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Anthony Thompson
September 6th, 2007, 12:29 PM
For anyone who has started reading the USAS Convention Packet, just wondered what other thought of the Pacific LMSC proposal to legislate a defintion of "regional team" toward scoring at USMS Nationals.

Wondering if this is actually USMS policy (along with most of section 104)?

What do others think of the definition of "regional team" ?
Does anyone have an alternative defintion they'd suggest ?

Seems like the USMS Championship committee was evaluating giving "Top Ten" team (regardless of "club" size or composition) at nationals compared to the past arbitrary division of "small, medium, and large" at nationals ? I do not see an evaluation of the updated system in this years Convention packet. Maybe someone on Championship could comment ?

Being from a region of the country with few registered swimmers, I don't think the definition will hurt or benefit our "club".

Anthony Thompson, Missouri Valley Masters

pakman044
September 9th, 2007, 11:56 PM
It seems like an interesting change. Having never been to a nationals myself, I'm probably not the best to judge whether this is good or not, but a few ideas:

1. I actually think that this rule change should go with the accompanying one that also changes the scoring method for nationals. Otherwise, if a change is warranted to tweak both, it will take two years to effect a change: the change to the legislation for team size, and then the scoring change. Would it be possible to submit the scoring change as part of an indivisible package (see Rules Committee Report (http://www.usms.org/admin/conv07/committees.pdf)) as hinted by the Rules Committee report?

2. It might be a good idea to clarify that this applies to pool nationals only.

3. More substantively, I think a date should be attached to the membership numbers. All the rule says is that the numbers must be assessed by February 15. It should also say on what date the team/LMSC numbers are (for example, list regional teams by February 15 based on their membership numbers on February 1). From how I understand it, LMSC's don't transmit renewals/new memberships but once a month, and doing it before or after the transmittal could easily affect a few of these teams.

4. I'm not really thrilled about the "centralized management" clause. It seems like this could be a quite subjective determination. Would the Championship Committee have all of the information to make this determination? I'm sure this is easy for some teams, but not for every one of them. Would you require teams to produce information to lead to this determination (and what if they didn't want to--would you just automatically conclude they were non-centrally managed)?

Would a team that genuinely possesses central management but is >40% need to go back through a Championship Committee process every year, or would it be expedited in some form or fashion?

I have a nagging feeling that the clause is also a little vague. I think it would be better to fill in a few more specifics to make it clear exactly what is desired, but I suppose it isn't necessary.

5. For appeals, I think more than 60 days are needed. According to 104.1.1, the earliest short course nationals can be held are April 15, which is just about 60 days after February 15 (it could actually be 59 days, but I may not have the count correct). The earliest SCN's have been held is April 22 (2004), but the appeal requirement needs to be written with 104.1.1 in mind. I would push back the appeal date to 45 days, or move up the regional team list to February 1.

Finally, I think it would be a good idea to look at the membership numbers of teams and LMSC's from say the last 2 or 3 years and see how this would impact the scoring. I wouldn't mind doing this myself, although someone would have to send me the hard numbers.

Patrick King

Leianne C
September 11th, 2007, 06:24 PM
Hi, there is an extensive discussion (66 posts) of team scoring at Nationals, including the final scores over the past several years, under the forum for Nationals under the tab called "team scoring".

Leianne
^^^

michaelmoore
September 12th, 2007, 12:42 AM
As being both on the Championship Committee and also chairman of Pacific, I can comment on the proposal. A couple of years ago we went from SML teams to a single team competition.

We have seen the regionial (or large LMSC) teams dominate the team scoring at the National Championships. Pacific has felt that the single team competition scoring has worked against the single club and Pacific proposed a possible solution so that clubs that workout at a single pool have a change to compete against the Multistate/large regional clubs.

In a review of the recent short course nationals team competition results (at the end of this letter) show that the regional teams have dominated the teams competition.

I would also point out that on the whole, it is pretty easy to distinguish the regional team from the single management club team. I have also pointed out the single club team from the regional team in our analysis of team scoring.

In the intestest of saving a small forest, Pacific was asked to edit our three page rational to 12 lines. Below is the entire document that was sent to the Legislation and Rule committee:

michael

---

L04 Article 201.2 Membership of Clubs Page 51 Pacific LMSC
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. 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. The Championship Committee is responsible for publishing a list of Regional 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.

Rationale: Several years ago, scoring at Nationals was changed from small, medium and large divisions to no divisions. LMSC regional teams now compete at Nationals, which allows smaller LMSCs to field teams that allow swimmers to enter relays, and have more participation at National Championships. While this result is good, another result of this rule change is that larger LMSCs have consistently fielded teams that have dominated the competition. See the compilation of results in recent SCY Championships, made by Michael Moore, attached below.

Recent posts on the USMS Discussion Forum have criticized the current method of scoring. Participants have noted that single club teams, particularly those that cannot include swimmers that are not club members, are at a strong disadvantage when competing against teams drawing from an entire state or region. However, there is an arbitrary nature of determining what will be a small, medium or large team, and who will determine those categories, which makes that scoring method unsatisfactory also.

To have a discussion on whether there is a better method of scoring National Championships (not one that is perfect), Pacific submits two alternative proposals that would affect scoring at National Championship meets. First, Pacific proposes to define what is a “Regional” or LMSC team, and then to score Nationals based on two divisions: Regional Teams and Club Teams. Under the second proposal, scoring would go back to small, medium and large teams, based on actual entrants in that Nationals. Both proposed Rule changes spell out how a Regional 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. If that club represents a large portion of the registered USMS swimmers in that LMSC, and within that club, there are separate entities that pay their own costs, then that club is an entity that will compete at Nationals as a “Regional Team”. A large club, with centralized management and finances, will compete as a “Club Team.” If a swimmer in an LMSC still wishes to compete as a club swimmer at Nationals (and not as part of the Regional Team), they will continue to register with their designated club and the team sent to Nationals by that club will compete in the Club Team division.

Since the large Regional/LMSC teams may not consistently send swimmers (particularly if the meet is far from their region), the second proposal is based on scoring of divisions determined by the number of entered competitors from a club. For example: Arizona LMSC, the 2003 SCY Nationals host regional team had almost 250 entrants, but at Rutgers later that summer, Arizona sent only 11. This May, New England had only 30 swimmers at Federal Way, but Walnut Creek, one of the larger Pacific club teams (with 415 members) had 31 swimmers. However, at the Rutgers 2003 LCM Championship, Walnut Creek only sent seven swimmers. In 2003 SCY Nationals in Arizona, Davis Aquatic Masters, the largest Pacific team with over 700 swimmers, sent four swimmers, in the 2007 SCY Nationals, Davis sent seven swimmers.

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.

Results of recent SCY Nationals
Below is a list of the top ten scoring teams at the last five SCY Nationals. As you can see the Regional/LMSC teams have a significant advantage over club teams. Over the past five years, the Regional/LMSC teams won eight of the top ten team awards.

Note the results of the past five years:
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 Regional/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 Regional/LMSC Teams: Fort Lauderdale Aquatics and Florida Maverick Masters

2005 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1 Colorado 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 Regional/LMSC Teams: Walnut Creek and The Olympic Club.

2004 Indianapolis, Indiana
1 Illinois Masters
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 Regional/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 Regional/LMSC Teams: Walnut Creek Masters, The Olympic Club, and Indy Swim Fit

Rob Copeland
September 12th, 2007, 10:08 AM
Michael,

A couple of observations:


We have seen the regional (or large LMSC) teams….
Equating regional teams (or clubs) with the term “large” is often not accurate. Most of the regional clubs are in fact smaller than clubs you mentioned (Walnut Creek and TOC).


I would also point out that on the whole, it is pretty easy to distinguish the regional team from the single management club team…
I feel “in general” one could go through the list of club and make determinations, but “on the whole” a written definition, such as the one proposed will miss some regional clubs and include individual clubs. For example Maine Masters (pretty much the state of Maine within the NE-LMSC) has less than 40% of the registered members in NELMSC, yet it has all of the characteristics of a regional club. I also presume there are successful clubs in the only major population area within an LMSC which exceed 40% and because they maintain relationships with multiple facilities, their centralized management may choose to maintain separate accounts.

And my personal bias, as someone who has spent a couple decades on the Legislation Committee, language that only affects team scoring at nationals does not belong in Part 2 under “Membership and Representation”. Anything dealing with club scoring at nationals should be in 104.5.6 B—Club Scoring Categories. Something like:
B Categories—Club scoring will be tabulated in six categories.
(1) Regional Women’s…
(2) Regional Men’s…
(3) Regional Combined…
(4) UnRegional (?) Women’s…
(5) UnRegional (?) Men’s…
(6) UnRegional (?) Combined…
C The Championship Committee shall publish a list of Regional Clubs 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.


One other personal bias (some call it anal retentive). “…publishing a list of Regional Teams…” I think you meant clubs instead of teams. As of February 15th there are no “teams” for nationals, since a “team” is a group of swimmers representing the same club in a competition.

michaelmoore
September 13th, 2007, 01:02 AM
Equating regional teams (or clubs) with the term „large is often not accurate. Most of the regional clubs are in fact smaller than clubs you mentioned (Walnut Creek and TOC).

Lets look at that. Walnut Creek is a very large team that operates out of a single pool. In 2006, it was the 15th largest club in USMS. Regional teams that are larger included:

New England Masters
Colorado Masters Swimming
Team Illinois Masters
Metro Masters Swim Club
Pacific Northwest Aquatics
Arizona Masters
North Carolina Masters Swimming
Oregon Masters
Michigan Masters
Swim Kentucky Masters
Gold Coast Masters
Florida Aquatic Combined Team

Walnut Creek was only a third of the size of NEM.

In 2006 The Olympic Club was the 65th largest club in USMS. Besides the above regional clubs other Regional clubs that were larger included:

Wisconsin Masters Aquatic Club
Niagara District Masters
Virginia Masters Swim Team
San Diego Swim Masters
Garden State Masters
Georgia
O*H*I*O Masters Swim Club
Minnesota Masters Swim Club
Maryland Masters
New Mexico Masters
Missouri Valley
Maine Masters Swim Club
Colonials 1776
Connecticut Masters
Iowa Masters Swimming
Adirondack Masters
Inland Northwest Masters
Alaska Masters Swimming

TOC is just over 40% the size of Georga Masters. I could only identify seven regional teams that were smaller than TOC. ( I did not see Team Rob from the Florida Keys, but I am sure it is only an oversight missing that powerhouse club/team).

I also presume there are successful clubs in the only major population area within an LMSC which exceed 40% and because they maintain relationships with multiple facilities, their centralized management may choose to maintain separate accounts.

The only one I could identify was Indy Swim Fit, but I am not familiar with all the clubs. When DAMM was a much larger club, they could have fit the 40% definition and SCAQ may have exceeded the 40% threshold.

In order to make the change, I think that there would a change in Part 2 of the Rule book as well as Part 1. Although, personally I think that team scoring should be taken out of the rule book and put into Championships Policy and Procedures.

I think the evidence shows that the current system favors the regional team over the single club and that USMS should try to restore that balance. And, of course, any improvements to correct the wording is greatly appreciated. I personally use the words club and team interchangeably, and I should be more careful (exact).

michael

MegSmath
September 13th, 2007, 02:30 PM
Michael, I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted that you have included Swim Kentucky in the list of large regional clubs (since I know you and like you, I'm going to choose to be flattered!). Yes, we do have a membership of around 500 swimmers, but most don't compete. At the last Nationals, we had exactly seven swimmers. That is a fairly typical turnout for us. We do muster more than that when Nationals is within driving distance, as it was a few years ago in Indianapolis. But for the most part, we are no threat to Walnut Creek or the Olympic Club. In reality, whatever scoring rules are in effect, we are unlikely to come home with a banner.

Meg

michaelmoore
September 13th, 2007, 04:24 PM
Meg:

All I did was take the 2006 EOY List of clubs and compared that list (with the number of swimmers) to Walnut Creek and The Olympic Club. It is only a list of what is (well actually what was as of eoy 2006)

We both know most Masters do not compete, but for purposes of defining rules, we have to establish some boundaries. Please feel free to take your wack at it. The information I had was the number of swimmers on the club, everyone is struggling to find some definition

I have seen only two ways to establish teams, the first is by the number of swimmers that are registered with the club. The other is the number of swimmers that are competing. Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

I think there should be a way to break out the large regional clubs from the single pool/single management clubs. What we have now is not working very well for the single pool/management clubs.

If we should be supporting more the single management clubs, then we should change the scoring system at nationals. IMHO


michael

matysekj
September 13th, 2007, 04:49 PM
Michael,

I have no problem with trying to define the regional teams and having separate categories for them at nationals. I think it's just a matter of how you define them, and I have a different approach to it than the Pacific proposal, one that also addresses another topic that I see as a deficiency in our code.

Many clubs across the country have their swimmers register with their LMSC as a member of a regional team, but the swimmer also indicates which of a number of workout groups in that club they represent. Such swimmers typically represent these workout groups in local meets, but then represent their registered club in regional or national meets. I believe this practice is contrary to the current rules:


201.1.2 ...Swimmers may register unattached or may affiliate with a club that is already registered... (note the lack of any mention of affiliating with workout groups)
201.3.2 In order for a swimmer to compete as a representative of a club, that club must be a member in good standing of an LMSC... (note the lack of any definition of representing a workout group or anything but a registered club)
202.1.1.F(5) A swimmer's valid affiliation and age must be displayed after the name on the heat sheet or in the program. (note that according to this, you must show the club affiliation, not the workout group affiliation)
Article 501: (There is no mention of any membership entity in USMS relating to a workout group. The official recognition of group entities stops with clubs. I believe this says that USMS code does not recognize the existence of workout groups, so we should not be providing support for such non-entities)The actual practice of many LMSC Registrars is to ask for the workout group affiliation when swimmers register, and log this in the registration database. Since we are working on an online registration system, this practice is being standardized so that it will be available to LMSCs/clubs across the country through a unified interface (although not required). I have a bit of a philosophical problem with that. Why are we expending effort for an entity type that doesn't exist in the USMS rule book membership categories?

I believe a solution to this situation can be applied to the national championship team scoring issue. If we were to add to our rules the definition of workout groups as optional registered sub-entities under clubs, then we would have an easy definition of regional vs. non-regional clubs: regional teams are those that have registered workout groups. We could also write into the code that swimmers can represent their workout groups in local events.

MegSmath
September 14th, 2007, 01:55 PM
Meg:

All I did was take the 2006 EOY List of clubs and compared that list (with the number of swimmers) to Walnut Creek and The Olympic Club. It is only a list of what is (well actually what was as of eoy 2006)

Understood.


I have seen only two ways to establish teams, the first is by the number of swimmers that are registered with the club. The other is the number of swimmers that are competing. Each have their advantages and disadvantages.

I understand this point too, although personally, I prefer number of swimmers competing at a meet. I can see that the arbitrary nature of establishing the S-M-L boundaries could be a problem, but on the whole, I think it's a fairer system than the number of registered swimmers.


If we should be supporting more the single management clubs, then we should change the scoring system at nationals. IMHO

It does not follow (to me, anyway) that USMS should be supporting the single management clubs more than the regional clubs. USMS is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Not every LMSC has the population density that California does. The regional model works very well for Kentucky because we have swimmers living in the boondocks who would have no teammates otherwise. Not really necessary for clubs in large metropolitan areas. I think the name of the game is serving the swimmers' needs.

As Rob said, what is really at issue is a fair system for scoring at nationals, not a definition of what constitutes a club.

Meg

michaelmoore
September 14th, 2007, 05:50 PM
As Rob said, what is really at issue is a fair system for scoring at nationals, not a definition of what constitutes a club.

For "team" scoring, one has a group of individuals who come to nationals as a group - how we define that group is part of the exercise that we are going through here.

Article 104.5.6.B talks about club scoring. What we have is really is what constitutes a "fair" (and yes I cannot tell you how many times I have told my daughter life is not fair) club against a fair club. I think that we acknowledge there are two ways of doing it - one is SML and the other is to separate out the regional club (an amalgamation of people from an LMSC who generally would have no reason to see each other except when competing at Nationals or World from the individual single management club (an amalgamation of individuals who practice a realtively the same place if not the same time who may see each other and compete on the same team at Local championships, Nationals and Worlds).

If we are going to go back to SML Club scoring then we do not have to make any changes to Section two of the Rules. If we are going to regional club versus a single management club, then we must make changes to section two. (Or take the entire club scoring out of rules and let the Championships Committee decide it).

I have no objection to going to either sml or regional /single club. I also have people in my LMSC who have played Fantasy Relay Team Swimming on Team Pacific to see if how many records could be set.

michael

Rob Copeland
September 14th, 2007, 08:56 PM
If we wish to talk about issues of fairness, I would submit that it is more unfair to score teams with professional full time coaching staffs vs. those without, than it is to compare regional vs. non-regional teams.

If we go s-m-l, xxs-xs-s-m-l-xl-xxl, regional-unregional, professional coach-volunteer coach or any other tabulation scheme; I still believe the awarding of banners at nationals does not belong in part 2. As Michael suggest this could be a championship policy; to facilitate this L09 (507.2.1 Championship Committee) could be amended to include “The committee shall establish the categories for club scoring at national championship meets.” Then strike 104.5.6B.

some_girl
September 14th, 2007, 10:33 PM
It seems to me that if you don't live in a dense or swimming-rich region, neither scheme is going to suit you super well: that's just geography.

However, looking through the Top Ten relay results, it seems to me that the clubs' dilemma is plain. If you check out the 200 relays (which are swum at Nationals) v. the 400 relays (which are most likely to be swum fast at zones/regional meets), the advantage of being able to draw from an entire state is plain. The 200 results are full of regional teams. The 400s not so much. I would suggest that one reasonable interpretation of this is that is because regional teams are competing as workout groups at zones and broad teams at Nats. If you are a club that has developed a great program with true depth, it is a little hard not to feel "robbed" by people who are not really on the same team.

Doing the division based on how many are at a meet, is thus not particularly fair, as any regional team is more likely to be stacked.

And I think it does benefit USMS to encourage strong clubs over workout groups. They provide a stability and range of options that smaller groups cannot, and that can only benefit an area's swimmers.

michaelmoore
September 15th, 2007, 06:18 PM
If you check out the 200 relays (which are swum at Nationals) v. the 400 relays (which are most likely to be swum fast at zones/regional meets), the advantage of being able to draw from an entire state is plain.

Interesting way to look at it. I looked at the 2006 scy season. The regional teams scored over 50% more top tens than the clubs when comparing the 400 to the 200s. I would have never thought to look at top tens without your comment.

I would submit that it is more unfair to score teams with professional full time coaching staffs vs. those without, than it is to compare regional vs. non-regional teams.

Interesting proposition. A couple of thougthts:

We want to have professional coaching and coaching staff, do you really want to have its own class?

Who is going to decide who is a full time coach? Is it Masters only? what if the coach is also a triathlon coach? or an age group coach? Does s/he have coach 100 Masters or a significant portion? I would also think that if passed it should be the executive committee who would make these determinations. ;-)

michael

Swimmer Bill
September 25th, 2007, 09:55 AM
This proposal reminds me of the FINA age determining rule because I’ve always wondered if that rule was written by someone with a December birthday.

:2cents: