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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

Outrage No Mas

Rating: 6 votes, 5.00 average.
Enough dragging things out.

I want and need to move on, so I shall try to finish this Triptych of Outrage as quickly as possible. So here’s what happened:

1. After the Clarion University snafu/cluster**** last spring, I was determined to never again make the mistake of counting on a local meet to be sanctioned, recognized, or whatever else is required to have times count for Top Ten consideration.

2. Last summer, knowing I had no chance of affording to travel to Auburn, knowing furthermore that I’d be taking my son to college the same weekend as the annual U. MD meet where I usually swim my one USMS LCM meet per summer, I opted to go instead to another annual meet up in Cleveland.

3. This is in a very nice pool and used to be run by Jack Groselle and O*H*I*O masters. The one time I had swum it before, all my times counted.

4. The drawback, in the past, had been that it was a 1-day meet, which makes it hard to try for the free style quinella (50, 100, 200, 400, and 800).

5. But this year, to my delight, I found the meet was being turned into a 2-day meet, name changed to the SynergyFest Inaugural Swim Meet. It was officially sanctioned by the Lake Erie LMSC. Sanction number 18-072923111-LCM.

6. So I signed up, booked the absolutely cheapest hotel room I could find within driving distance, and signed up for the 5 offered freestyles (I will paste in my results at the bottom of this.)

7. The meet, unfortunately, was not terribly well attended, probably because they also scheduled a 2-mile open water swim in Lake Erie at the same time as the pool swim, forcing devotees of both to pick one or the other.

8. According to the meet’s predicted timeline (and I may be a few minutes off here, plus or minus), warm ups started at 9 a.m., the first event of the day would start at 10 a.m., and all the day’s events would be done by approximately 6 p.m.

9. Unfortunately, the actual timeline was more like this: warm ups 9 a.m., first even 10 a.m., meet over 10:45 a.m. It was absurd! The starter tried to drag things out a little bit, but with only one or two heats for most of the events, the amount of rest between swims was minimal.

10. On the second day (and again, please forgive me if the details here are a little off), I swam the 800, had about 40 minutes of rest, swam the 50, got out of the water, and was told the 200 would be starting in approximately 4 minutes! I saw on the event sheet that there was going to be a 200 backstroke/OPEN later on, and this would provide me with about 15-20 minutes rest before what is usually my best event. So I asked the meet judge if it would be okay to swim my 200 free then instead. I explained that I was really hoping to make a Top 10 time, and I thought having more than 4 minutes rest after my 50 (and earlier 800) would optimize my chances.

11. The judge okayed it. Again, I told him I was really trying to make a top 10 time, and I asked him if switching to the 200 OPEN would screw this up. He said no.

12. So I swam the 200, did reasonably well for me, and drove back to Pittsburgh, confident that this time, at least, I had given myself a fighting chance of picking up a few Top 10 times that would absolutely, 100 percent, no-snafu possibilities anywhere on the horizon, count—provided, that is, my times were good enough to count.

13. I will now paste in my meet results and the Top Ten results that were just certified a few weeks ago.

14. Please glance at these and then return for a final word or two about what happened.






The keen observer will note that my name doesn’t appear in the 200 in the TT list even though my time of 2:18.10 would have just squeaked me ahead of the legendary Larry Wood.

The keen observer will also notice that my name does appear in the 400, though this is very unlikely to last.

Why?

Here’s why.

When a forum poster pointed out that the preliminary LCM listings were up, I immediately checked to see if I had made any TT times. The area of the website read as follows:

2011 USMS Top Ten LCM for Men 55-59
This is a preliminary top ten listing for proofreading purposes only. Report any errors to Mary Beth Windrath.

Noting that my 200 wasn’t listed, I immediately emailed Mary Beth, who is an unflappably kind person with what seems like a thankless job—collating TT times and making sure they all comply with rules that people like me, evidently, have never heard of.

When I wrote Mary Beth, I was as confident of 100 percent vindication as I was when I told Mr. Glarow that I had, in fact, written down the correct answer of 5 on my math test, only to learn that he thought I had written an S.

Here is our email exchange:

Hi, Mary Beth,

Can you check the LCM 200 free in men 55-59? I swam a 2:18.10 something at the Synergy meet in Cleveland (which is where my other TT times came from in the 100, 400, and 800), but for some reason, the 200 was left out of the preliminary list.

Thanks for taking a look. From Event Rankings:

6 Thornton, James 59 2:18.10 1776 SynergyFest
Inaugural Swim Meet

Hi Jim,

Event 15 was 200 Open, which is not a valid event for Top Ten, so none of the times from that event can count. That's why you don't see it. Only distances and strokes listed in article 102.5 are considered for top ten and records.

Sorry about that!
Mary Beth

Are you kidding me?

It was freestyle! They never said anything about this not counting at the meet.

There were a total of about 35 people at the whole meet, so the events had approximately 5 minutes between them. I asked the guy if I could switch from the 200 free to swimming it in the 200 Open so I could get 15 minutes rest after something else I had just swum.

He said that was fine, never mentioned anything about it not counting. I only went there to try to get some TT times.

This is a case of where the USMS rules are just, in my opinion, utterly mean-spirited to swimmers who don't have the money to travel to big meets.

What is the rationale for this?

PS Sorry for seeming peeved, but I would have been 3rd in the 1000 SCY free, too, last year, but the meet got invalidated because of weird bureaucratic minutiae. I just feel the slogan, "We do it all for the swimmer," which I heard endlessly at the one convention I attended, is a total misrepresentation.

Jim

Hi Jim,

You're not going to like what else I have to tell you, but I wanted to give you a heads up. The 400 Open was also listed as an event in that meet and the swimmers show up in the preliminary top ten, but will be removed for the final top ten. If it's any consolation, the times still are showing up in the event rankings.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Mary Beth

Thanks, Mary Beth. You have been very kind about this, and I realize that with situations like this, you have a thankless job. I might write a vlog about this, but I will make sure to state clearly that you were extremely decent about it.

I just think it's an absolutely ridiculous rule and that they should come up with some other way to designate non counting swims--a 400 Fun Swim, for instance, where it's clear to the participants that the race won't count for anything.

My problem is I live in Pittsburgh, there are virtually no USMS meets nearby, so if I ever want to try to make the top ten, I have to drive to Cleveland or DC. This summer, I drove to Cleveland for the two day Synergy meet, which was clearly sanctioned, etc. So few people attended that there was often only one or two heats of each event. I think I swam the 50, then had 5 minutes before the 200, which I really wanted to try to make the Top 10 in. I asked the meet director if I could switch and have it still count, and he said yes.

I think there was a similar rational for the 400 Open vs. the 400 Free--no rest between events. And by no rest, I really do mean minimal rest. With only 35 people at the whole two day meet, it ran awfully fast. Warm ups were at 9:00, and the timeline said each day would end by 6 p.m. But both days the events were over by around 10:30.

All this comes on top of last spring's meet at Clarion, where the pool was measured, there were two certified officials, there was a USMS observer, etc. But someone failed to turn the paperwork in, so my personal all-time top finish in the TT didn't count either.

I just feel the rules are stacked in the favor of regions that have tons of USMS meets and/or swimmers wealthy enough to travel, pay for hotels, etc.

I shouldn't be so petty, but there you have it.

Jim

Hi Jim,

Small meets are always tough for everyone to get enough rest, especially if they really want to do well. For this particular meet, we've since notified the official folks about alternative ways to word the meet information, so that times would be valid for top ten. Let's hope that in the future they change the way it was handled. Unfortunately, sometimes we only really learn things the hard way.

If you have suggestions on how to get the word out about "open" or "Choice"
events not being valid for top ten, please pass them on. Or perhaps you have a suggested rule change.

Good luck at future meets.
Mary Beth

Okay, I am more or less spent. I only ask that someone familiar with the rules explain why “Open” events can’t count at least for freestyle. Obviously, you can’t expect a time to count if you are using fins or a pull buoy or an underwater torpedo sled. But are there really meets anywhere that allow such items? Assuming you aren’t using some illegal device, is there anything else that can invalidate freestyle (for example, does the 15 m underwater SDK limit apply to freestyle?)

I propose that in the future, the word OPEN (which many of us grew up thinking simply meant that the event was “open” to any age group) be changed to UNOFFFICIAL. Otherwise, it’s just too confusing to the odd individual like me who does not enjoy curling up with a rule book.

They say that “once stung, twice shy.”

I have now been thrice stung.

They also say, “a nerve struck too many times dies.”

I greatly fear my USMS nerves are dead.

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  1. jaadams1's Avatar
    I honestly don't know what to say, other than you handled it better than I may have!!
    I saw some meet entries for some meets up in B.C. Canada that had combined all the 200 strokes into an "open" event as well. I thought that was weird as I haven't seen that before. Maybe they don't have a lot of participation or something...but then for them to no be "official" later would suck, especially should you set some type of record in the 200 Fly under a "200 Open" division for example.
  2. pwb's Avatar
    Wow. That bites. I've never seen an 'open' event before, but can be sure I'll never swim in one unless I know I don't care for it to count.

    But, [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlBiLNN1NhQ"]Always Look On The Bright Side of Life - YouTube[/nomedia], you'll be 60 next year, the young stud-muffin in a new age group and all of this wisdom you'll use to your advantage over those already senile 63 and 64 year olds.
  3. pmccoy's Avatar
    When I wrote Mary Beth, I was as confident of 100 percent vindication as I was when I told Mr. Glarow that I had, in fact, written down the correct answer of 5 on my math test, only to learn that he thought I had written an S.
    Shouldn't the correct answer be 6 (which obviously Mr. Glarow would have confused with a 'b')? Or would that have taken too much poetic license?
  4. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1
    I honestly don't know what to say, other than you handled it better than I may have!!
    I saw some meet entries for some meets up in B.C. Canada that had combined all the 200 strokes into an "open" event as well. I thought that was weird as I haven't seen that before. Maybe they don't have a lot of participation or something...but then for them to no be "official" later would suck, especially should you set some type of record in the 200 Fly under a "200 Open" division for example.
    When I was a kid, they had all these AAU meets in my neck of the woods, and there would always be an OPEN division.

    These events always counted. What OPEN meant was that you could swim in it if you were too old to qualify for any of the younger age groups like 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-17.

    So OPEN was basically a bunch of college kids who came back to swim during the off season, plus the really precocious teenagers that hoped to beat them.

    OPEN, to me, has thus always connoted a high level of competition. In no way did it have even the slightest snifter of "this is absolutely unofficial because some meet director some place in the country might let people wear flippers and floaties while swimming freestyle."

    Oh, well.

    My fault, clearly, for not reading up on rule 102.83 subsection b part .iv as amended by the USMS HOD in the 2009 Mutiny over Ozark Swimmers Wanting to Leave Illinois but Somebody Didn't Want Them Too Bureaucratic Love Fest, or whatever section it was I violated in my layman's laziness at not keeping up!
  5. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pwb
    Wow. That bites. I've never seen an 'open' event before, but can be sure I'll never swim in one unless I know I don't care for it to count.

    But, Always Look On The Bright Side of Life - YouTube, you'll be 60 next year, the young stud-muffin in a new age group and all of this wisdom you'll use to your advantage over those already senile 63 and 64 year olds.
    Bites and Sucks!

    Actually, did you not know that Open swims don't count? I wonder what percentage of us are ignorant of this fact?

    I think underlying much of my bile is that there are areas of the country where 50 meter pools abound, 25 SCM pools are not uncommon back yard accoutrements, and 25 yard pools are neither filthy nor fetid nor Fran Crippen killingly hot.

    Those who happen to live in such regions have no shortage of bites at the Top 10 apple--a bad meet here, no hay problema in Southern California! We will simply try again next week somewhere else nearby that sports absolutely perfect conditions!

    But I suppose what we northeastern sewer rats do develop in way of recompense for our Amish mudhole swimming conditions and rarely-if-ever counting local competitions is a kind of grease slick that coats not just our grimey skin but our personalities, too! And this grease slick allows us to glide through the water in a way that our coddled betters may not ever fully enjoy!
  6. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by pmccoy
    Shouldn't the correct answer be 6 (which obviously Mr. Glarow would have confused with a 'b')? Or would that have taken too much poetic license?
    Excellent point! Mr. McCoy, I do believe you are a future Mr. Glarow in the making!

    5 = S

    6 = b

    OPEN = screwed

    Yes, indeed. It all seems so terribly obvious in hindsite!

    What a fool I have been. I apologize to any and all who will take my confession.
  7. Karl_S's Avatar
    When I was a kid, they had all these AAU meets in my neck of the woods, and there would always be an OPEN division.

    These events always counted. What OPEN meant was that you could swim in it if you were too old to qualify for any of the younger age groups like 10 and under, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-17.

    So OPEN was basically a bunch of college kids who came back to swim during the off season, plus the really precocious teenagers that hoped to beat them.
    Yup, that's always been my understanding as well.
  8. Kurt Dickson's Avatar
    Another less well-known idiom: "once bitten in junk, thrice shy."

    We never have much rest at meets here: I once did a 800 followed by a 1500 separated by one heat (probably also one of my finest moments in USMS as they were both top 3).

    I think USMS thinks they are USA swimming or something...too concerned with bs rules...in protest I think I will be sandbagging a lot in the future (when I can get away with it...not at nationals of course...learned that lesson).

    Maybe as protest you can do your next "open" event without a swimsuit...possibly dolphin kick on your back...while everyone admires the aerodynamic properties of your "unit."
  9. swimmerb212's Avatar
    I think the lesson here is that you need to turn your hometown into a swimming Mecca, and wait for the great meets to come to you, instead of having to go to them. I'm sure it's not hard, if Californians can do it, anyone can.
  10. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt Dickson
    Another less well-known idiom: "once bitten in junk, thrice shy."

    We never have much rest at meets here: I once did a 800 followed by a 1500 separated by one heat (probably also one of my finest moments in USMS as they were both top 3).

    I think USMS thinks they are USA swimming or something...too concerned with bs rules...in protest I think I will be sandbagging a lot in the future (when I can get away with it...not at nationals of course...learned that lesson).

    Maybe as protest you can do your next "open" event without a swimsuit...possibly dolphin kick on your back...while everyone admires the aerodynamic properties of your "unit."
    Dr. Duckson, as always, makes excellent points in a rat-a-tat-a-tat fashion!

    Once bitten in junk, thrice shy indeed! You are obviously referring to the possible spider bite but more likely sexual leprosy lesion depicting in an earlier vlog and nicely illustrated by this picture:




    What's more, I think the good doctor is subtly trying to convey the following therapeutic message to me:

    Jim, dearest elderly man-boy and non-delusional hypochondriac, as this picture so clearly shows, the lesion in your groin, once deep enough that I worried your leg would break apart at the seam, like overly worried metal, is now robustly healthy once more, the skin fresh and virgin once more, all's well with the world; and in your latest travails, too, this well-worn path from misery to resolution will be followed as always, now and forever more! Go in peace, young-acting elder! Nothing to see here, people. Move along, move along!

    To which I can only reply, Thanks!

    I will skip over your heroic Top 3 finishes on negative rest, along with your confession that you shall soon be resorting to borderline criminality in protest.

    Which brings us to point No. 3: the aerodynamism of my unit.

    How did you know?

    Or were you only guessing based on the speed conferred by a shark's dermal denticles and my unit's resemblance to same?

    Again, you are one perpicacious shaman, Dr. Dixon!
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Karl_S
    Yup, that's always been my understanding as well.
    Poll to date:

    How many USMS members think OPEN means

    A) a completely legal event that allows people to do different strokes of a given distance to save time in small meets

    B) a travesty that does not count in any official capacity whatsoever

    A: 2 votes
    B: 0 votes
  12. pmccoy's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton
    Excellent point! Mr. McCoy, I do believe you are a future Mr. Glarow in the making!
    Talk to the U16 soccer team from Albertville, AL I refereed for this weekend. Sure, I probably missed a critical call but a) I was blocked from viewing the play by one of THEIR players and b) they got a direct kick out of it that scored a goal anyway. But the little punk kid demanded a red card and his team was willing to argue with me about it. Once their coach entered the field - MY field - I'd had enough discussing the situation and snapped. I had been running non-stop for 90 minutes. I had been rained on. I had a cold... and yes, the team I coached hadn't fared particularly well that day. After ordering the coach off the field, I stared down the kid and told him in my nastiest voice, "you are 2 goals down with 10 minutes left and wasting time! I can end this game for you right now if you would like to continue arguing!" Even though I was outnumbered 12-1 (the other team didn't like me much either and wouldn't have helped me), the players all backed off in fear as the coach scurried over to the sideline to cower in his chair. I played the power card and it felt good. It wasn't about right or wrong. It was about MY interpretation of the rules. It was about justice through MY eyes. Yet they were so quick to dismiss my benevolence and demand I conform to their desires. I knew better. Give in once and all you hear is incessant whinning the rest of the game.
  13. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by swimmerb212
    I think the lesson here is that you need to turn your hometown into a swimming Mecca, and wait for the great meets to come to you, instead of having to go to them. I'm sure it's not hard, if Californians can do it, anyone can.
    Or I could just wait till the Coddled Californians run out of water, what little of it still exists diverted to water crops and power water cannons trained on illegal aliens, all courtesy of the California Republican Club for Vegetable Growth and Racial Purity.

    This will never happen in the Pittsburgh area. Even if we run out of actual water, there will be enough fracking fluid to fill our pools with germicidal (and possibly swimicidal) liquids for the next 10 thousand years!

    Come swim with us! Our motto: No need to bathe before jumping in. No germ can survive these pool chemicals.
  14. Allen Stark's Avatar
    I was at the NW SCM zone meet in 2001 where the pool was measured after the meet and it was 1 cm short(eliminating 3 TT swims for me.) This meet lead to a firestorm on the forum leading to our current rules for decorum.I also had one of my best 100 M BR SCM swims wiped out in 2003 when the remeasurement showed the pool to be 1 cm short in 3 lanes(so 5 lanes were "legal swims".)
  15. jim clemmons's Avatar
    Boy, Jim, I gotta hand it to you. No, not that!

    I mean you just make me glad every day I live here and not there. But if it makes you feel any better we've had a few similar instances of not crossing "t"s and dotting "i"s.
  16. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark
    I was at the NW SCM zone meet in 2001 where the pool was measured after the meet and it was 1 cm short(eliminating 3 TT swims for me.) This meet lead to a firestorm on the forum leading to our current rules for decorum.I also had one of my best 100 M BR SCM swims wiped out in 2003 when the remeasurement showed the pool to be 1 cm short in 3 lanes(so 5 lanes were "legal swims".)
    Allen, I have been watching PBS's excellent if somewhat hard to follow documentary series, Fabric of the Cosmos. As speed increases, time slows down. I am not sure exactly what effect this has on distance, but I think an educated feller like you could bamboozle the USMS bureaucratic rule mongering ranks with some quantum physics that proves mathematically how, at speeds as fast as your 100 m breaststroke, the pool itself elongates by at least 1 cm, rendering your time perfectly legal!
  17. slknight's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim thornton

    I think underlying much of my bile is that there are areas of the country where 50 meter pools abound, 25 SCM pools are not uncommon back yard accoutrements, and 25 yard pools are neither filthy nor fetid nor Fran Crippen killingly hot.

    Those who happen to live in such regions have no shortage of bites at the Top 10 apple--a bad meet here, no hay problema in Southern California! We will simply try again next week somewhere else nearby that sports absolutely perfect conditions!

    But I suppose what we northeastern sewer rats do develop in way of recompense for our Amish mudhole swimming conditions and rarely-if-ever counting local competitions is a kind of grease slick that coats not just our grimey skin but our personalities, too! And this grease slick allows us to glide through the water in a way that our coddled betters may not ever fully enjoy!
    This cracked me up tonight. It's so true. I don't think some of the truly coddled have any idea how bad swimming conditions are in other parts of the country. There are no 50 meter pools in my entire state! (I think we're the only state that can claim this honor). They actually hold the Maine State age group meet in New Brunswick.
  18. tjrpatt's Avatar
    Well, I learn something about USMS rules just reading your exploits. That is awful to hear. The meet director should have done better.
  19. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by jim clemmons
    Boy, Jim, I gotta hand it to you. No, not that!

    I mean you just make me glad every day I live here and not there. But if it makes you feel any better we've had a few similar instances of not crossing "t"s and dotting "i"s.
    Jim, you may be a coddled Californian, but you handle it very well. I think you are one of the few from your state that could thrive in the Amish mudhole swimming world of Western PA. Your mustache, however, would probably end up being dyed some kind of earth tone, a mix of dirt, waste, and benzene.

    It's why we look so young out here despite our rampant diabesity.
  20. jim thornton's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by slknight
    This cracked me up tonight. It's so true. I don't think some of the truly coddled have any idea how bad swimming conditions are in other parts of the country. There are no 50 meter pools in my entire state! (I think we're the only state that can claim this honor). They actually hold the Maine State age group meet in New Brunswick.
    Plus you are constantly being chased by lobsters! And you are constantly imperilled by Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome, which appears to be closely related to both Stiff Baby Syndrome, fainting goats, Hyperexplexia, and various other species of exaggerated startle response--all of which can lead to false starts followed by drowning!

    I think you guys, with the possible exception of Michael Ross, be given an automatic 5 seconds per 100 handicap subtracted from every swim you finish alive.

    http://omim.org/entry/244100
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