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Meet Director's Path to Tranquility

Measure For Measure

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"Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top"
-Dag Hammarskjold
The second step in getting the meet off the ground this year was to submit our application to the LMSC for a sanction. In the first year, the George Washington Rec Center pool needed to be measured to verify the length, since to our knowledge, there were no USA measurements on file. Some pools have USA Swimming measurements on file, making this step unnecessary. The LMSC loaned a long tape to us for the purpose. There were no real instructions on how to do this as I recall, except that the length of each lane needed to be recorded, gutter to gutter at the water surface.

Oh, what a pain. During our measurement, the tape was consistently pulled tight for a measurement and out of someone's hands. Then, we stretched it across a few floating kickboards. Several people would need to hold the kickboards in one place ot keep them and the tape from floating out of line.

Of course we were getting a longer measurement than the pool actually was, with the sagging between boards. So, we started with the kickboards lined up, then gradually took them away to get a tight level tape and took the readings. What surprised me was the fact the at the measurements varied by an inch or more from lane to lane. All lanes measured out a bit longer than the 75 feet requirement, but a few by only a couple of Michael Phelps butterfly finishes.

We only measured lanes #2-7 that we planned to use in the meet. Information was submitted to the LMSC, and the pool's measurement record was accepted into the file. If we wanted to use lane 1 in the future, we would need to measure that lane I assume, and revise our pool measurement record. Measure all lanes in the pool, even if there is no plan on using them in competition, allowing their possible use in the future. This year, when we submitted our sanction request, we only noted that the pool was measured in the past and the results were on file.

In the first meet, we copied the sanction language exactly as the USMS Rule Book stated. However, the LMSC sanction chairperson had other ideas. She wrote back that she wanted it stated a little bit differently. I guess it was personal preference. We have used her language in all meet entries since.

  • Plan on lots of time to measure a pool using a tape, and have floating kickboards ready.
  • Measure all lanes in a pool, even if you do not plan on using them in competition.

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Updated November 10th, 2009 at 07:02 AM by Rnovitske



  1. tjrpatt's Avatar
    Ray, use noodles to measure the pool next time. It is so much easier! Stick the tape in the noodle hole and you are good to go. I have 8 to 10 inch pieces that I cut up or it is not too bad to stick in with the full length one. Bulkhead pools are a pain in the neck because you have to do multiple measurements with each session.
  2. Rnovitske's Avatar
    That's a great idea. I suggest that pool measurement forms that explain what has to be measured include some tips (like this) on how to do it. Maybe there are other tips out there.