going to earn a banner at nationals, the club will have to get swimmers to compete in relays and score points.

In my fun April first memo, I listed one relay that would have a chance of taking first place in a relay (Laura Val, Leianne Crittenden, Suzanne Heim-Bowen and Debbie Meyer Webber). I could create "B" relay that could
give them problems. I think we could create at least four Pacific relays in most of the age divisions that could be competitive.

And it would not just be Pacific, Southern Pacific if they consolidated a bunch of teams would field very strong teams. Think of Paul Carter and Jim McConica on the same relay. Awesome!

How competitive would Pacific be? If you totaled up all the points that Pacific scored in Federal Way, Pacific would have beaten the host PNA by over 500 points and bested Colorado by 2000 points at the recent Short Course Nationals. Pacific would have finished second to Woodland Masters in Houston at the Long Course Nationals

I am not saying that with a sense of braggadocio, you can total up the points. It is what it is.

Teams rightfully take pride in their accomplishments. To break a national record is something that teams will work hard for. Pacific has about 23% of the USMS national membership and has had that for quite a while. With our very competitive swimmers we should have about 23% of the relay records, Pacific has about 17% of the relay records (if I counted correctly); New England Masters with 3.7% of the membership has 7% of the relay records. I dont know exactly why, but I would hypothesize that the more swimmers one can draw from, it would increase your ability create a fast team.

The other elephant that no one is talking about, is when do you force LMSCs to form local teams. At over 2000, there should be enough clubs in Colorado to form competitive teams - the same for New England.

If we believe that clubs are the way to grow the organization, then at some point we are going to have to be sure that local clubs have the ability to do well at Nationals.

If we do not have a way for local clubs to do well at nationals, then we are saying that regional clubs are the way to go.

At this point having swimmers from others states is not an issue. If Team Tyr and KPN and other groups start forming clubs to compete and break records it may have to be addressed, but now if Team Tyr finished 89th, it sounds like some friends got together and had a good time (which to me is a good thing). (BTW San Diego is a regional club.)

My big concern is breaking the scoring into two divisions. If the HOD believes that SML in each division is the best way to go, that is fine with me. If it is just two Division - no subcategories - I have no problem with that at this time.

If I just put on my Pacific hat, it would be fun to watch team Pacific. How many records could we break. I put on my USMS hat, and I dont think it would be a good thing.

I will agree with you life in not fair, but we do have a problem that we will have to address. I am quite sure the HOD will address this issue in a way that gives the single clubs a way to do well at nationals.

Sorry to take more than three sentences. :-)

michael

michaelmoore
October 31st, 2007, 02:50 AM
Mark Gill and others are working to get a bid from San Juan PR for LCN. They recently held the Pan American Masters there; it is a phenomenal pool (very similar to the Atlanta Olympic design), San Juan is great vacation destination, and the local hosts know how to run a FUN meet!

Having swum at the UANA meet in Puerto Rico, I can assure everyone that the pool is very fast - I had my best times there, the people are friendly, the food is good and the wine is...

Interesting idea, take the USMS Championships. Why go all the way out to San Juan, Montreal has great facilities and they are closer, it takes only 5 hours to get to Montreal, but it takes 10 hours to get to San Juan (From San Francisco).

We might be on something, Sheffield, England has good facilities - very nice one 50 meter pool and a diving tank. For all the beer drinking swimmers, they have great pubs near the pool.

Of course this is also Riccione, Italy. Very good Italian food, fine wine. There are thousands of hotel rooms near by. And Riccione is on the Adriatic, so you can have an open water championship. The Italians also know how to run a fun meet and you can drink wine there.

While all those pools are great pools, if you expect to hold championships out side the federation, I would expect to see at the next convention a rules proposal " 104.4.3.1 National Championships will be held in the federation" which is really too bad. Santiago, Chili has a nice facility- they have great food and really good wine and it takes only 18 hours to get there.


michael

swim4life
October 31st, 2007, 02:55 AM
Wow, I thought this discussion was resolved a few months ago but I see it's been brought back to life. I was one of the original posters in this thread and I've just spent the last 2+ hours reading all of the new posts made since August (yes, I'm a slow reader). It appears that the same arguments are being put forth as they were back in June when this thing started, however, the level of thought and discussion has been greatly elevated.

I tried to take some notes as I read so I wouldn't simply be repeating what others have already said, although that's probably impossible at this point. ha! I'll apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I had some catching up to do and I organized my writing inthe order of which I took my notes - point by point.

So, to start, I want to say that at times reading this thread I got the impression that some people wanted to level the playing field to a point where every possible variable was accounted for and every team would finish with the same number of points regardless of speed or size. That is not the point of competing. Some teams will be "better" than others, and no scoring system will be 100% "fair" to all teams. But, I'm glad most everyone agrees that the scoring system needs improvement.

So, a few random points I think needed reiteration: (BTW, I appear to agree with Jim Matysek (w/the exception of the NFL analogy!), Paul Smith, and Rob Copeland - even if you guys didn't think you agreed yourselves, you do for the most part on major issues.)

1) Any method of achieving a point total that requires the points scored to be divided by anything (i.e., # of swimmers or # of splashes) will have a negative impact on participation, which is against the USMS mission statement. This seems like common sense to me = slower swimmers will be discouraged from attending, and those slower swimmers who do attend will be discouraged from swimming many events. Case closed.

2) In the same vein, any size divisions (S/M/L) will have a similar negative impact. Fortunately, only a couple people have voiced their opinion in favor of this S/M/L division. One point made was that now, as opposed to earlier (I guess), we will make those size designations AFTER the close of entries. I assume this is intended to prohibit teams from discouraging slower swimmers from attending, so as to not boost their team into the next size category, but the practical effect remains the same - we will be able to determine APPROXIMATELY where each size cutoff will be, and swimmers will STILL be discouraged from participating. (The cutoff numbers will be +/- 1-2 swimmers from year to year.)

Again, as pointed out before, this was the downfall of the previous system, so I'm not sure why it is even being considered again with this new legislation. As Matysek said, I despise S/M/L team scoring. Furthermore, it really detracts from any teams achievement (except the Large team winner). The Medium team winner will still know, "Well, it's a good thing we didn't have 2 more swimmers because then we just would've been average in the Large team division." Same with the Small team. And finally, this really upsets the last place team in the Medium division who can then say, "Well sh*t, if we brought one less person we would've finished 2nd in the small team division." (And next year they WILL bring 1 less person!) Bottom line = S/M/L is arbitrary, unfair, and discourages participation.

3) If we only divide into Regional Team/Club Team, then we are rewarding those clubs who manage to encourage as many of their swimmers to participate as possible. If a team of 80 gets 20 swimmers to Nationals that's great! They shouldn't be "penalized" by being placed in the Medium team division when a team of 200 only gets 15 swimmers to go to Nationals and is thus in the Small team division. We should REWARD PARTICIPATION by all teams, and all swimmers (not just fast swimmers either).

4) There was a comparion made to USA Swimming scoring. It was pointed out that there is no distinction between the size or type of club. However, USA Swimming is a much different landscape and there is no such thing as "Colorado Swimming" or "Oregon Swimming" in Senior Nationals.

5) KISS - Keep It Simple. I agree with this philosophy to a degree - there is a line that needs to be crossed, and another that shouldn't be crossed. For example, to limit Club Teams to those teams who swim in one pool is overly simplistic. My team does not have our own pool but instead rents it from the city, as do most teams I presume. On the weekends, we train at another pool because our "home pool" is taken the by city. However, we a still very much a Club Team.

Until I read the above posts, I was unaware that there was a designation on some USMS Cards for a "workout group" and a "club team." This does truly seem like the simplest way to designate what a Regional Team would be. Additionally, I don't think there should be any geographical limitation for the reasons covered in prior posts. (Hopefully this leniency won't be abused.)

For all practical purposes, the designation between Regional and Club is very straight forward for 96% of teams (a third grader can look at the name of the team competing at Nationals and tell you, right?).

So, I echo Paul Smith and am advocating 2 division (Regional/Club), with Men, Women, and Combined Awards. I would differ in that I think with the new division, awards 1-10 is too many, but 1-3 too few. I'd say 1-5 would be a great compromise, but I am really more concerned with the structure of divisions. However, another point to award through 5th (rather than 3rd) is that Masters swimmers, and Masters teams, enjoy being recognized for their efforts and accomplishments, so, I would err on the side of award too many, rather than too few.

6) Someone brought up "what next? relay scoring?" in arguing that no change should be made to the current system. I don't feel it's necessary to go down that slippery slope. We can play the "what if" game forever. Relays should continued to be scored the same way - if a Regional team gets 1st and a Club team gets 2nd, the Club team gets points for 2nd, but ultimately is not competing against that Regional team in team scoring. (I am not advocating awarding the Club team first places points and medals.)

Well, that's it for now. I'm curious to keep reading what people have to say. Obviously this is an important subject and I'm glad that it received the attention it did at the National Convention this year.

Carolyn Boak
October 31st, 2007, 08:35 AM
I actually agree with what the previous writer said about not making any size divisions(instead, reward the clubs who get lots of people to swim). I am proud of the 8th and 10th place banners my club won at two Nationals. However, you need to realize that Pacific presented both ideas at the last convention--distinction between simple and combined teams only and distinction between simple and combined teams with small, medium and large--only the proposal with the small, medium, and large divisions found support. When the Championship Committee designated small, medium and large in the past, the divisions were done after entries were received (except for the first few years in the late 80's and early 90's). One person suggested counting splashes,rather than people entered, which partly will help those teams who encourage the non-scorers to come to the meet. The reason that I put the geographicial distinction (I am not sure majority is the correct amount, perhaps 2/3 of the swimmers should live near the club location)in the proposal is that a team that puts together a super team from around the country (as TYR did for the world meet), even if they swim all year for that club, probably belongs in the combined or regional team category.
Carolyn Boak

MegSmath
October 31st, 2007, 10:15 AM
Hello,

I also wanted to clarify that there was no intention in the L2 legislation to be critical of the way any club is structured --it is what it is.

No worries, Leianne. I did not get any negative vibes from you at all! I think you went out of your way to be fair and nonjudgmental.


In Carolyn's proposal, the Zone Reps (gulp, that's me for Oceana!) would determine this--I still think that will be hard to administer, but if everyone buys off on that, that is another way to determine the divisions, and may address the concerns expressed earlier about a club recruiting from all across the country.

I agree that the geographic radius would be hard to administer. In less densely populated areas, you might have to go far outside 50 miles to even find a pool to swim in. Conversely, in densely populated areas, you could probably find several pools within a 50 mile radius. I like best the idea of whether you always swim for the same team or not (regional club/local workout group). I concede, though, that that would not cover regional clubs that do not split up into workout groups in competitions in their own LMSC. At one time GOLD was the only club in the Florida Gold Coast, and they always competed as GOLD. But they drew members from across the LMSC. I guess the definition for a regional club is sort of like the definition for pornography: we know it when we see it!


Meg-- you are on as a participant in this process!

I figured if I was going to complain about the language, then I ought to offer what I thought was a better alternative!

Meg

MegSmath
October 31st, 2007, 10:29 AM
The other elephant that no one is talking about, is when do you force LMSCs to form local teams. At over 2000, there should be enough clubs in Colorado to form competitive teams - the same for New England.

I would hope the answer to that would be "never." I don't believe it is in the best interest of USMS to force something on LMSCs when it is so clearly against their wishes. The regional team concept is something that has been with some teams since the dawn of USMS. On the face of it, it would seem that Colorado and New England have enough swimmers that they don't need to use the regional model. But although I would imagine that most of the swimmers in Colorado are concentrated in the Denver area, there are probably swimmers in small, remote towns who are most definitely served by the regional model. I realize this argument could be made for any LMSC. I would imagine there are also swimmers in Pacific who live in remote towns.

Here's another elephant in the room for you: at what point does USMS "force" large LMSCs to split up into smaller LMSCs? (Not advocating this in the slightest, Michael -- just pointing out the other side of the coin.)


If I just put on my Pacific hat, it would be fun to watch team Pacific. How many records could we break. I put on my USMS hat, and I dont think it would be a good thing.

Actually, I would not have a problem with Team Pacific. If that's what you want to do, I would be a hypocrite if I objected. It really wouldn't bother me if Team Pacific dominated scoring at Nationals. But good luck to you putting all those relays together! I nearly had a nervous breakdown trying to put together relays for 60-something swimmers in Indy in 2004!


Sorry to take more than three sentences.

I would fail that test too!

Meg

matysekj
October 31st, 2007, 10:47 AM
Actually, I would not have a problem with Team Pacific. If that's what you want to do, I would be a hypocrite if I objected. It really wouldn't bother me if Team Pacific dominated scoring at Nationals.

I didn't see anyone in the HOD not wearing one of those yellow T shirts who cared at all whether Team Pacific formed or not. Go for it. And now I have to add this sentence to reach my obligatory three.

Paul Smith
October 31st, 2007, 11:34 AM
Michael,
My point about 3 sentances was to have a "propsal" that was not any longer than that...not an explanation of why.

As for Pacific or SPMA coming together and competing as a "team" I really have no problems with that...if USMS/FINA won't support the idea of National Teams formed for World Championships that may be the only way to see what kinds of records can be set when the fastest 4 swimmers in their age group get together for a relay...in other words what I would consider "real" world records.

And regarding Colorado having 2000 registered swimmers being able to put together some decent club teams. Maybe...but if you actually lived there you'd undertsand how spread out towns are and how few swimmers from the clubs/workout groups actually have swimmers who want to compete at nationals.

Case in point...we lived in Evergreenn for 2 years and before that Vail for over 20. For the first 3-4 years we went to nationals my wife and I swam for Vail as a team of 2...we intially resisited the combined team concept. However as we traveled and visited Boulder (2 hours away), DU (2 hours away), Durango (5 hours away), etc. we became friends with swimmers there who were going to nationals and decided to join them.

That lead to more "recruiting" if you will as we found swimmers like John Smith, Kirk Anderson, Susan von der Lippe, etc. etc. that we pulled into the mix and coerced into competing again...which I think is a good thing for USMS.

And just to let you know now that were living in Arizona full time I'm on the same mission...tracking down guys like Bill Barrett who are hanging around working out but not competing. And I think getting them on board is also a good thing. Am I sorry if it gets folks in Pacific masters panties in a bunch because we are getting more people together...nope.

So to close, as much as you might not beleive it I'm not here to win national titles and break records...those things are part of the journey and only short term enjoyment. I love the sport and want more people to enjoy it as much as I do and want a system that supports growth.

By the way...got anymore of the shirts you wore at convention in an XXL? Would love to have one!!

swim4life
October 31st, 2007, 12:43 PM
Regarding Carolyn's post - I now see your point on the geographical limitations that might have to be imposed in light of an elite team that merely gathers fast swimmers from across the country for the point of competing. My basic thought is, if people don't train together, they should not be a club team. Of course there will always be exceptions with people who moved away, but for the most part, I would think a club team would have at least 85% of it's members living within its LMSC.

Regarding Regional teams - Originally (back in June) I didn't see the point or support them at all. "Train together, Swim Together, Win Together!" BUT, after discussing this for a while I realized that the club team is not really a viable option for many swimmers in more rural areas (for relays, comraderie, etc.). Therefore, I now support the idea. But, in doing so, we truly do need to seperate teams so the club teams will have the motivation to bring a team to Nationals to compete for something - team pride.

However, I think there should be an opt out provision for club teams in a regional team LMSC. Say for instance, if "Denver Masters" wanted to compete in the Club Team division, then they should be able to do so. People should not be forced to swim for their LMSC. I know that if SPMA formed a team, my team would most definitely opt out, as we like to see what we can do on our own. Hence, the birth of "Train together, Swim together, Win together!" It's nothing against regional teams, but given the current scoring system, we'd like to distinguish ourselves. To be honest, when we looked at the Nationals results to determine our place, we didn't even count the regional teams that finished ahead of us - it makes not sense to put our 15-20 swimmers against those teams.

Again, no scoring system will be absolutely fair to everyone - club in rurals areas will always have a tougher time than city clubs, and smaller LMSCs will always have a tougher time than larger ones (and that's how it is in any sport; someone from Palmdale, CA should not reasonably expect to win Nationals) - but we can definitely make it MUCH "more fair" with a simple change: Regional Team/Club Team (or whatever terminology you want to use).

imspoiled
October 31st, 2007, 01:45 PM
104.5.6 Club Scoring
D. Divisions—Three size divisions, based upon the number of swimmers entered in the meet from each club, shall be recognized within each club type and category. The number of splashes from a club that shall constitute a division I (large), division II (medium), or division III (small) team shall be determined after the meet entry deadline by the Championship committee.




Like swim4life, I am encouraged by the evolution of this discussion since its inception.

Several people have objected to either S/M/L categories or using "splashes" to divide by size. I understand those arguments, but would also like to explain why what Carolyn has proposed above sounds like a good compromise.

Swimming for a small club (both by registration numbers and by participation at nationals), it is discouraging to see team scores get so much attention at a national meet. It is impossible for a small club to be competitive with the points scored by a large club--be it regonal or local--and seeing your club's name at the bottom of the list is not a lift to team morale.

Why should I (or any small team member) encourage more teammates to attend a national meet when we, as a small team, still would have no chance of placing as a team? There is a significant cost for participants at a national meet, and many will not bring home an individual medal, so what incentive is there for small teams to go to the meet at all?

Carolyn's proposal appears to try to placate all sides. Whether USMS ultimately decides to divide by regional/ local distinctions, I think it should difinately return to S/M/L divisions. The distinction, as outlined above, allows for (and dare I say encourages?) participation--by not penalizing teams for the number of swimmers they bring to the meet, but rather the number of "swims" entered.

For example, a team has several swimmers who do not meet NQT standards, but would like to attend nationals. Each enters a maximum of three swims. Rather than counting as two swimmers, they are counted as six swims (or the equivalent of one swimmer entering 6 events). One could argue, that using this method may actually move some teams with large numbers of swimmers DOWN a category, if many participants swim less than the maximum number of individual events. A team bringing 120 swimmers each swimming 2 events = 240 swims, and would be competing against teams with similar numbers of swims, like a team with 40 participants each swimming 6 events.

These two teams are not equal, they are however, equivalent in potential for scoring points. They can be competitive with one another, and others of similar potential. Preventing swimmers from particiapting would not benefit either team, since "individuals" were not used as the determining factor. It may also mean that PNA, WCM, and CMS are all duking it out in the same division, even though one team brought 150 swimmers and another only brought 50.

some_girl
October 31st, 2007, 02:49 PM
Regarding
However, I think there should be an opt out provision for club teams in a regional team LMSC. Say for instance, if "Denver Masters" wanted to compete in the Club Team division, then they should be able to do so. People should not be forced to swim for their LMSC.


You can do that already. For instance, Metro Masters is the regional team in the NYC area, but Red Tide and the Hydras and Dutchess County and a handful of other teams are clubs that compete separately all the time.

swim4life
October 31st, 2007, 03:40 PM
Thanks for the information on opting out! Good to hear teams can do that.

To what imspoiled said about S/M/L teams, there are a few counter arguments to each of these points: (sorry, I don't know how to se the Quote function that everyone has figured out!!) :)

1) "No team like to see their name at the bottom of the list."
Well, if we create S/M/L divisions, then 3 times as many teams will see their name at the bottom of the list.

2) # of swimmers vs. # of splashes.
While # of splashes is slightly more fair (if we are to divide into size divisions), it is still directly related to the number of swimmers. I would venture to say that this would only affect maybe 4 teams in determining their size division. As you point out, the cost to attend Nationals is usually quite significant, so it is HIGHLY unlikely that any team woud have a large number of swimmers with only 2-3 events. Those swimmers in large part do not attend Nationals. I would say the vast majority of swimmers who take on the cost of going to Nationals are those who swim 5-6 events. (I could be wrong though!! I'm sure someone on here has that statistic breakdown.) But, at the end of the day, # of splashes IS a SLIGHTLY better method, if we are going to go down that road at all.

3) "Size divisions may encourage participation"
I see how this may work for smaller teams who are trying to get a banner, but it also has a chilling effect for so many other teams who are not in that position. So, while this may work for your team, it doesn't work that way for all - for example, teams who are afraid of breaking into the medium or large team divisions (because then they would place lower). I just think it would be a shame to see ANY chilling effect that would discourage any swimmers from attending. Allowing just the Regional/Club team divisions does not discourage anyone, but instead, encourages everyone.

michaelmoore
October 31st, 2007, 04:09 PM
Like swim4life, I am encouraged by the evolution of this discussion since its inception.

Why should I (or any small team member) encourage more teammates to attend a national meet when we, as a small team, still would have no chance of placing as a team? There is a significant cost for participants at a national meet, and many will not bring home an individual medal, so what incentive is there for small teams to go to the meet at all?


There are many reasons for going to nationals. All the nationals will have great competitive facilities and high standards for the swim meet. Any swimmer there will have a chance to do his best.

You can watch great swims from the oldest age groups to watching Olympians battle it out in the younger age groups.

You will generally compete against swimmers of your own speed and age group. That will bring out the juices to swim harder.

You can meet other swimmers and make friends as we all share a common interest.

Most of the Championship Committee is there, so you can tell them in person what makes a good meet and what should be changed. (also most of the executive committee attends so when you are through battering the championship committee you can hit up the executive committee members - be sure to be a gold medal sponsor).




For example, a team has several swimmers who do not meet NQT standards, but would like to attend nationals. Each enters a maximum of three swims. Rather than counting as two swimmers, they are counted as six swims (or the equivalent of one swimmer entering 6 events). One could argue, that using this method may actually move some teams with large numbers of swimmers DOWN a category, if many participants swim less than the maximum number of individual events. A team bringing 120 swimmers each swimming 2 events = 240 swims, and would be competing against teams with similar numbers of swims, like a team with 40 participants each swimming 6 events.

These two teams are not equal, they are however, equivalent in potential for scoring points. They can be competitive with one another, and others of similar potential. Preventing swimmers from particiapting would not benefit either team, since "individuals" were not used as the determining factor. It may also mean that PNA, WCM, and CMS are all duking it out in the same division, even though one team brought 150 swimmers and another only brought 50.

In the example that you just gave, the team with 120 swimmers will get squashed like a bug by the team that brought 40 swimmers. A team does not score points unless a member finished 10th or higher. If none of your swimmers make NQTs (which is generally the 10 ten time plus 10%) they are not going to make a tenth place finish hence no points (yes you can find events that generally do not have 10 swimmers - the 200 fly comes to mind - and you can recruit swimmers from the 70+ age groups) but in the main groups your 120 swimmers will not score.

Championship committee did a survey a bunch of years ago among the top ten swimmers. The biggest reason of why a top ten swimmer will compete at nationals is location. The closer it is to their home the more likely the swimmer will compete. Thus PNA could get its more elite swimmers to swim and have a good time.

michael

MegSmath
October 31st, 2007, 04:18 PM
There are many reasons for going to nationals. All the nationals will have great competitive facilities and high standards for the swim meet. Any swimmer there will have a chance to do his best.

You can watch great swims from the oldest age groups to watching Olympians battle it out in the younger age groups.

You will generally compete against swimmers of your own speed and age group. That will bring out the juices to swim harder.

You can meet other swimmers and make friends as we all share a common interest.

Most of the Championship Committee is there, so you can tell them in person what makes a good meet and what should be changed. (also most of the executive committee attends so when you are through battering the championship committee you can hit up the executive committee members - be sure to be a gold medal sponsor).

You are absolutely right, Michael. I have been to 14 Nationals since 1991, and at only one of them did my team have a remote chance of bringing home a banner. And as a matter of fact, the one time we did win anything, I didn't personally contribute a single point! And I had a blast at Worlds last year (thanks again, Michael, for such a good time!) and they didn't even keep team scores.

I have never had a bad time at Nationals, and I have nearly always gone faster than I expected, for just the reasons Michael points out. This is an important point: it really is NOT all about winning. It's about COMPETING.

Meg

imspoiled
October 31st, 2007, 04:19 PM
Thanks for the information on opting out! Good to hear teams can do that.

To what imspoiled said about S/M/L teams, there are a few counter arguments to each of these points: (sorry, I don't know how to se the Quote function that everyone has figured out!!) :)

1) "No team like to see their name at the bottom of the list."
Well, if we create S/M/L divisions, then 3 times as many teams will see their name at the bottom of the list.


True, but three times as many would also be at the top. More recognition =more happy participants.



2) # of swimmers vs. # of splashes.
While # of splashes is slightly more fair (if we are to divide into size divisions), it is still directly related to the number of swimmers. I would venture to say that this would only affect maybe 4 teams in determining their size division. As you point out, the cost to attend Nationals is usually quite significant, so it is HIGHLY unlikely that any team woud have a large number of swimmers with only 2-3 events. Those swimmers in large part do not attend Nationals. I would say the vast majority of swimmers who take on the cost of going to Nationals are those who swim 5-6 events. (I could be wrong though!! I'm sure someone on here has that statistic breakdown.) But, at the end of the day, # of splashes IS a SLIGHTLY better method, if we are going to go down that road at all.

You may not be wrong. It has been my experience (limited as that is) that many people swim less than six. I don't think we need a totally level playing field--just less of a slope. Splashes may not be the best way, but it is something that can be easily computed with meet software.



3) "Size divisions may encourage participation"
I see how this may work for smaller teams who are trying to get a banner, but it also has a chilling effect for so many other teams who are not in that position. So, while this may work for your team, it doesn't work that way for all - for example, teams who are afraid of breaking into the medium or large team divisions (because then they would place lower). I just think it would be a shame to see ANY chilling effect that would discourage any swimmers from attending. Allowing just the Regional/Club team divisions does not discourage anyone, but instead, encourages everyone.

I completely agree. We want more participation, not less. If I'm not mistaken, you're the one that pointed out that masters like recognition. Here again, we agree. Not to say there should be an award for everyone, but small teams are at a disadvantage under the current system. YES, I swim for a small team, so I feel that effect directly. Mine is not the only team in this situation, or we wouldn't be having this discussion at all.

michaelmoore
October 31st, 2007, 04:25 PM
I don't believe it is in the best interest of USMS to force something on LMSCs when it is so clearly against their wishes.

If we do not have divisions (Whether it be regional/club or SML) we are letting the tail wag the dog. It should be Championships Committee's mission to provide the best competitive conditions for the athletes. I believe that this current system fails that test.





Here's another elephant in the room for you: at what point does USMS "force" large LMSCs to split up into smaller LMSCs? (Not advocating this in the slightest, Michael -- just pointing out the other side of the coin.)



The same time it should consolidate smaller LMSCs, when the LMSC does not or cannot service it members.


michael

MegSmath
November 1st, 2007, 09:21 AM
If we do not have divisions (Whether it be regional/club or SML) we are letting the tail wag the dog. It should be Championships Committee's mission to provide the best competitive conditions for the athletes. I believe that this current system fails that test.

Now you're talking. Really, the best solution would be to simply state in the rule book that the Championship Committee is in charge of team scoring, and let them implement a better solution. Then it wouldn't take a fruitless debate by the entire HOD.


The same time it should consolidate smaller LMSCs, when the LMSC does not or cannot service it members.

And that has already happened a few times, most recently at this past convention, when the Wyoming LMSC was absorbed by Colorado. But clearly our large LMSCs, Pacific of course being the largest, are doing a good job of serving their members' needs.

Meg

Leianne C
November 1st, 2007, 12:17 PM
As I stated before, I do not think that ANY committee (Rules, Legislation or Championship) should determine the method of scoring. This isssue is raises too much debate. Look at this forum and the other ones that are linked to it.

Even before this forum thread, there are three other links from 2004-2005 that extensively discuss this issue (here is the first link, the other links are on the first page of this thread): http://forums.usms.org/showthread.php?t=4104&highlight=club+scoring

I think that we need to deal with the current landscape as it is now (regional teams and club teams), because we will not be changing them any time soon -- these are already established methods for setting up swim programs.

What we need to do is make the slope of the playing field "less steep", as noted in a previous post-- because no scoring system will be perfect. If that is done by going back to SML, or to regional/club divisions, including number of swims, and geographic limitations, that is great.

Given the comments on all these forum threads, I think that if a smaller team felt that it could actually achieve a win, then the participant that is on the fence (about spending the money or taking the vacation time to attend Nationals) would be more likely to go. If the goal is to increase attendance, then I think that segmenting the scoring divisions would help.

One of the concerns expressed in the prior posts under the other threads is that by scoring only the top ten teams, that would encourage formation of regional teams. I think that has happened. Another statement was that the teams that won the small divisions under the old method would most likely be in the top ten teams.

Here are the teams that won in the Small Team divisions for SCY Nationals 2001-2004 (by women, men and combined scores):
2001:
W Stanford, TAM, El Segundo
M Team Texas, Ventura, San Diego
C San Diego, Tamalpais, El Segundo

2002:
W DC Masters, Multnomah, Pirate Masters
M City of Las Vegas, Ventura, Illinois
C Las Vegas, Ojai Santa Barbara, Multnomah

2003:
W TOC, NEM, Oregon,
M Gold, NC, Ancient Mariners
C Virginia, Gold, UCSB

2004:
W NEM, NC, Dallas
M Las Vegas, TAM, GAJA
C NEM, NC, PNA

Since the scoring change in 2004, of the "small teams" listed above, only North Carolina, NEM, Illinois, Oregon, PNA, San Diego ("regional " clubs) and Virginia have scored in the top ten at SCY Nationals. I do not see any of the other teams (primarily "club" teams) listed in the top ten. The only "club teams" in the top ten for SCY 2005-2007 have been Fort Lauderdale, Florida Maverick, the Olympic Club, the Woodlands, and Walnut Creek.

Given the dissatisfaction with the current scoring system (which has only been in place for a couple years), maybe any change in scoring needs to have a sunset period, where it applies for 3 years after approval by HOD, and then if not confirmed again by HOD, it will expire and you are back to the previous scoring method (the top ten teams). If it is confirmed again by HOD after three years, then that is the scoring method. That way you are not locked in to a scoring system, and can road test it.


Leianne

Rob Copeland
November 1st, 2007, 01:24 PM
Leianne,

Just because an issue is being hotly debated by about 20 or so people on the forum and maybe an equal number on the floor of the USMS House of Delegates, shouldn’t preclude the people who should “own” the issue from taking ownership. And in my opinion many hotly debates languish for years because they must be decided by the House.

For example, if the language in our rule book for 104.5.6—Club Scoring read “Appropriate team scoring and awards as determined by the Championship Committee.” (sorry only 1 sentence not 3) instead of what we have today. The Championship Committee could meet and set up event appropriate scoring, right now. Instead, Pacific has to propose L2, it failed, and we need to wait another entire year for R2 to be proposed and voted upon by the House. NOTE the language in quotes above is just an example, however it closely resembles the language in 104.5.7—Awards “Appropriate awards as determined by the Championship Committee…” NOTE2 – who else out there remembers when the House of Delegates used to pass around samples and voted on the awards presented at nationals?

Our House of Delegates meets once a year, while the Championship Committee can and should meet much more frequently. The Championship Committee can spend more time throughout the year and should be much more effective in discussing and providing solutions to this. The committee should be willing, able and effective. Championships are a product/service USMS provides to our members; if the committee responsible for this service can’t find ways to improve product quality then I appointed the wrong people to serve on this committee. (NO offense intended to our current committee members, since our code prohibits you from taking action today on this matter)

This issue, while hotly debated, is narrowly focused on how team scoring is conducted at 2 swim meets (USMS SCNC and USMS LCNC). And in reality only effects about a quarter, or less, of the clubs at those national championships. The House of Delegates spent more time discussing this one point then we did on our Strategic Plan, our budget, Club Development, LMSC Development or practically any other item brought before the House.

And one final note (in this post) if you think about it our House of Delegates is just another committee, albeit much larger than our standing committees. So if you say “I do not think that ANY committee … should determine the method of scoring” this leaves a vote of the members.

Karen Duggan
November 1st, 2007, 02:13 PM
Oh my! OK Leianne here I go... this is the first time I'm getting wet since SCM Champs :) ****If anyone wants to skip the ramblings and ponderings of a sleep deprived, 30 weeks along pregnant woman, please just read the last paragraph :)

I think (my first mistake!) that the whole REASONING behind the regional (state teams, mega teams, etc) vs. club (WCM, TOC, etc.) is getting lost with people quibbling over banners (how many, who gets one and why, etc.) and a sense of fairness. (I for one like the idea of team points, however, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. Although the process we're currently using, isn't fair, and needs to be changed.)

I'll reiterate what I said a long time ago when this whole topic came up. It is frustrating as a member of a swim team (meaning: we all swim at the same pool, have the same coaches, share practices, and even do activities outside of the pool together) to compete against entire states or LMSCs. They are NOT the same thing.

A true club team, regardless of size, shares swimming together on a day to day basis. You know all of the goings-on with your team, you plan activities, parties, practices, etc. You're really more of a family, and I for one am proud of the team Kerry has built. It reminds me of happy age-group days :) Kum-by-ya and all that.

A regional team (state or LMSC) is more of a family reunion of people who haven't seen each other in awhile, and usually get together for a party once in awhile (that party being Nationals in this case).

And let me be clear on several points:

-Club teams should be club teams (regardless of their registered member size) at Nationals. If WCM sends 20 swimmers, oh well. If we take 200 oh well, we'll still be part of a club. And we should be allowed to compete against like clubs. I know full well, as do we all, it's a numbers game. The more swimmers you have, the better you're likely to do. WCM learns this lesson yearly at our Pacific Champs. USF Masters brings more people than we do, we lose. (However, we have beat them despite the numbers occasionally). While I don't like losing, it was a fair competition. Club vs. club.

-I have never heard of anyone being told that they can't go to Nationals, period- let alone because it would change the "team size" to another category. That simply can't happen because the teams were broken into SML AFTER the entries were in.

-As a member of WCM, the people who represent our team at Nationals happen to be the people who want to go, can afford it, and have it as a swimming goal. After the entries are due Kerry then attempts to make up relays. He is NOT picking and choosing who can go, and he encourages people to go because it is FUN. Heck, if he did pick I don't think I'd be on a "National" team, and my hubby would get to have all the fun :(

-While team scores are part of the atmosphere at Nationals I know it has never driven me as a swimmer. I go to do my best against the competition there and hopefully reach my goals. I do love to swim on relays because there's always some electricity in the air. And to be honest, I rarely know how our relays do until after the results are posted- it's pretty chaotic on the deck at relay time. Kerry puts together the best relays he can given who chose to go to the meet. Keep in mind swimming is an individual sport and most people look at their success at a meet based on how they did, not their team. (I am proud of our team though!)

-Many people would be upset over a Team Pacific. Nationals would be a foregone conclusion, and the team points would be for 2nd on down. No one in Pacific wants to do this. We have too much pride in our individual clubs. (Although it would be fun to see every USMS National relay record say Team Pacific next to it!) But I digress.

I recognize and understand that if someone lives out in the sticks 300 miles from nowhere that they are not likely to have a "team" atmosphere. It would then make sense for them to form a team with whomever was nearby, especially if they wanted to swim on relays. That being said, they should not be in the same category as a club team (like WCM). They are not a team in what I think is the true sense of the word. They came together for a common reason (NO TEAM IN THE AREA!)

Again, getting back to my family analogy. There are nuclear families, extended families, and alternative families. They are all different types of families. In USMS, there happens to also exist a nuclear family (club team) and an extended family (state, regional, or LMSC teams). They are not the same and should not be made to compete against each other in the team competition at Nationals. I suggest a 1-10 Club category and a 1-10 Regional Team category.

Karen Duggan
November 1st, 2007, 02:32 PM
Rob,
As a teacher, I have to listen to my students and educate them based on their current level and understanding. I plan my lessons based on their needs and I adapt regularly. And if you are saying that this discussion took up so much time, that tells me it is important. Perhaps more should be done to address it. And, I agree with Paul, that just because a smaller number of our membership thinks this is important, and only some are discussing it, it IS important. Nationals is the showcase for USMS regardless of how many attend.

Rob Copeland
November 1st, 2007, 03:16 PM
Rob,
As a teacher, I have to listen to my students and educate them based on their current level and understanding. I plan my lessons based on their needs and I adapt regularly. And if you are saying that this discussion took up so much time, that tells me it is important. Perhaps more should be done to address it.Karen,

That’s exactly part of my point; more should be done to address this. And a legislative body that meets one a year is not the most effective way of addressing it.

And to follow on with your teaching analogy, you as a committee of one determine the lesson plan of the class, based on your expert judgment and you adapt it to meet the needs of your customers (students). Hopefully you don’t walk into class each day and say “Some of you like reading more than math so let’s discuss which one I will teach.” Knowing the strengths and weakness of lesson plan alternatives and the needs of your students are keys to successful teaching; just as knowing the strengths and weakness of team scoring alternatives and the wants (not needs) of our members are keys to customer satisfaction at Nationals.

swim4life
November 1st, 2007, 03:40 PM
It seems to make sense that the Championship Committee should responsible for, and able to, determine the appropriate scoring method. This debate is quite complicated with details and by keeping open to the entire HOD it's likely that nothing will get accomplished. And, while I'm optimistic about next year's convention resulting in a change for SCY Nationals 2009, what happens if the wording isn't quite perfect and fails again? We wait another year and try again?

I'm rather new to all of this lingo, and I'm unsure about what exactly each committee is responsible for, but there has to be a better way than a once a year shot at changing this. (Or twice if you count voting on an amendment a day later.)

My final point (on this post) about my opposition to S/M/L team scoring is an honest one, and it draws from real experience. I'm competitive, obviously, and I'm also spearheading my team's participation at Nationals - a meet that traditionally we would have 1-2 people attend. I come from what I consider a small(er) team with about 80 active members (perhaps that's medium) and I'd like to see as many of them go to Nationals as possible, regardless of speed. It's fun to travel with friends and it's truly a team bonding experience!! Right now we have about 20 people committed to going to Austin to see how high we can finish. But, if you give me the option of possibly winning a Small Team title if I take the fastest 12 people to Nationals 2009, then I'd find myself in a predicament. Right or wrong, that is the reality of the situation.

michaelmoore
November 1st, 2007, 03:56 PM
Leianne,

This issue, while hotly debated, is narrowly focused on how team scoring is conducted at 2 swim meets (USMS SCNC and USMS LCNC). And in reality only effects about a quarter, or less, of the clubs at those national championships.

You chose an interesting number - 25% of the clubs. In choosing that number it appears to me that you are trying to minimize or trivalize the importance of this debate. But lets look at what 25% of the clubs competing at nationals really are.

There were 158 clubs represented at 2007 Short Course Nationals at Federal way. 25% is about 39 Clubs. IMHO in order for a club to be at least competitive at nationals they have to have 8 swimmers - so they can field two relays. If one sorts the clubs by number of entries, the top 39 have 8 or more swimmers entered. Those swimmers total to about 1118 or 77% of the number entered athletes. In reality, 25% of the clubs represent the vast majority of swimmers who have at least a rooting interest in the award banners.



Leianne,

The House of Delegates spent more time discussing this one point then we did on our Strategic Plan, our budget, Club Development, LMSC Development or practically any other item brought before the House.


In the Worlds organizing committee, logo design and mascot took up more time that I think it should have. But we are working with volunteers, and the volunteers get excited about what interests them. Strategic Plan, budget (unless it affects these budget), Club Development, and LMSC Development are ethereal to most of the HOD members (I guess). It appears to me that for those who attend Nationals, bringing home a banner is concrete and a real subject.


michael

swim4life
November 1st, 2007, 03:59 PM
I think Karen stated brilliantly the argument for Regional/Club teams divisions. Thank you!! :)

WCM clearly has a lot of team pride and it would be great if other clubs could achieve that too by making it a goal every year to finish in the top 10 at Nationals. Right now only WCM and TOC have such a tradition.

And yes, I see the argument for then allowing S/M/L divisions to recognize even MORE teams, but for the reasons I've previously stated I'm against that, as there's more to lose than gain in that scenario. I think , actually I KNOW, even small teams can challenge for top 10 at Nationals if they encourage enough people to go. Isn't that the point? Let's keep in mind this is a competition - we don't need to be awarding every team a banner if they have even 2 good swimmers.

Rob Copeland
November 1st, 2007, 04:21 PM
In choosing that number it appears to me that you are trying to minimize or trivalize the importance of this debate.No, I’m not trying to minimize or trivialize the importance of this debate. It’s just me living the old Andrew Lang adage, "He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts... for support rather than illumination.":wine:

Karen Duggan
November 1st, 2007, 04:55 PM
Swim4Life- Currently, there is no way to determine how many swimmers would fall into the small team category, until after the entries are closed. If you had a concrete number that said "X" would put you in a small team category, would you really prevent people from swimming for your team? The others would be unattached? Or? I'm hoping I read the end of your post wrong... I know that whatever division we're in, we're all trying to do our best. Usually, about half way through the meet, we see what teams are near us (for fun, really) and try to beat them. But that's just something to do really to make the meet a little more interesting!

Out of curiosity (because I'm thinking I'm naive regarding this)- does it happen often, or is it prevalent, that teams will not permit swimmers to race at Nationals because they may not score?

I can tell you that Kerry, head coach of WCM, would never prevent anyone from swimming at Nationals. Even if "X" would put us into one category, he would not exclude anyone. Our team mission statement purports "to have the individual leave the pool with a heightened sense of fulfillment."

swim4life
November 1st, 2007, 05:22 PM
Karen,

I understand that any size division cutoff would be made after the close of entries, but my concern rests on the assumption that people would be able to predict with reasonable certainty where that cutoff is. I could be wrong here, (and any insight about the numbers from 2001-2004 are appreciated) but it seems that if, for example, the cutoff from small to medium teams over the years is between 12-15, and a team wanted to try to win the small team division, then they would bring 12 swimmers.

To be clear, I am NOT advocating discouraging (or preventing, if that's possible) swimmers from attending Nationals in order to remain in a smaller size division. However, I am pointing out that it may very well happen - this is the reality of the situation and from what I've heard, this is a big part of why the S/M/L scoring method was stopped. What I said is that I would be in a "predicament" if that were the case. Of course I want to travel with all my friends to wherever Nationals may be, but there's also a part of me that wants to win (I'm admittedly competitive).

Karen Duggan
November 1st, 2007, 05:43 PM
Swim4Life- Thanks for clarifying, and I'm glad you took my question the right way. I feared it might seem accusatory, and it wasn't meant to.

I hadn't heard that the reason for doing away with the SML was due to people trying to "beat the system". And it's probably doubtful, one, that anyone who has done that is on this forum to discuss it; and 2, would admit it!!!

So, to prevent this kind of thing from happening, it would make sense to go to a straight 1-10 placement with two categories: club vs. regional. Those are the two types of teams competing at Nationals. If you (the collective us) fall into one of those categories and you want to win, you will motivate others to join in.

Just my :2cents: (although I'm probably up near a dollar by now!)

jerry clark
November 1st, 2007, 06:46 PM
Just a peep from a North Carolina swimmer who is on championship committe and has worked with the Chairman of championship committee on the numbers for S M L categories at an actual meet. If its decided to break the teams into two groups (regional and club) as Pacific suggests, maybe just S M and L categories in each group would be workable. However, that remains to be evaluated after the deadline has passed for entering the first meet using this method. But if its decided to not divide the teams into two groups, thereby leaving them as one big group, then S M L won't work. In fact, it was the impossibility of finding fair breakpoints for dividing the teams into those three categories that caused us to go to the 1-20 places that has been in effect for the past few years.

Regardless of whether its decided to have two groups (regional and club) or leave them as one big group, it would be nice for the Chairman of the championship committee and the meet liaison (who is always a member of championship committee) to have the flexibility of choosing how many categories (probably not more than 5-6) as are needed to have teams within each category be REASONABLY close in number of swimmers so that the lopsided sizes of teams that we used to have to deal with (especially in the M category) would be done away with. As for this running up the cost of awards, I think a classy certificate issued electronically from the national office denoting the place a team earned in its category is sufficient. The recipients of such certificates could print them any size they like and on any quality of paper they like. There would be no cost to the team host for these awards.

Team competition has always been fun at all the 24 national meets I've attended and making it more fair is a worthwhile thing to strive for. Keep the conversations rolling.

swim4life
November 1st, 2007, 07:08 PM
Yes, the S/M/L scoring system was done away with for those 2 reasons: (1) the arbitrary cutoffs left some teams feeling like they got the short end of the stick, and (2) it resulted in discouraging participation.

Regardless of how you divide the size categories you're going to have someone upset and the complaining will continue on this forum. (Complaining is probably not the right word but you get what I'm saying.)

Going with the Keep It Simple idea, that's why I think the straight Regional/Club method works best and everyone is enocuraged to attend and no one feels like their team was screwed.

I like the idea of electronic certificates to keep costs down if that's really an issue. If people don't like that, then I think we wouldn't have to go all the way from 1st to 10th since there are 2 categories.

Carolyn Boak
November 1st, 2007, 08:16 PM
Rob stated that the Championship committee should determine awards. Why? Any issue that brought this much passion at convention should be decided by a rules proposal next year, discussed in committees, but decided by the whole House. It is ludicrous that 15 or 16 people, simply because they were placed on the Championship Committee, should decide such an issue. As for delegates paying more attention to this than the Strategic Plan, Finances, Club Development, etc., maybe the delegates felt those ideas were in good hands and trusted they were being taken care of, or maybe delegates felt they did not have enough input in those big idea issues. As a member of the Championship Committee over the past 14 years, I have seen many Championship meet issues appropriately put in the hands of the Championship Committee, but it is not appropriate to put all issues about those meets in that committee. Too many other people really care about those issues; because they care, they participate at Nationals and at convention. Everyone seems to agree we need a distinction between simple clubs and combined or regional clubs, but we need to agree on how to make the distinction. The issue of whether to delineate small, medium and large within the two types of clubs has able proponents on both sides.

swilliams
November 1st, 2007, 08:55 PM
Alrighty...I agree with Karen Duggan 100%! Walnnut Creek is an extended family. The Olympic Club is an extended family. We train together and race together. We encourage "everyone" to participate and have adopted members along the way to join us for social activities..."especially at nationals"...anyone want to chime in hear?...Mark G., Randy N., Jill G., Laura W., etc., etc., ect.
At the end of the day, it is NOT THE TIME YOU DID...IT IS THE TIME YOU HAD!!!
Scott:groovy:

Karen Duggan
November 1st, 2007, 09:07 PM
Uh, Scott, we're nuclear families. The behemoths are extended families, but I like your enthusiasm :drink:

PS I must've accidentally erased the message from my machine (you know like the one you left for Paul Smith?) :lmao:
Karen

swim4life
November 1st, 2007, 09:30 PM
Yes, the nuclear and extended family analogy is great! And Carolyn sums up where we currently stand on this topic very well.

So, how do you define a regional team and a club team?

I have a question - in how many LMSCs do they list both a workout group and a team on their registration card? It almost seems like that would be too easy.

Also, is that methon of definition under inclusive? I'm sure it wouldn't be over inclusive. And specifically, how does it work in Florida for Gold Coast (is that the team with various "workout groups"?)

It would be nice to keep it simple, but we also need to make sure that any "regional" teams WITHIN an LMSC (in addition to those teams that ARE the entire LMSC) are included in the regional team category. I know there was language in one proposal that spoke of "if a team was more the 45% of the LMSC..." That honestly confused me a bit, but I'm sure whoever wrote it had good reason. Can someone explain to me the dynamics of this and offer different definitions?

Thanks in advance.

Paul Smith
November 1st, 2007, 09:51 PM
Alrighty...I agree with Karen Duggan 100%! Walnnut Creek is an extended family. The Olympic Club is an extended family. We train together and race together. We encourage "everyone" to participate and have adopted members along the way to join us for social activities..."especially at nationals"...anyone want to chime in hear?...Mark G., Randy N., Jill G., Laura W., etc., etc., ect.
At the end of the day, it is NOT THE TIME YOU DID...IT IS THE TIME YOU HAD!!!
Scott:groovy:

Scott...with all due respect I would challenge you on the "closeness" if you will of what you describe at WCM and TOC and that of CMS. Although I no longer live in CO I was part of that team for many years and feel VERY proud of what we accomplished at meets, the times we organized national team training sessions, how hard we partied afterwards, how we stay in touch regardless of distance and what a great job we did of pulling people out of the woodwork to be part of the "team".

I see a lot of you writing about how great it is to be part of a workout group...Karen, I've swam with WCM and yes Kerry does an outstanding job and you have wonderful people there...but I would argue a vast majority of that group does not share the common interest of competition that our "regional" club at CMS (and AZ will soon) that kept us all sharing daily emails, phone calls, dinners on weekends, occasional workouts, etc.

Unless you have lived as part of a regional team I would challenge you to step back from the "holier than thou" attitude that some of you are fostering about being a "real team" because you "train" together...sorry but sharing a pool doesn't bring you closer...sharing a goal and working towards it as a group no matter what the geographical differences is far more of a "glue" than pool time....

If you don't believe me it PM me and I'll share some of the daily communication that is going on right now between some of us all over the country rallying folks to get ready for Austin!

Rob Copeland
November 1st, 2007, 10:18 PM
It is ludicrous that 15 or 16 people, simply because they were placed on the Championship Committee, should decide such an issue.So if it is ludicrous that 15 or 16 people should decide such an issue, then what is the number that it becomes plausible? 20? 50? 100? 200? The US Supreme Court makes decisions almost as weighty as team scoring with a committee of only 9 members. And while some of their decisions, in my opinion , are ludicrous they seem to be, on a whole , an effective decision making committee. This is in part due to the fact that they meet more than once a year and in part due to the fact that qualified people are assigned to this committee.

Based in what is being said here, a number of people are at least mildly interested in changing how we tabulate scores at nationals. What is ludicrous is we only allow ourselves one shot per year to address customer satisfaction.


maybe the delegates felt those ideas were in good hands and trusted they were being taken care of. Shouldn’t we be able to extend this same courtesy to the Championship Committee?

Karen Duggan
November 1st, 2007, 11:06 PM
Paul,
I will assume (there I go again!) that you are not suggesting that I have a holier than thou attitude. I would think you know me well enough to know that is not me, nor is it my intent.
As you are writing from a regional team perspective I am writing from a team perspective. I will respectfully disagree that a pool doesn't make a team. The heck it doesn't. I can go into any one of five workouts during the day and know at least half the people working out! And I've been on the one day a week plan for the past 8 months! The people I haven't met at the pool, I've met at meets. (I really try to avoid that 5:30am group! They're grumpy! They get in, get'rdone, and get out to go to work. But I digress.)
It also seems to me that while you've swam with us a handful of times (and you are always welcome) that you are not at all qualified to have an opinion that a "vast majority of our team does not share an interest in competition." Because I actually know most of my teammates very well, I can tell you flat out that you're wrong. Many don't compete at Nationals for all of the same reasons most Masters don't compete: time, money, family. If you'll recall all of the Nationals in Santa Clara we had a tremendous showing. It was an hour away, cheap (no hotels, airfare, or meals), and family could even come watch.
Plus, I know you've swum in college, and probably age-group although I don't know that for sure. Are you going to tell me that a college team that trained in different states and in different pools with different coaches has the same camraderie as the college team that trains on the same campus? Come on. If that's the case, what's the point of swimming for a college? College students could just take classes via the Internet. Natalie Coughlin could have lived in say, Florida, took classes at Cal via the Internet, trained in FL, and swam for CAL! College swimmers don't care about swim team pride, do they? Ridiculous. Just look at this forum alone. How many UT swimmers are out there, anyway? You all are just as feisty as ever regarding UT. Same thing with USMS teams (like WCM). The point is: teams (college and otherwise) do swim in the same pool!

I will not argue (as that would be absurd because I don't know) that people are planning to meet in Austin, swimming for CMS, and that they're getting pumped communicating regularly, etc... however, no matter the circumstances, you CANNOT convince me that a group that actually gets in the same pool day in and day out TOGETHER, is the same kind of a team that CMS is. They are different, and that is a fact.
So, someone asked or didn't (!), my definition of a club team: a team where the registered members list the club team as their team, and don't swim under any other name for any other meets (including Nationals). A club team does not need to combine with any other team to form relays. A club team is run by one or more coaches out of one facility in one city. That is my definition. And, IMHO regarding USMS, if you're not a club team, you are a regional team.

Oh, and a club team doesn't need to pull anybody out of the woodwork. You simply look at the next lane over and say, "Hey, are going to Nationals?"

swim4life
November 2nd, 2007, 01:27 AM
I actually completely understand the purpose of regional teams and am very supportive of their existence, as I believe everyone participating in this discussion is. Let's not get too caught up in the semantics and terminology of it all. I know one person (maybe Meg?) previously said that at the convention a lot of the people belonging to regional teams felt as Paul seems too, that the club teams are snubbing them. I don't really see that, but perhaps that's because I'm on a club team. I don't know.

We all, the club teams, are saying is that we don't want to compete against the regional teams. Drawing from the college swim team analogy (that I used 4 months ago in this thread), it would be similar to colleges competing against each other throughout the season, and then at NCAAs, Cal, Stanford, USC, etc. combine to form Team Pac-10. If this were the case, it's simply not fair to expect even the best colleges, UT, Auburn, etc. to compete against Team Pac-10. The reason Pac-10 formed is really irrelevent at this point.

Karen, regarding your definition of a club team - I see some problems with it, and this is (I believe) where the HOD got stuck:

Yes a club team has registered members under its name (and its name only), and competes together year round, but I believe there are some regional teams that fit this definition too. Right? Someone mentioned that San Diego Masters is a regional team (Michael Moore, I beieve), but do its members compete under SDM all year? I think so???

Regarding the qualification of having one facility, I've already mentioned the problem with this. Most teams, such as mine, use public pools that are unavailable during certain times. Therefore, we have to go across the city to train at another pool on the weekends because the city insists on having lap swim at our "home" pool during weekend mornings. (We have a 6 lane, 25 yard pool so unfortunately it can't accomodate both a swim team and lap swim simultaneously.) So, by your definition, my team would be a regional team, which clearly is not the case.

Perhaps if a team had 2 workouts at different pools at the same time they could be considered a regional team, but I see some potential problems with this too.

And BTW, I was thinking about that quote referred to earlier in regards to regional team, "I know it when I see it." There could always be provision in the language of the definition that allows some leeway to the Championship Committee (or some committee) to make a ruling on unique team formats. I'm not sure how Team TYR is formed, but it's definitely not a traditional team. Perhaps at the end of the proposal it should say, "(definition)...or when deemed by the (blank) Committee." There would be the same ability to contest the determintion, of course. Just thinking out loud...

Carolyn Boak
November 2nd, 2007, 09:56 AM
In response to Rob wanting to extend a courtesy to the Championship Committee and let them decide this issue: Multiple old rules have been taken out of the Rule Book and put under the purview of the Championship Committee (appropriately so), such as figuring out NQT's, setting surcharges, etc. I believe that, philosophically,this issue (partly because it was already brought to the House, debated there, and one proposal about it garnered over 60% of the vote) needs to be brought back to the House to be changed. Furthermore, right now club scoring is a Rule, and any "Rule" cannot be changed unless and until it goes through the Rules Committee on a "Rules" year. In addition, a subcommittee of the Championship Committee, asked to review the rules governing national championship meets, did that review, and decided that section (Article 104) needs to remain in the RuleBook. So again, let's decide about definitions and whether we want size divisions also.

MegSmath
November 2nd, 2007, 10:54 AM
In response to Rob wanting to extend a courtesy to the Championship Committee and let them decide this issue: Multiple old rules have been taken out of the Rule Book and put under the purview of the Championship Committee (appropriately so), such as figuring out NQT's, setting surcharges, etc. I believe that, philosophically,this issue (partly because it was already brought to the House, debated there, and one proposal about it garnered over 60% of the vote) needs to be brought back to the House to be changed. Furthermore, right now club scoring is a Rule, and any "Rule" cannot be changed unless and until it goes through the Rules Committee on a "Rules" year. In addition, a subcommittee of the Championship Committee, asked to review the rules governing national championship meets, did that review, and decided that section (Article 104) needs to remain in the RuleBook. So again, let's decide about definitions and whether we want size divisions also.

Carolyn, it's not often that I disagree with you but I don't understand why we have a Championship Committee if we don't charge them with running the championships. Yes, it is currently in the rule book that the HOD decides on team scoring. I think what should happen next year is that we change that rule to say that it's up to the Championship Committee, the same way that we changed it a few years ago that we leave it up to Championship to determine NQTs. Championship could be busy from now until next convention coming up with a plan for changing team scoring. It would be finalized (hopefully) at convention. I bet that would be one of the best attended Championship meetings ever! People not on the committee would have the opportunity to provide input at that meeting. Then whatever resolution Championship comes up with would be included in the committee minutes, which the HOD has to vote to approve. If there was still disagreement over Championship's decision, I have no doubt that that would be pulled for discussion and hotly debated.

To Karen: I appreciate that you conceded a few posts back that the regional model works well for more rural states. It's clear to me that the regional teams have agreed to separate scoring. I thought we had all agreed that (or at least were paying lip service to) neither model is better, they're just different. I am happy for you that you have such a wonderful relationship with your Walnut Creek teammates. I think I have a pretty wonderful relationship with my Swim Kentucky teammates too. I see them quite a bit more often than just once a year at nationals. I have been to weddings and birthday parties of teammates in Louisville and elsewhere (thankfully, no funerals yet!). I am also in frequent email and phone contact. So it sounds like we're both blessed with great teammates!

Karen Duggan
November 2nd, 2007, 11:39 AM
Good Morning,
Swim4: I missed that college analogy before, sorry to rehash...

I don't think that my definition is "the" definition for a club team, that's just how I perceive it. And I don't want anyone to think that I speak for Pacific. I am only giving my opinion. While I am the Pacific secretary, all I do is take notes :) Michael can speak for Pacific, and he usually does :wine:
As far as the one facility goes... There have been many times in the past 14years, since I started Masters, that WCM has had to go to different pools to workout (local college, local rec team, other city pool) because our pool was shut down for whatever reason; that being said we don't have workout groups at these different pools. We all went "together". I don't think because we had to find other facilities that we are suddenly a regional team, and in fact, all of the other pools were in Walnut Creek.
Meg: Thanks for your thoughtful response. I hope I am not coming across to anyone that my team is the way things should be done. Far from it. I will admit that we are extremely lucky to live where we do, in that swimming is a very popular sport around here (mostly during the summer though). Kerry is an A1 coach, and our assistants are great too. Because we do all work out at one facility it easily forges that day to day camraderie, etc.
I am not saying that there isn't camraderie, long time friendships, etc. with Regional Teams. In general, swimmers are social aquatic animals, we would make friends swimming in swamps! I consider Karlyn a friend although I see her only at meets, and when she's visiting Eric's home nearby. Another girl Carrie, who used to live in WC, now swims for Almaden (near San Jose) and I only see her at meets... anyway.
It seems to me at this point that the most forward direction would be to define a club team. If it's not a club team then it's a regional team. Whether there is SML I really don't care, but I do think that the club and regional need to be separated.
One more thought I had last night while trying to fall asleep: Why are the Regional teams "against" two separate divisions at Nationals? Why do they care? If anything, taking out WCM and TOC, and whatever other club team places in the TT at Nationals, would leave room for two more Regional teams to be in the Top Ten. And conversely, having a club team division would get at least 5 more club teams into a Top 10.
Just more ramblings.
And Paul thanks for the PM :smooch: (I know Laura doesn't check this site so I feel comfortable giving you a virtual smooch :)

swilliams
November 2nd, 2007, 11:56 AM
Paul,
I love ya big guy but, you have not swam with us in any of "our" workouts. If you have, than you would see the closeness and comraderie (smack talk, encouragements, etc.). Those of you who have joined in our workouts...go ahead and speak up...:) Go OC!
Scott

Paul Smith
November 2nd, 2007, 12:31 PM
Scott & Karen....I understand that there are many clubs that are very close-nit...I've also seen LOTS of clubs that have a very large and diverse group of swimmers and many don't even know folks beyond the practice they attend and more specifically the lane or two they train in...my argument comes from the folks judging regional teams as not have very similar types of relationships and in many cases far more so.

As for the argument that a group that gets in the pool day in and day out having more of a relationship than a regional team preparing for nationals that wold depend on the club. For example Sun Devil masters has 200+ swimmers, I train with them 2-3x a week...there will be maybe 6 from that team going to nationals...for more interest in that club to train for La Jolla and other open water events...however when you look at myself, Liz Hobbs, Brad Herring, Greg Rhodenbaugh, Sam Perry, Henry Clark, Rowdy Gaines, Scott Shake, Monica Bailey, Laura Winslow, etc. etc. we all have the same goals, mindset and focus and although we don't train together often we are a "club".

So...bottom line is lets not judge to much in this our different approaches to training, clubs, competing and focus on what this thread is hopefully about finding a simple solution that creates a competitive situation for all of us with as much fairness as we can.

PS: Karen....I'm actually fine with having 2 divisions if thats what the majority of folks would consider the best approach....never said I was "against" it but do think if we went the most "simpe" route it would be one division w/ S,M, L....but I love a good debate regardless!

MegSmath
November 2nd, 2007, 01:45 PM
I will admit that we are extremely lucky to live where we do, in that swimming is a very popular sport around here (mostly during the summer though). Kerry is an A1 coach, and our assistants are great too. Because we do all work out at one facility it easily forges that day to day camraderie, etc.

Yes, you ARE lucky! You live in a great part of the country, have many great facilities, and most important, you do have a great coach. Kerry probably doesn't know this, but he has indirectly helped my distance freestyle a great deal! A swimmer who shall not be named has shared some of his workouts with me, and they have made a ton of difference!


It seems to me at this point that the most forward direction would be to define a club team. If it's not a club team then it's a regional team. Whether there is SML I really don't care, but I do think that the club and regional need to be separated.

Agreed, but the terminology needs tweaking. Swim Kentucky is a club too. It may seem like semantics to some, but by calling your team a club team, and mine something else, it implies that yours is the real deal and mine is not. Not sure this is as important to others as it is to me. And not sure we will ever all agree on the terminology. Maybe "local" vs. "regional"?


One more thought I had last night while trying to fall asleep: Why are the Regional teams "against" two separate divisions at Nationals? Why do they care? If anything, taking out WCM and TOC, and whatever other club team places in the TT at Nationals, would leave room for two more Regional teams to be in the Top Ten. And conversely, having a club team division would get at least 5 more club teams into a Top 10.

We are NOT against separate divisions! That's what I've been trying to say. What I didn't want to see happen was having to go up against, say, PNA when Nationals are in Federal Way, and we only had 7 swimmers there and they had 150. If we go with separate divisions, and then S-M-L within them, then I'm happy enough. Then we are competing against other small regional teams, and we have a fair shot.

I think there's actually a fair amount of agreement here on what we want to do. Just not as much agreement on definitions and implementation.

Leianne C
November 2nd, 2007, 02:33 PM
Hi,

The original submission of L2 by Pacific included a definition of a regional team which everyone said was too complicated.

It was trying to address the idea that the club drew from a large amount of the swimmers in the LMSC region and did not have common management (single board of directors, one set of coaches, one set of pools), but rather was a group of independent entities coming together for competition at Nationals or other meets outside thier LMSC.

Here is what was included in the original L2 submission:
"For competition at National Championship Meets, a “Regional Team” will consist of those meet entrants that are registered with a club that

(i) includes 40% or more of the LMSC’s registered members, and

(ii) does not have centralized management and a single operating account to pay coaches and other expenses such as pool rental fees."

Given the discussions on this forum, maybe we should see if we can define what is a "local" team as opposed to deciding what is a "regional" team. Let's try to see beyond the words that are used in this discussion, because if we get the principles down, then we can decide on what terms to use in presenting a proposal to the Rules Committee.

I think the definition of Regional team is drafted broadly enough to cover the regional teams (like GAJA in Georgia and Metro in New York) that do not include all swimmers in their LMSC, but I am not sure we will be able to set up a definition for local clubs that would work.

If we can set up a workable definition, then a club would fall in to one category or the other for its competition at Nationals. Assuming a local and regional team division, then maybe a definition of a local team could be as follows:

"LOCAL CLUB DIVISION. A club will compete at a National Championship meet in the local club division if it meets the following conditions:

(i) its members live in a limited geographic area (with no more than 10%[???] of its members residing outside the LMSC where the club's address is located); and

(ii) it has a single board of directors or other management structure that is responsible for acquiring facilities and paying coaching staff from the club's operating budget."

This is a redraft of the concepts originally submitted, but it does cover the idea of small geographic draw for members, and single management of the swimmers activities, coaches, dues and facilities.....I do not know if this definition will work, as I do not know how the regional teams with workout groups do their operations, and whether each workout group operates and budgets money separately for their pools and coaches.

Please feel free to edit -- the idea is to come up with a workable definition.....no pride of authorship here!

Leianne
^^^

jerry clark
November 2nd, 2007, 02:47 PM
Its hard for people from places with lots of clubs which have regular on deck coaches to comprehend the situation of multiple workout groups (only 25 in NC with several of those having 3 or less members) which are spread widely apart in a large (ask Mel about NC!) state and few if any of them having a full time coach. We in NC very much enjoy the bonding we experience (however brief it may be: Hi, I'm Jery, your relay partner today) among ourselves during the 4 or 5 day national meets and we all understand and appreciate the bonding of people who train together on a daily basis. Furthermore, we do not pick and choose who goes to nationals; we only find out who is going after the entry deadline has passed. As to the largeness of registrations of statewide teams, those who stay at home cannot garner points. See how few NEM people go regularly to meets.

The reason I'm supportive of Michael's proposal of Regional and Club teams and dividing each of them into subgroups by size of attendance is that there probably is truth to the postulation that the statewide teams with large registrations will have more fast swimmers who are able to gather lots of points at a national meet than do the smaller clubs and furthermore, its more likely that those faster swimmers will the ones attending national meets. This may be the reason statewide teams have fared well at meets even though they have a small number of people present.

There are lots of ways to look at the numbers (number of swimmers registered, number of swimmers actually at the meet, number of years/meets being investigated for information, etc.) and getting one's arms around a whole lot of information is difficult for coming up with specific answers to the question of the best way to have team scoring. Esther has done a super job of assembling lots of info but bringing it to a simple conclusion isn't easy. One thing though is clear: its geography that governs the number of participants on the various teams at nationals.

MegSmath
November 2nd, 2007, 02:57 PM
Good job of pulling everyone back in to what we need to do, Leianne!


Given the discussions on this forum, maybe we should see if we can define what is a "local" team as opposed to deciding what is a "regional" team. Let's try to see beyond the words that are used in this discussion, because if we get the principles down, then we can decide on what terms to use in presenting a proposal to the Rules Committee.

I agree, and thank you for indulging my preference for local team rather than club team. We do need to define both local and regional teams. That was one of the big holes in the legislative part of L02 that prevented me from voting for it.


Assuming a local and regional team division, then maybe a definition of a local team could be as follows:

"LOCAL CLUB DIVISION. A club will compete at a National Championship meet in the local club division if it meets the following conditions:

(i) its members live in a limited geographic area (with no more than 10%[???] of its members residing outside the LMSC where the club's address is located); and

(ii) it has a single board of directors or other management structure that is responsible for acquiring facilities and paying coaching staff from the club's operating budget."

I think (i) is OK. The problem is (ii). A lot of clubs don't have any paid coaching staff. Maybe it would be better to just say "it has a single management structure that is responsible for acquiring facilities and/or providing coaching."


I do not know how the regional teams with workout groups do their operations, and whether each workout group operates and budgets money separately for their pools and coaches.

I can only speak for Kentucky, but yes, our separate workout groups do gave separate operatons and budgets. I'm with Wildcat Masters at the University of Kentucky, and our team is an auxiliary program of UK Athletics. They provide us with pool time and pay our coaches. We have separate officers too. Some of the other groups have much less formality. They just show up and swim together at the local Y, most likely with no coach on deck. And of course some of our swimmers have no group to swim with at all, like the famous guy in the cabin in western Kentucky. His name is actually Keith Shepherd, and he usually works out with the closest USA team (and he is also a member of USA Swimming too).

Thanks for getting the ball rolling again, Leianne.

Leianne C
November 2nd, 2007, 03:22 PM
Hi

Meg, your point about how informal many of the workout groups are (in some of them, people just show up and swim), and Jerry Clark's point about how many of the groups in North Carolina don't even have coaches is what makes me think that it may be really hard to define a "local" club.

It may wind up being easier to define a regional club, and say that if you are not a regional club then you must, by default, be in a "local club".....but I am more than happy to try defining a local club.

Leianne
^^^

swim4life
November 2nd, 2007, 10:50 PM
I agree with Leianne on this. It is only necessary to define one term, and if a team does not fall with that category, then they are automatically in the other category. This is how many laws are written - trust me I know.

The problem with offering 2 definitions is that there will be some clubs who meet both or neither definition. By offering one definition, we avoid this.

I'm not clear why this was an issue for people at convention???

MegSmath
November 3rd, 2007, 08:03 PM
Article 201.2: Member clubs are organizations or groups of permanent character currently registered with USMS through its LMSCs and that actively promote and participate in Masters swimming.

So currently there is one and only one type of club in USMS. If we say we have two types of clubs, and then define only one type, to me that is incomplete. I think the hangup is trying to make an ironclad definition, going wild with the percentages, geographic radius, etc. We should just say that a regional club is composed of swimmers from throughout an LMSC, training in different pools in the LMSC, but all competing for the same club. Then a local club is composed primarily of swimmers who train in the same pool, or in several pools in close geographic proximity, and who always compete for the same club. Is it iron clad? No. Will it satisfy most situations? Yes. And as long as we have an avenue for appeal, then I think we'll have few problems. I doubt many clubs will contest their designation.

Karen Duggan
November 4th, 2007, 03:54 PM
Hi,
Sorry I didn't comment sooner. Spent late Friday night/Sat morn with my daughter in the ER. Really sick. Still sick today, but at least the fever's down...
Leianne, I think it would be easier for us to define a local team because we're in one (that's what I tried to do, and if it isn't a local team then it's a regional one). Meg, I understand why it would seem we need to define each, however, we are defining the second by saying it isn't the first! :) Hee hee. Semantics, gotta love it.
I like Meg's definition. It's very basic, but a great place to start. This doesn't need to be complicated. I think what would be nice is to try to come up with a club definition, implement it at a Nationals and see what happens. Perhaps some teams (say in FL) will find a loophole or???
And while it may seem that we (or some of us) were off-task with our debating this issue, I think that we're having a valuable discussion to reiterate concerns all around. It does appear obvious that everyone knows what someone "means" when they say club vs. regional, we just need to define it- which we all agree is why we're here.
Looking at 201.2 that seems the logical place to start... Maybe combine it with the definition of an LMSC? Because if the clubs are registered THROUGH the LMSC then how can a club BE an LMSC?! Does that make any sense what I'm trying to say?
I think if nothing else, a nap is in order for me!

Rob Copeland
November 4th, 2007, 05:40 PM
Because if the clubs are registered THROUGH the LMSC then how can a club BE an LMSC?! Easy answer. A club can NOT be an LMSC. A club is a member of USMS, just like each of us is a member of USMS. An LMSC is a Local Masters Swimming Committee, which a committee of USMS.

Carolyn Boak
November 5th, 2007, 08:56 AM
1. Meg, the Championship Committee had this discussion about team scoring over multiple years and did not come up with a proposal that everyone could agree upon. Pacific, because it is a Rule now, could take it upon themselves to propose a rule change. If all the rules governing Nationals were decided by the Championsjip Committee, a person (or LMSC) who had a good idea would have to go through the Ch. Committee, rather than going through Rules. The Championship committee could then get bogged down on discussion of one item, an item which does not matter as much as other items in actually running the meet, or helping hosts run the meet. Keeping Article 104 in the RuleBook allows any LMSC or other committee to feel they have some power to affect that meet. Taking Article 104 out of the Rule Book would give Rules too little to do,I imagine, and, as noted above, tie up the Championship Committee in a discussion in which many people outside the committee would also like to participate.
2. At convention, the Rules Committee seemed to agree that a regional club was one where parts of the club competed under different names in regional meets, so I think we should keep that as part of the definition of the regional club division. Then we need to add some geographic wording so that we do not have a Holmes Lumberjack team (where members were recruited from throughout the US and did stay members of that club) from competing against clubs whose large majority live close enough to the club center to work out with the club at least occasionally.
3. In defenrence to Paul, I do not see him saying we should not have two divisions. I read him as saying both types of clubs are equally good, but they are different and it is fine to divide them for purposes of scoring only.

Karen Duggan
November 5th, 2007, 11:50 AM
Rob,
Isn't Pacific Northwest an LMSC? And don't they compete under that name? What about Illinois Masters?
Just curious...

Leianne C
November 5th, 2007, 01:03 PM
Hi,

To Carolyn's point #2, yes, Rules Committee did agree that a regional division was an appropriate proposal. In addition, the regional team definition that had the most support ("do you always swim for the same club listed on your USMS registration card, or do you swim for another entity when the meet is inside your LMSC?") was proposed by members of Rules and Legislation.

As I recall, Rules Committee members suggested adding language about a regional team being one where it competed within its LMSC as separate "entities" because they indicated that the word "team" as used in the USMS rulebook often has the meaning of a relay team.

However, I also was told that while a "club" is how everyone is registered within USMS, a "team" is the actual group of swimmers that represents a club at any competition.....

How's that for more semantics?

Any way, that is why the L2 proposal discussed divisions for regional "teams" and club "teams".

The "club team" label has caused a lot of misunderstanding I think, and so maybe it needs to be very clear that the proposal covers regional teams (made up of members from a club that competes as separate entities within its LMSC but as one team for Nationals), and local teams (made up of teams representing all the other types of clubs within USMS). As noted, if a team thinks it has been put in the wrong division, then there needs to be a process to appeal that classification.

Like Karen, I would like to understand better how the LMSCs that have what we are calling "regional teams" actually operate so that whatever rule is proposed it will be workable.

Leianne
^^^

Leianne C
November 5th, 2007, 01:17 PM
Hi Karen,

Here is information from the USMS website about PNA -- from the summary page that pops up when you click on the map under "Local Programs" (information listed is from 2004-2005):

PNA LMSC Size: 1,085 members, 1 club at the close of the 2004-2005 Season

Here's the info for Illinois:
ILLINOIS LMSC Size: 1,467 members, 11 clubs at the close of the 2004-2005 Season

You can also check the number of clubs that other LMSCs have --Here is what is listed for Pacific:

PACIFIC LMSC Size: 9,641 members, 104 clubs at the close of the 2004-2005 Season

Leianne
^^^

Rob Copeland
November 5th, 2007, 01:18 PM
Rob,
Isn't Pacific Northwest an LMSC? And don't they compete under that name? What about Illinois Masters?
Just curious...The Pacific Northwest LMSC (PN-36) is an LMSC. The Pacific Northwest Association of Masters Swimmers (PNA) is a registered club. The Illinois LMSC (IL-21) is an LMSC. Team Illinois Masters (TIM) is a registered club. USMS members who swim in competitions, always represent their club (or they swim unattached) and never their LMSC.

For example, I could register a club in Georgia called “Pacific Masters” and I could compete as Pacific Masters, but the Pacific Masters club in Georgia and the Pacific LMSC would be 2 distinct entities. Swimmers registered in the Pacific LMSC could not also be members of my Pacific Masters club.

All clear, right?
Still curious???

MegSmath
November 6th, 2007, 09:38 AM
1. Meg, the Championship Committee had this discussion about team scoring over multiple years and did not come up with a proposal that everyone could agree upon. Pacific, because it is a Rule now, could take it upon themselves to propose a rule change. If all the rules governing Nationals were decided by the Championsjip Committee, a person (or LMSC) who had a good idea would have to go through the Ch. Committee, rather than going through Rules. The Championship committee could then get bogged down on discussion of one item, an item which does not matter as much as other items in actually running the meet, or helping hosts run the meet. Keeping Article 104 in the RuleBook allows any LMSC or other committee to feel they have some power to affect that meet. Taking Article 104 out of the Rule Book would give Rules too little to do,I imagine, and, as noted above, tie up the Championship Committee in a discussion in which many people outside the committee would also like to participate.

Carolyn, we may just have to agree to disagree here! I think the Rules Committee is quite capable of coming up with a good rule. I did not have a problem with their portion of L02. The problem with Rules handling it is that they can only consider changes every other year--if we don't get it right in Rules in 2008, then we can't tweak it again till 2010. It is unfortunate that Championship has not been able to come to agreement, but I still think that's the proper venue for dealing with this. Maybe they're trying for unanimity, when that isn't possible? Maybe they're overcomplicating it? I don't know, since I haven't been able to attend a Championship meeting, except for the bid meeting, in the last few years.


2. At convention, the Rules Committee seemed to agree that a regional club was one where parts of the club competed under different names in regional meets, so I think we should keep that as part of the definition of the regional club division. Then we need to add some geographic wording so that we do not have a Holmes Lumberjack team (where members were recruited from throughout the US and did stay members of that club) from competing against clubs whose large majority live close enough to the club center to work out with the club at least occasionally.

When you have a regional team that breaks up into workout group competition within the LMSC, then that's easy. That's what we do in Kentucky, and I believe New England does that as well. But not all do that (maybe North Carolina, for example?). Clearly the Lumberjack team would have been a regional club, as would Team TYR. I agree that we need a geographic parameter, but am not crazy about defining a specific radius, mainly because it would be cumbersome to administer, but also because a reasonable radius would vary, depending on the part of the country. I think the wording should be flexible enough to allow whoever determines whether a team is regional or local to make a reasonable decision, and not be forced to pigeonhole a team into an inappropriate category.


3. In defenrence to Paul, I do not see him saying we should not have two divisions. I read him as saying both types of clubs are equally good, but they are different and it is fine to divide them for purposes of scoring only.

I agree with you here. I don't want to speak for Paul, but for myself, I do not object to two divisions, as long as within those divisions we have S-M-L.

Paul Smith
November 6th, 2007, 11:19 AM
Carolyn,
You and Meg are correct I have never had a problem with two divisions as it seems most of the discontent is coming from clubs who feel it is not a level playing field going up against regional teams...and I don't disagree....just don't tell me were any less of a team or shouldn't be allowed to compete wit the people I want to swim with!

My goal would be to create the simplest system possible that increases participation and makes the event enjoyable for the most amount of people. Cut out anything that creates paperwork and bureaucracy!

Rob Copeland
November 6th, 2007, 11:40 AM
I don't want to speak for Paul, but for myself, I do not object to two divisions, as long as within those divisions we have S-M-L.Just so I understand; does “S-M-L” stand for “S”mith teams – “M”ega teams – “L”ocal teams?

I know Paul will try to win at any cost, but having his very own division seems a bit extreme, even for him.:rolleyes:

MegSmath
November 6th, 2007, 11:45 AM
Just so I understand; does “S-M-L” stand for “S”mith teams – “M”ega teams – “L”ocal teams?

I know Paul will try to win at any cost, but having his very own division seems a bit extreme, even for him.:rolleyes:

You are close, Rob. M stands for "Meg's team"!

Leianne C
November 6th, 2007, 02:04 PM
Hi,

I am unfamiliar with Lumberjack, but as I understand it, Team Tyr would NOT be a "regional team" -- Paul, please correct me if I am wrong, but they always compete as Team Tyr, wherever the meet is held?

If that is the case, then under the format we have been discussing, they are a "local team" of swimmers representing their club, Team Tyr--even though they draw from all over the country (I am using "Local team" as the replacement term for the tem "Club team"). As a local team they would be scored at Nationals in the same division as other "local temas" like The Olympic Club, Woodlands and Walnut Creek.

This result is why Carolyn is attempting to come up with a geographic limitation on where club members actually live.

To Paul's concern: Nothing in the L2 proposal says that he cannot swim with his college buddies or with Arizona or Colorado -- he just needs to register with the club he will swim with and then the team of competitors that the club sends to Nationals will have thier points scored in either the Regional Team (if he joins Arizona or Colorado), or the "local team" division (if he joins his college buddies or Team Tyr).....

S-M-L is small, medium and large (like t-shirt sizes). Since the most common reasons to dump the S-M-L division have been that (i) the break points are arbitrary, and (ii) people would game the system, why not just specify those break points up front?

Then everyone knows with certainty how they will fit in, and the break points will not be arbitrary, they will be published. As Scott and other forum participants have said, if a coach can get more people, great, and if they can't, then they know what division they will be in.

What about small = 10 swimmers or less (can field two relay teams)
medium = 11-24 swimmers
large = 25 or more swimmers (if people want, this division can also be called "megateams" or "superteams")

I know Jerry Clark has reviewed attendance at recent Nationals and will have some input on this topic......

Leianne
^^^

MegSmath
November 6th, 2007, 02:23 PM
as I understand it, Team Tyr would NOT be a "regional team" -- Paul, please correct me if I am wrong, but they always compete as Team Tyr, wherever the meet is held?

If that is the case, then under the format we have been discussing, they are a "local team" of swimmers representing their club, Team Tyr--even though they draw from all over the country (I am using "Local team" as the replacement term for the tem "Club team"). As a local team they would be scored at Nationals in the same division as other "local temas" like The Olympic Club, Woodlands and Walnut Creek.

And that is exactly why the "if you always compete for the same club you're a local club" model won't work. It sounded great when I first heard it, but the more I thought about it, I realized that it wasn't quite there. If a club that draws swimmers from all over the country isn't the definition of a regional club, then I don't know what is! If we're going to define two classes of clubs, then we should just say that a local club operates primarily out of one pool and a regional club consists of members who train in different pools throughout an LMSC or even the country. Past a certain point, it doesn't matter if the people are 100 miles apart or 1000 miles apart.



This result is why Carolyn is attempting to come up with a geographic limitation on where club members actually live.

I do not disagree with Carolyn that there needs to be a geographic component, as stated above. But specifying a radius is too cumbersome.


S-M-L is small, medium and large (like t-shirt sizes). Since the most common reasons to dump the S-M-L division have been that (i) the break points are arbitrary, and (ii) people would game the system, why not just specify those break points up front?

Then everyone knows with certainty how they will fit in, and the break points will not be arbitrary, they will be published. As Scott and other forum participants have said, if a coach can get more people, great, and if they can't, then they know what division they will be in.

What about small = 10 swimmers or less (can field two relay teams)
medium = 11-24 swimmers
large = 25 or more swimmers (if people want, this division can also be called "megateams" or "superteams")

It makes no difference to me whether the divisions are made before or after the entry deadline. I think the dividing lines you've proposed make a lot of sense. In our case, we would still have to wait until after the entry deadline to find out what size division we wind up in, because we never know who's going to enter the meet ahead of time! I am always surprised when the meet rosters come out at who has entered. Of course, Mark Gill and I are usually there, but the rest are a mystery, not only in quantity but identity!

Swimmer Bill
November 6th, 2007, 02:35 PM
(((sigh)))

...the old "Holmes Lumber Jax" argument? again??

Using that club as an example of the evils of recruiting and all that is wrong in the world of USMS Nationals club scoring is just a bit out of context. There's a whole story behind the group's assembly for the 1988 world championships, and their success was staged to boost an effort to build a swimming facility in Jacksonville, Florida.

If USMS wanted to do something to change the rules following 1988, we've had almost two decades to do it. The same dozen people who were mad about it in 1988 are still mad about it now, and need to let it go.

:dedhorse:

swim4life
November 6th, 2007, 02:58 PM
LOL, I tried to figure out how to quote but I'm afraid I'll mess it up, so...

Meg, you said, "I don't want to speak for Paul, but for myself, I do not object to two divisions, as long as within those divisions we have S-M-L."

I still don't understand why you wouldn't support 2 divisions WITHOUT S/M/L. The downfalls of S/M/L team scoring have been outlines, and they seem like common sense to me. Can someone please try to convince me why S/M/L offers more advantages than problems? I would like to actually read specific comments - other than "it's the most simple" or "it's the best." And please, whoever decides to take this challenge, please keep in mind we are trying to encourage participation (among other goals). Thanks in advance!

Regaridng geographical limits, I agree there should be SOMETHING. I agree that a specific radius would not work for various reasons. But, I believe it was Leianne who mentioned that 90% (for example) of a team's registered members should live within the LMSC. I think that is completely appropriate.

As far as Team TYR. Their members can actually switch teams from 1 meet to another. I've always been confused as to how this happens, and what their USMS cards look like (maybe Julie Heather could answer?), but I know that one of their swimmers switched from Team TYR to SCAQ to TYR to SCAQ within 2 months of meets last year. How does that work?

Finally, I agree with Meg in that there needs to be some leeway for "reasonable" judgment calls in determining when a team should fall into 1 of the 2 categories. As was evidenced, there are so many kinds of teams and workout groups, we need to allow for someone to employ the "we know it when we see it" perspective, and let the team challenge the ruling if they don't like it.

But, I like like the guidelines you are all coming up with, as long as there's that element of freedom for whoever is making that determination. And also, and the end of the day, if Team TYR ends up being a Local/Club team, then like Barry Bonds, everyone will know how to read those final results.*

Karen Duggan
November 6th, 2007, 03:05 PM
The can of worms needs some stirring I think.

How about this? Heh, heh, heh.

Separate the divisions at Nationals: Regional Team vs. Local Club Team

Within these two divisions have SML. Use the numbers Leianne suggested, or something similar. But THEN, if any team is excluding a member from competing at Nationals (because they are trying to fit into a predetermined division) then that team should have sanctions against them, and that swimmer (being excluded) should have the opportunity to swim at Nationals unattached.

I await my doom :agree:

MegSmath
November 6th, 2007, 03:21 PM
LOL, I tried to figure out how to quote but I'm afraid I'll mess it up, so...

It's not too tough. When you read a message, in the bottom right corner is a button that says "Quote." Just click it! That will quote the entirety of the message. To pick and choose what you want to quote, insert the quote and /quote commands before and after what you want to quote. (It took me awhile to figure it out too.)


Meg, you said, "I don't want to speak for Paul, but for myself, I do not object to two divisions, as long as within those divisions we have S-M-L."

I still don't understand why you wouldn't support 2 divisions WITHOUT S/M/L. The downfalls of S/M/L team scoring have been outlines, and they seem like common sense to me. Can someone please try to convince me why S/M/L offers more advantages than problems? I would like to actually read specific comments - other than "it's the most simple" or "it's the best." And please, whoever decides to take this challenge, please keep in mind we are trying to encourage participation (among other goals). Thanks in advance!

I thought I did explain it! But to repeat, and to use the recent SC championships as an example, I don't think it's fair or encourages participation for my seven-member team to go up against PNA's 100+ member team. I have heard horror stories about how swimmers were discouraged from participating because they'd bump their team into another size category, but it doesn't concern me in the slightest. Largely because I don't see how it could have happened with the divisions being set after entries close. You can probably predict that you're going to be small if you're only taking a few, or that you're going to be large if you're taking a lot, but if you're taking somewhere in between, you really don't know. In Indy in 2004, the only time SKY was anything but a small team, we had about the same number of men and women on our team, but our women wound up as a medium team and our men as a large team (could have been the other way around). I don't remember if we were large or medium combined, but I do know that we didn't even place in the top 3 of whichever division we were in (probably large). I've also never heard of a specific example of a team who perpetrated such an act or a swimmer who was victimized. And, as I've said before, we don't even know who's going until the entries close, so how could we discourage people from entering?


Regaridng geographical limits, I agree there should be SOMETHING. I agree that a specific radius would not work for various reasons. But, I believe it was Leianne who mentioned that 90% (for example) of a team's registered members should live within the LMSC. I think that is completely appropriate.

Huh? I betcha 99% of SKY's members live in the Kentucky LMSC. So now you're saying we're a local/club team after all? The issue is not that you live in the LMSC, but whether you live in close proximity to the club you're competing for.


As far as Team TYR. Their members can actually switch teams from 1 meet to another. I've always been confused as to how this happens, and what their USMS cards look like (maybe Julie Heather could answer?), but I know that one of their swimmers switched from Team TYR to SCAQ to TYR to SCAQ within 2 months of meets last year. How does that work?

In theory, you could compete for six clubs in one year. You have to wait 60 days after competing for one club before you can compete for another. You can still compete during those 60 days, but you have to compete unattached.

I don't think it's too productive to get all worked up about Team TYR. Didn't they come together strictly for Worlds? Which was a meet without team scoring, so who cares?


Finally, I agree with Meg in that there needs to be some leeway for "reasonable" judgment calls in determining when a team should fall into 1 of the 2 categories. As was evidenced, there are so many kinds of teams and workout groups, we need to allow for someone to employ the "we know it when we see it" perspective, and let the team challenge the ruling if they don't like it.

Woo hoo! Someone agrees with me about something!


But, I like like the guidelines you are all coming up with, as long as there's that element of freedom for whoever is making that determination. And also, and the end of the day, if Team TYR ends up being a Local/Club team, then like Barry Bonds, everyone will know how to read those final results.*

You had me on your side until your * comment. The TYR folks are all really nice guys, I promise!

MegSmath
November 6th, 2007, 03:23 PM
The can of worms needs some stirring I think.

How about this? Heh, heh, heh.

Separate the divisions at Nationals: Regional Team vs. Local Club Team

Within these two divisions have SML. Use the numbers Leianne suggested, or something similar. But THEN, if any team is excluding a member from competing at Nationals (because they are trying to fit into a predetermined division) then that team should have sanctions against them, and that swimmer (being exluded) should have the opportunity to swim at Nationals unattached.

I await my doom :agree:

Actually, Karen, I think I agree with you!:party2:

Karen Duggan
November 6th, 2007, 03:58 PM
Meg,
May I buy you dinner? :smooch:

Of course I don't know what those sanctions would be. Maybe... if a swimmer lodges a complaint, that they were not allowed to compete, maybe that team should be DQd from the team scoring.

Hmmph, take that you meanies!
:shakeshead:

Rob Copeland
November 6th, 2007, 04:01 PM
Separate the divisions at Nationals: Regional Team vs. Local Club Team Within these two divisions have SML.I don’t think anyone disputes that regional club teams and local club teams with SML is one of the viable solutions to team scoring at nationals.

A couple of issues that I see are:
1) Defining in code what exactly is a local club or what is a regional club
2) Coming up with one solution that will receive majority support of our HOD in 2008 to prevent waiting for 2 more years

I still believe our best solution is to make the Championship Committee responsible for team scoring at championships. This way instead of coming up with the definitive definition of a local club, they can, in policy, 1) describe the general characteristics of one or the other, 2) make a list of what they consider regional clubs, and 3) define an arbitration process to allow clubs to petition to change classifications.

All of this could be done with one line of code in the rule book, and one section in the Championship Committee Policies and Procedures manual. And as a benefit it would provide the flexibility to tweak the model to meet championship host and member needs.

Karen Duggan
November 6th, 2007, 04:19 PM
How many words do we get to define something in code?

Rob Copeland
November 6th, 2007, 04:22 PM
How many words do we get to define something in code?At time our capacity to define code seems boundless.

swim4life
November 6th, 2007, 04:38 PM
Meg, thanks for explaining how to quote - I'm sure I'll use it soon!! :)

Karen, if it's really a viable option to impose sanctions, then that seems fine with me. I'm just not sure how realistic that is. And, actually this seems like the perfect example of how S/M/L division create more problems than it solves.

Meg, regarding Kentucky, I understand your challenge in competing with a host Regional team like PNA. Similarly, the Local teams competing against the Local Host team face the same challenge - no one is really expected to compete with Woodlands at their own home. It's just part of the sport...any sport. I don't think we should try to even EVERY aspect of the playing field when it involves the creation of more problems. (It actually had never even crossed my mind until you mentioned it that a Men's team and Women's team from the same Club might be scored in different divisions. Yikes!)

On a side note, I'msure Team TYR is very nice. But somehow that 60 day rule didn't apply last year when people switched teams so quickly to attempt to break a relay record. (There were 3 meets in 4 weeks, each 2 weeks apart, and there was a lot of switching. That's all I'm saying. It doesn't even effect me, I'm just curious how it's alowed.)

jim clemmons
November 6th, 2007, 05:06 PM
There were 3 meets in 4 weeks, each 2 weeks apart, and there was a lot of switching. That's all I'm saying. It doesn't even effect me, I'm just curious how it's allowed.

Or perhaps just overlooked...?

jim clemmons
November 6th, 2007, 05:11 PM
How many words do we get to define something in code?

As many words as needed but in only three sentences according to Paul's post previously. But you can use...to keep it going...whenever you need to...as long as you can make your point. :)

Rob Copeland
November 6th, 2007, 05:32 PM
But somehow that 60 day rule didn't apply last year when people switched teams so quickly to attempt to break a relay record. (There were 3 meets in 4 weeks, each 2 weeks apart, and there was a lot of switching. I'm just curious how it's alowed.)For events sanctioned by USMS rule 201.3.5 ALWAYS applies.

Now if a swimmer swims at a USMS sanctioned event with one club, they can represent a different club at an event NOT sanctioned by USMS. For example, a number of swimmers represent their Y at Y Masters Nationals and then compete with their USMS club for USMS SCN a week or 2 later.

If this is not the case in your allegation, please PM me with the specifics of which you speak.


201.3.5—A swimmer shall not represent any club in competition for 60 consecutive days before transferring affiliation to another club, unless this transfer takes place at the time of annual registration. A swimmer may declare unattached status at any time without written application.

Karen Duggan
November 6th, 2007, 06:07 PM
Swim,
Someone PMd me and told me that they knew of one time when a team scratched a swimmer out of Nationals because they saw they would be in the medium division instead of the large. It was a host club of a Nationals and had insider information...
Other than that, I haven't heard of this being done, so I don't really think that my idea for DQing the team would ever really happen? However, at least all swimmers would have an avenue for recourse, IF it did happen. And swimmers would have to know about the rule. I, for one, am not totally savvy with USMS rules...

Rob,
Can we use smileys to write the code? :lmao:

It's been my experience,since 1993, that the "home teams" have the advantage at Nationals. It's a geographic reality. I don't mind this. It's just the way it is. Perhaps teams that are really interested in winning Nationals will bid to have them?

rtodd
November 6th, 2007, 06:28 PM
My team has difficulty putting together enough people for relays. It would be nice to join with other metropolitan teams to form relays at a Zone or National meet. I think it should be allowed. It could be fun putting together Ad-Hoc teams. Teams that are either too small, unattached swimmers, or big teams with odd people out.

Or, maybe more fair to allow these ad-hoc relays at local meets and make the club only rule at zones and nationals.

Am I off on this thinking?

jim clemmons
November 6th, 2007, 06:37 PM
My team has difficulty putting together enough people for relays. It would be nice to join with other metropolitan teams to form relays at a Zone or National meet. I think it should be allowed. It could be fun putting together Ad-Hoc teams. Teams that are either too small, unattached swimmers, or big teams with odd people out.

Or, maybe more fair to allow these ad-hoc relays at local meets and make the club only rule at zones and nationals.

Am I off on this thinking?

We're only talking about Nationals scoring.

rtodd
November 6th, 2007, 07:44 PM
OK, new question:

As it stands now can Metropolitan LMSC put together teams constructed from their 30 clubs for nationals?

I am in favor of this because you may not get alot of people from the same club to travel to nationals. You can have a "true club" award as well as ad-hoc awards for LMSC teams.

Maybe take it a step further and have National-All Star teams with their own award as well.

some_girl
November 6th, 2007, 08:02 PM
OK, new question:

As it stands now can Metropolitan LMSC put together teams constructed from their 30 clubs for nationals?


If you are on one of the teams that is in fact a workout group of Metro, yes. If you are on one of the independent teams, no. Our LMSC offers both varieties.

jim clemmons
November 6th, 2007, 08:02 PM
As it stands now can Metropolitan LMSC put together teams constructed from their 30 clubs for nationals?

I am in favor of this because you may not get alot of people from the same club to travel to nationals. You can have a "true club" award as well as ad-hoc awards for LMSC teams.

Yep, add that to whether S, M, and L awards are necessary (I think so, some obviously don't) and that's a real basic summary of the discussion (IMO).

swim4life
November 7th, 2007, 02:14 AM
Hey Rob and everyone,

I was mistaken as to the facts I claimed earlier. I just checked the SPMA meet results and I should've done my research more thoroughly before I posted that regarding the TYR swimmer. Although I could've sworn I remembered this correctly, the swimmer actually did swim for TYR in all the meets. I apologize for the confusion. (However I'm glad I'm not getting anyone busted!! Phew.)

swim4life
November 7th, 2007, 07:37 PM
I am in favor of this because you may not get alot of people from the same club to travel to nationals.

IMHO, if your club does not get a lot of people to go to Nationals, then your club shouldn't receive a banner at Nationals.

But, seeing that many or most people seem to be in favor of S/M/L team divisions within the Regional Club/Local Club, let's try to move this discussion forward.

Obviously nearly all of us agree on the Regional/Local divisions, and we are struggling with:
1) whether we need to define one or both types of teams;
2) the actual definition of these terms:

Regarding S/M/L divisions, we should further discuss:
1) whether those cutoffs should be made known in advance, or determined only after the close of entries.
2) if they are predetermined cutoffs, what should those cutoffs be.
__________________________________________________ ______

(A) Regional/Local definitions:

1) WHICH TERM(S) TO DEFINE: As I've stated before, it seems to me that defining one term leaves less room for confusion. Unless we are able to perfectly define two mutually exclusive groups that encompass every team, then defining two terms is superfluous. However, since many or most people at Convention did not approve L2 for its failure to define both terms, perhaps we do need to define both to satisfy those people and actually get this new rule passed.

2A) ACTUALY DEFINITION: REGIONAL TEAM
Elements of this definition include:
a) "workout groups" (or smaller clubs) join to compete as one entity for a competition (inside OR outside their LMSC)
b) more than 10% of the member live outside the club's LMSC
c) Other possible factors: more than one board of directors, different bank accounts, the absence of a "home pool"
d) Final consideration: How much room do we leave for a judgment call by the decision maker in the case of unique teams?

2B) ACTUAL DEFINITION: LOCAL TEAM (if needed)
a) always competes as itself and does not join other teams or workout groups.
b) less than 10% of members outside the LMSC
c) a single board, a single bank account, the existence of a "home" pool (although not ALL workouts must take place there).

(B) S/M/L Divisions (if needed)

1) Determined in advance? I'd like to hear more on this. I've seen arguments on both sides and am unsure of where I stand.

2) If predetermined, what should they be? I think what Leianne proposed seems fair.
a) Small: less than 10 members
b) Medium: 11-24 members
c) Large: 25 or more members

So, let's talk about these points we haven't come to an agreement on.

Karen Duggan
November 8th, 2007, 12:44 PM
Swim,
Good job trying to sort through it all. Before I take all that on though (which I'll do later when my brain is somewhat functioning).

I will respectfully disagree that just because "your club does not get a lot of people to go to Nationals, you should not get a banner." Why not? When we went to LC Nationals in Michigan in 1996 their were about 8 of us I think. We were in the small division. I don't remember what place we got, but many of us placed in the top 5 in all of our events so we scored really well, and some of our relays won :) Why didn't we deserve that banner?

swim4life
November 8th, 2007, 02:16 PM
Hey Karen, we keep misunderstanding each other. :) You guys TOTALLY deserved a banner in that case. I was refering to rTodd's example of not being able to put together even a relay becasue there were not enough people. If your are on a smaller team, say 40 members, and can only get 2-3 people to go to Nationals, then I don't think that TEAM would be deserving of a banner - and I sometimes it seems that's what many people are trying to create: a scoring system where every team with 1-2 good swimmers can earn a banner. IMO, that's not a team in the true sense of the word. (Uh oh, I'll wait for comments on that. I'm just speaking freely here people and I hope someone can relate to this perspective.)

And actually, your example is PERFECT! You guys were able to win a banner with 8 people. It really doesn't take a miracle or a huge team to win a banner. You can do a lot of damage with 8 swimmers. That's deserving of recognition! Good job.

Blackbeard's Peg
November 8th, 2007, 02:44 PM
I want to say first this is a great discussion. I've said before that the issue doesn't really have much pull for me personally. However, I think the basic underlying principle here is that folks are looking for a way to recognize more people for their efforts, and include more people.

More awards can potentially open the door for plenty of good things... an increase in competitors due to more small teams looking for a banner is the first thing that comes to mind.

Folks have mentioned that increased # awards translates to a financial burden... here's a question: why does everyone need to walk home with a trophy or banner? However things get divided out (s/m/l, or local/regional, m/w/both) - why not just hand out awards for only one set of winners, then list a boatload more online?
For example - hand out trophies/banners to the top three combined teams in small, medium and large teams. That's nine awards. Online, list those on the top of a page. Then, break it down some more: top three men small, med and large; women s/m/l, combined s/m/l; top freestyle teams, top teams for each stroke, most 1-10 finishes... we could go on. But it is a way to recognize and include more teams.

matysekj
November 8th, 2007, 02:54 PM
When we went to LC Nationals in Michigan in 1996 their were about 8 of us I think. We were in the small division. I don't remember what place we got, but many of us placed in the top 5 in all of our events so we scored really well, and some of our relays won :) Why didn't we deserve that banner?

Note that this is coming from someone who has swum for a team that has occasionally won a banner in the small or medium division, so I'm not trying to put your team down specifically. My team fits into the same category.

No, I don't think that your team deserved that banner. If you look at NCAAs, USA Swimming Nationals, or just about ANY other competition out there, you will not find these S/M/L categories. Put simply, team banners should be EARNED by the teams that score the most points, period. For individual events, we don't have medal categories for short, medium, or tall swimmers or for inexperienced, moderately experienced, and elite swimmers. We simply give out medals to those that earned them by swimming the fastest. The same should be true for teams in my opinion. If you really, really, really covet the banners, bring more people to the meet and EARN ONE.

I have still not heard any argument that would convince me to vote for a S/M/L categorization. Can anyone explain to me why New England Masters (sorry, not trying to pick on any one team), with over 1,500 swimmers registered would EVER be categorized in any context as a "small" team? They are the LARGEST registered team in USMS. Sure, people argue that if the nationals are in California then NEM is unlikely to be able to bring a large team to such a far away event. Too bad :violin:. So they don't win a banner that year. They COULD bring a whole bunch of people and EARN that banner if they really want to, as Colorado did in Florida in 2005. I see the S/M/L category by number of swimmers showing up at the meet as gifting banners to teams rather than making them earn it.

Now the only way that I may (if convincing arguments are made) vote for a S/M/L categorization is if it is based on registration rather than attendance at the meet. By doing that, you are indeed competing against registered teams of roughly the same size. The team that shows the commitment to bring the most swimmers and/or has the fastest swimmers wins the banner in that arrangement. One potential down side of this is that some teams may tend to cap their registered membership under the cutoff points in order to stay in the S or M category. Also, a team with 101 registered members may be bumped up into the M category where they can't get a banner, yet they may continually outscore the top team in the S category that has less than 100 registered members. I don't see how that is fair -- they outscored the smaller team and therefore are more deserving of a banner than the smaller teams. If the smaller teams don't like it, then they can recruit more swimmers in order to outscore them in the future.

It's my opinion, and I'm keeping it until convinced otherwise. I realize that I'm in the minority, but I'm used to that.

jim clemmons
November 8th, 2007, 04:17 PM
It's my opinion, and I'm keeping it until convinced otherwise. I realize that I'm in the minority, but I'm used to that.

Good argument Jim. It "moved" me, not all the way, but it does have validity.

Karen Duggan
November 8th, 2007, 05:04 PM
Here we are mixing apples and oranges again!

How can you categorize teams (Regional, Local Club, or ANY other kind!) at Nationals based on how many people are registered to that team?! That is idiotic (IMHO, and let me say I think the idea is idiotic, not Jim) and that is the least inclusive idea I have heard. How many registered swimmers actually compete in USMS? Are we going to make them compete? Or penalize those swimmers that do?
Example:
Many of our swimmers at WCM are triathletes, lap swimmers, or just join to be social and splash around. They have absolutely no interest in competing, let alone at Nationals! We would drive them away if we told them they HAD to compete! Or, on the other hand, WCM would seemingly be penalized at Nationals because we didn't bring these people (Kerry would NEVER make anyone go). What is the mission statement of USMS again?

The heck we didn't earn that banner! Masters is NOT NCAA, USA-S or anything like that! Masters has adults swimming for a myriad of reasons. All of the other swimming programs you mentioned are strictly there to swim fast and compete at the highest level they can! The way the meet (Nationals in Mich) was set up by SML teams, we did earn it. We swam well and earned the points necessary. (Keep in mind the banner was NOT the goal- we just wanted to swim fast and have fun. I still don't even know what place we got to be honest. I just remember our coach had picked up a banner and we took a picture.) All other competitive swim programs are NOT trying to be inclusive like USMS, they are striving to swim fast, period. The time standards alone for USMS Nationals show that we are trying to be inclusive, or the idea you can swim 3 events without actually qualifying!

Maybe I'm off here, but Jim, it seems that you think people have to bring a large team to even be considered for a team banner? We've beaten teams with many more swimmers than us... that Michigan meet is an example. If anything, your argument that having a large group to "earn" banners, makes me think the idea of Team Pacific may have some merit. But wait, how about Team-West-of-the-Rockies, or??? Let's just take what we have, concensus that their should be two divisions, work on that, and move forward.

For the record, I think their should be two divisions: Regional and Local Club and they should be scored 1st-10th (combined only; no men, no women). Perhaps here your team might have incentive to bring more men or more women who want to compete and can afford the trip?

Karen Duggan
November 8th, 2007, 05:25 PM
[QUOTE=matysekj;113734] For individual events, we don't have medal categories for short, medium, or tall swimmers or for inexperienced, moderately experienced, and elite swimmers. We simply give out medals to those that earned them by swimming the fastest.]

We, IMHO, are not trying to "give away awards." To me that doesn't make anything inclusive. (I'm happy bringing home the program from Nationals! It serves as a reminder for how I did.)

I do agree that people earn their awards. And they're usually DARN fast too! Which is awesome. What is unique is that those that compete regularly at Nationals, or not, but that same group we always see, are so aware of each other. I love the human interest stories that go with USMS. "So and so just had a heart attack and swam the mile", or "so and so overcame cancer and won Nationals."

The true spirit of USMS is not in the individual or even team awards, but how there are so many of us who just love to swim/compete, and find a way to do it because it's a part of our lives. USMS is an awesome organization in that it lets us "be kids again" in a swimming environment. You get to go to workout, enter meets, compete, and do so with like-minded people. Now let's all sing kum-bay-yah and :wine:

matysekj
November 8th, 2007, 05:43 PM
That is idiotic (IMHO, and let me say I think the idea is idiotic, not Jim) and that is the least inclusive idea I have heard. How many registered swimmers actually compete in USMS? Are we going to make them compete? Or penalize those swimmers that do?

C'mon Karen, you can say it - I'm pretty thick-skinned. :smooch: As for inclusiveness, here's my take. USMS is inclusive for our nationals by allowing all swimmers to enter 3 individual events and unlimited relays without meeting the qualifying times. That's different than all other organizations, and that promotes participation by all. Aside from that, however, this is a national championship. It IS a competitive event - supposedly our organization's MOST competitive event of the year. I feel that the awards should reflect that.


Many of our swimmers at WCM are triathletes, lap swimmers, or just join to be social and splash around. They have absolutely no interest in competing, let alone at Nationals! We would drive them away if we told them they HAD to compete! Or, on the other hand, WCM would seemingly be penalized at Nationals because we didn't bring these people (Kerry would NEVER make anyone go). What is the mission statement of USMS again?What makes you think that WCM is in any way unique here? What you described above is an accurate description of every single USMS team that I've had the pleasure of belonging to or working out with. There's no penalizing your team going on here - everyone is in the same boat.


Maybe I'm off here, but Jim, it seems that you think people have to bring a large team to even be considered for a team banner? We've beaten teams with many more swimmers than us... that Michigan meet is an example.Maybe I didn't communicate it well enough - I'm saying that the teams that score the most points get the banners. One way of scoring more points is to bring more swimmers. Another is to have a lot of very high scoring swimmers, as you seem to have had at Michigan.

And like I said, please don't treat this as an attack on YOUR team. I have been on teams in exactly the same position that your team was in in Michigan. I simply don't agree with the system that allowed us to get that banner. I don't feel like we "earned" it.


If anything, your argument that having a large group to "earn" banners, makes me think the idea of Team Pacific may have some merit. But wait, how about Team-West-of-the-Rockies, or???If that's what helps you to build your membership and have fun while doing so, then by all means create those teams. It won't bother me one bit. I don't understand the Pacific attitude evinced at convention that this would be such a horrible thing to the rest of the country.


Let's just take what we have, concensus that their should be two divisions, work on that, and move forward. I thought we were still trying to find out what that consensus is? As I said, it sure sounds like I'm in the minority here, and that's okay. However, I do still vote and unless otherwise convinced before next convention, will not vote for any system that has S/M/L categories for the reasons given.

Paul Smith
November 8th, 2007, 06:05 PM
Jim....thats more words written by you in one thread than I think I've heard you speak in the last 5 years....here, here!!

Karen Duggan
November 8th, 2007, 06:21 PM
Oh man, why did I look? I was just about to leave, and I'm really sick...

Jim, I'm not arguing that USMS Nationals shouldn't be treated as the event it is. I was responding to your idea that teams should be entered by their registered numbers.

I don't think our team is unique in the regard I mentioned. However, your idea would certainly always put WCM up against Regional Teams as we have over 400 registered, with the current system. That is why I like Regional vs. Local Club.

Alas, I agree that we don't need SML. For your reasons or mine- I can't think anymore! Brain fuzzy, need more water, nap needed...

Talk to you later :)
And Paul, :thhbbb:
:smooch:

rtodd
November 8th, 2007, 09:01 PM
What does earning a banner mean? I'm new to swimming.

swim4life
November 9th, 2007, 02:21 AM
YEAH!!! Jim, welcome back - I needed some support in the argument that S/M/L divisions are a BAD IDEA. While I understand the point of leveling the playing field (even more), it just casues SO MANY problems. Karen and Jim's debate is yet another example.

I completely agree with Jim that the team that scores the most points should win. My caveat is that I am in favor of Regional/Local simply because they are different beasts. I believe Jim is in favor of that too?? Yet, I guess I DISAGREE that WCM deserved a banner in Michigan because they DID score enough points to earn one, regardless of how many swimmers they had.

And exactly, if New England Masters doesn't bring very many swimmers to Nationals in Austin, then they shouldn't get a banner. And no, they SHOULD NOT then be categorized in the Medium division so they WIN! That's ludicrous!

Regional teams in 1 division. Local teams in another. Done. This whole debate over S/M/L divisions has so much wrong with it.

rTodd - fyi, banners are awarded to the top 10 teams at Nationals.

swim4life
November 9th, 2007, 02:27 AM
Also, Karen, it's good to hear you say again that you agree there is no need for S/M/L.

Finally, Jim effectively describes how a team should not be "rewarded" by being placed in a smaller division for bringing fewer swimmers. Yet, the alternative of calulating the size division by number of registered swimmers will not work. A lot of teams cannot even tell you how many swimmers they have, and it changes drastically from month to month as swimmers come in and out, take a year or five off without notifying anyone but rather waits for the treasurer to figure it out when no checks come in. Are we talking "active" members or "total" members? S/M/L division open SO MANY more questions. What happened to KEEP IT SIMPLE?

-Brian

Karen Duggan
November 9th, 2007, 12:02 PM
Some of my teammates overheard people at convention saying that if it were to go to "a number" of registered swimmers that would categorize teams for Nationals competitions, they would simply hold off "reporting" to USMS how many swimmers they had. There is a valid argument for not making the number registered on a team the criterion for SML at Nationals.

Yes, Regional and Local Club divisions (1-10 combined only); No SML.

swim4life
November 9th, 2007, 12:15 PM
I'd still like to see Men's, Women's, and Combined. :) Perhaps out of mere tradion??? New can of worms - I'm curious to hear arguments on both sides of this issue.

Leianne C
November 9th, 2007, 01:04 PM
Hi,

Given the strenuous objections to S/M/L, maybe subcategories of combined, mens, womens team scores for regional teams and local team divisions makes sense.

I also think these disucssions have been constructive and am interested to see more commentary.

Leianne

matysekj
November 9th, 2007, 01:20 PM
Given the strenuous objections to S/M/L, maybe subcategories of combined, mens, womens team scores for regional teams and local team divisions makes sense.

I would fully support that one. :D

jim clemmons
November 9th, 2007, 01:22 PM
Hi,

Given the strenuous objections to S/M/L, maybe subcategories of combined, mens, womens team scores for regional teams and local team divisions makes sense.


Leianne

Hi Leianne,

I don't know if I'd agree with the term "strenuous" although Jim and Brian are fairly adamant about their position. Plus, I sense that more folks agree with s,m,l than disagree.

Karen Duggan
November 9th, 2007, 07:24 PM
I am but one folk, I realize. And it doesn't seem like too many people are jumping in here. It isn't surprising though since less than 1% of USMS members actually compete!

I will be clear, I hope: I want to see Regional vs Local Club (1-10 combined only). Reason: Keep it simple. And that's only 20 awards.

I don't really care if there is a SML, however in an effort to keep National scoring simple I don't recommend it. Plus, that method of putting into categories always ticks somebody off! And if you look at past Nationals, I have seen teams in the Small category OUTSCORE those in the Medium division.

No one can argue with Regional vs. Local Club because you are in either one category or the other. You bring lots of people who might score, or a few that score highly, or a bunch that will score! Build your competitive National team or don't. But this way everybody knows going in what category they will be in. No surprises, no upset people.

rtodd
November 10th, 2007, 08:37 PM
I really don't know the in's and out's of team swimming. I do remember in Masters track that, teams would try to "buy" the championship by entering runners in tons of events in the hopes of scoring some points in their age groups. Even with embarrasingly slow times. I always thought there should be a minimum time standard to score points to avoid this.

Leianne C
April 17th, 2008, 06:11 PM
Hello,

Here is the current version of what Pacific LMSC would be proposing to the Rules Committee this year. Please feel free to provide comments. Sorry for the long post, but we would like to get input from members before the Convention to provide an alternative that many people (not all -- we are not that optimistic!) can agree on.

Several years ago, as a result of perceived inequities, scoring at Nationals was changed from small, medium and large divisions to scoring all teams in a single division. There has been significant dissatisfaction with the single division method of scoring also.

Last year, Pacific LMSC proposed a means of scoring in two divisions, which raised significant debate at the House of Delegates, and afterwards on the USMS Discussion Forum for “Team Scoring at Nationals”. Pacific LMSC again proposes to change the method of scoring at National Championships, using a two division system, as follows.

These proposed Rules changes reflect the final proposal as proposed in the USMS House of Delegates, as well as comments on this discussion forum from the following participants (among others): Jim Clemmons, Paul Smith, Rob Copeland, Meg Smath, Jim Matysek, Carolyn Boak, Jerry Clark, Michael Moore, Leianne Crittenden, Scott Williams, Betsy Durrant.

This is a very long forum discussion (showing how much interest there is!), but if you want to see some of the posts that were taken account of, please see Posts on this forum numbered: 7, 90, 105, 131, 139, 141, 144, 159, 187, 189, 192, 195, 212, 226, 240, 245 as well as any others that you may be interested in!

RATIONALE FOR PROPOSED RULE CHANGES:

Several years ago, team scoring at Nationals changed from Small/Medim/Large divisions to a single division. Since 2004, posts on two USMS Discussion Forums have criticized the current method of scoring. Participants have noted thatunder the single division method of scoring, teams that draw from a local area are at a strong disadvantage when competing against teams drawing from an entire state or region.

For a complilation of team scoring results in recent SCY Championships (2003-2007), made by Michael Moore, go to Post #7 of the “Team Scoring at Nationals” USMS Discussion Forum. However, going back to the previous method of scoring (using small, medium and large team categories) is also unsatisfactory, because of the arbitrary nature of determining what will be a small, medium or large team, and who will determine those categories.

Many suggestions have been made on the USMS discussion forum:

(1) Score the meet using the highest average scores by number of splashes (the number of swims by a team, divided by the number of swimmers to derive the average score per swimmer),

(2) Using Regional and Local team divisions with the following ideas:

(a) defining regional and local teams using a geographic component by requiring that 90% (or another portion) of all club members reside within a certain distance from a club’s designated headquarters (prevents national recruiting of an elite team, but would be difficult to confirm the number of registered swimmers on a specific club that live close to the club headquarters);

(b) using small/medium/large classes within each division (forum participants thought this was an arbitrary measure);

(c) using specified classes of small (10 or less swimmers)/medium1(11 to 24 swimmers)/large (25 or more swimmers) teams within each division (to prevent teams from discouraging participation so that they could be in a specific classification, but still viewed as arbitrary, and many participants did not believe that coaches discouraged swimmers from going to Nationals);

(d) using mens/womens/combined within each of the two divisions (no consensus, except a concern about the number of team awards to be given at Nationals)

(3) No team scoring at Nationals at all (generally rejected by Forum participants as not in keeping with a Championship meet);

(4) Scoring addressed by the Championship Committee only (rejected by forum participants as not adequately representing members’ concerns, given that the volume of posts on this forum was more than three times the traffic on other USMS discussion forums).

Most of these alternatives would create administrative difficulties, which is why Pacific is proposing a very simple proposal, in keeping with the general comments on the Discussion Forum to “Keep It Simple Stupid”.

Recognizing that there is no perfect method of scoring National Championships, Pacific submits this proposal to define what is a “Regional” or LMSC team, and then to score Nationals based on two divisions: “Regional” Club Teams and “Local” Club Teams, through ten places in each division (twenty total team awards). The proposed Rule change spells out how a Regional and Local team is determined, based on a swimmer’s registration with a club that is a member of the LMSC. Swimmers register with USMS as a member of a “club” and the club sends swimmers to Nationals, who compete as the “team” that represents the club.

********
A. PROPOSED REVISIONS TO TEXT OF APPLICABLE RULES:

Regional Team and Local Team Categories:

Article 104: NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MEETS
104.5.6 Club Scoring at National Championships
A Scoring—All national championship meet scoring and awards shall be treated as if the meet were swum in a 10-lane pool, regardless of the actual number of lanes available. Points shall be awarded as in article 102.12.3.

B Categories—Club scoring will be tabulated in two categories.

(1) Regional Teams. For competition at National Championship Meets, a “Regional Team” consists of a team made up of those swimmers who represent a club at Nationals, but at competitions within their LMSC, they compete for an entity or subgroup (such as a workout group) that is different than the one they compete with at Nationals.

(2) Local Teams. For competition at National Championship Meets, a “Local Team” consists of a team made up of those swimmers who represent a club at Nationals, and at competitions within their LMSC they compete for the same club, and that club has a single management structure that is responsible for administering the club’s activities (including, for example, acquiring facilities and/or providing coaches).

(3) The Championship Committee is responsible for publishing a list of Regional and Local Teams no later than February 15 of each year. Where a club contests its designation, it may file an appeal with the Chair of the Championship Committee at least 60 days prior to the National Championship Meet.

C Overall Point Total—The overall point totals for each club shall be published in all results documentation.

Article 104.5.7 – Awards
A Awards—All top finishers in each race will be given awards regardless of the nationality of the swimmer. Duplicate awards will NOT be given except in the case of ties. Appropriate awards as determined by the Championship Committee will be awarded for places one through 10.

B USMS championship award (i.e., patch or some similar award to be determined by the Championship Committee)—Each individual who wins a short course or long course individual or relay championship shall be awarded a USMS championship award. Swimmers winning more than one championship may purchase one additional award for each additional championship won.

C. Team awards – The organization conducting the national championship meet shall provide awards to the first through tenth place for two categories: the Regional Team category and the Local Team category.


B. OPTIONAL: Revert back to current scoring if not ratified in three years by House of Delegates.

If this method of scoring is not ratified by a simple majority vote of the House of Delegates three years after it is enacted, team scoring at National Championships will go back to the scoring method set forht in the 2008 Rule Book.

*******

In addition to these basic Rules changes, please note that there are two other points:
1. The Championship Committee, in consultation with the USMS Registrar, will determine and publish a list of Regional Teams no later than February 15 each year. If a club contests its classification, it can appeal to the Championship Committee by submitting a complete written claim not later than 60 days prior to the first day of competition at the National Championship Meet. Since SCY Nationals is usually in May, this should provide adequate time for submission of protests and decisions.

2. OPTIONAL PROVISION This scoring system is implemented for three years to see how it works – if not ratified by House of Delegates after three years, then the scoring system reverts back to the single division scoring that is in place today.


Again, sorry for the long post, but I wanted to provide complete information!

Leianne
^^^^

pakman044
April 17th, 2008, 07:01 PM
(1) Regional Teams. For competition at National Championship Meets, a “Regional Team” consists of a team made up of those swimmers who represent a club at Nationals, but at competitions within their LMSC, they compete for an entity or subgroup (such as a workout group) that is different than the one they compete with at Nationals.

(2) Local Teams. For competition at National Championship Meets, a “Local Team” consists of a team made up of those swimmers who represent a club at Nationals, and at competitions within their LMSC they compete for the same club, and that club has a single management structure that is responsible for administering the club’s activities (including, for example, acquiring facilities and/or providing coaches).

I make these comments not to be deliberately destructive, but as if I were acting to take advantage of these regulations. Please bear in mind that I have no better ideas myself!

The first problem is that the regional and local team class as written here do not encompass all teams that could be in an LMSC. In this case, what I would be thinking of is an LMSC with one large club, but members compete for the large club inside and outside of their LMSC. For example, in my LMSC, it would be as if you competed for NCMS inside and outside of the LMSC.

Now the issue is that this kind of club is not a regional team because they compete for the same entity intra-LMSC as they do outside of the LMSC, but it isn't a local team either because it lacks the single management structure. So what needs to happen in this proposal is either a third group, or the other class needs to be "all clubs that are not the other type".

This kind of club is also the weak point of this proposal. Based on what happened with last year's proposal, my feeling is that your intent is to classify such a team as a local team, and not a regional team. I don't think every LMSC with a conglomerate team will do this, but I would imagine at least a few would. Or a few current smaller groups within the LMSC would band together and conglomerate as a club (this kind of consolidation is occuring to a certain extent in USA Swimming, even if the groups aren't really nearby!).

I'm also wondering whether or not the ratification in three years part is something that can go in Part 1 of the rulebook. Since something in three years would be in 2011--an odd-numbered legislative year, it would seem to have the effect of a rules change in a non-rules year, which is different than the amendment procedures currently in effect in Part 6 (see 601.4). If this really has the effect of changing the amendment procedures, then this part would be a legislative change in a non-legislative year. There's a high probability that I could be wrong about this, but it seems to add a lot of complexity to the proposal (which is probably why it's optional!). I'd recommend just completely severing it and not even bringing it as an option. If people don't like the scoring system in two or four or 2n years, they can amend it then.

Patrick King

Redbird Alum
April 18th, 2008, 11:11 AM
This proposal has a means of measurement (removing the arbitrary sizing) and an appeals process if someone has a complaint.

I would support such a measure (if I had the authority).

jim clemmons
April 18th, 2008, 11:35 AM
I would support such a measure (if I had the authority).

So, come to convention and you can vote on it.