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Thread: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Don't want to start a screamfest, but the controversial issue of "getting enough rest" between events led me to wonder --- how do you get an order of events that is somewhat uniformly fair?

    Since I'm apparently challenging John Smith for most annoying masters swimmer, I'll just say that I have been aggravated by the order of events in most of my recent meets. As a fly-backer-er, somewhat odd, it seems that those events are always close together. I guess the fly-breast or fly-free or all free combos are much more common. I have basically given up swimming the 100 IM and haven't swum the 100 back in SCY in 2 years. My last meet, the 100 fly and 100 back were within minutes of each other, and unlike Chris Stevenson and Jeff Roddin, I admittedly didn't have the chops to do both. At my Dec. taper meet, all my best events were on Saturday. At anther meet, all the 200s were in the first half of the meet and all the sprints in the second half, annoying almost everyone and causing a lot of scratches. I have also noticed the inequity between rest for freestylers and strokers. Folks entering the 5 pack freestyle (50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 or 1650), very common set of entries, always have adequate rest because these events are always spaced out pretty well. So it's pretty easy for freestylers to think others are whiney, since they never experience the rest problem.

    So how do you fix these inequities and get a fair lineup of events? At a minimum, can't meet directors change the order of events each year to attempt to provide some equity? Or have a 15 minute break scheduled somewhere? This would probably reduce whining and the apparently repugnant practice of sandbagging to get more rest. Since I only swim 5 meets a year or so, it'd be nice to attempt to swim reasonably well. Swimming more meets is just not an option. There's obviously no way to make everyone happy all the time, but it seems like the system could be improved.
    Last edited by The Fortress; April 21st, 2008 at 02:50 PM.

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    Very Active Member imspoiled's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Fortress, I feel your pain, but on a totally different level. For people who enjoy swimming a variety of strokes things are just as frustrating.

    Take, for example, our recent Colonies Zone meet (yes, it is the Colonies zone, not the Colony zone). On Sunday the meet ended with back-to-back 50 yd events. Why were the 50s not more evenly distributed?

    On a side note, why can sprinters swim up to six sprint events at nationals (three on the same day if they so choose), but swimmers who like both the 1000 & the 1650 (or 800 & 1500) can only swim one of these events even though they have them on a separate day as to not bore the sprinters? Talk about unfair!

    Clearly, meet directors are biased against distance swimmers, or sprinters, or fly-backers, or whatever it is we as individuals want to swim but can't due to the order of events. I agree with your point and changing the order from year to year could help the situation. Unfortunately, what's a great line-up for you (or me), will certainly stink for someone else.

    You want a really bad order of events, try this one:

    50 back
    50 fly
    50 free
    50 breast
    200 IM

    100 back
    100 fly
    100 free
    100 breast

    200 back
    200 fly
    200 free
    200 breast

    That's the approximate line up (the stroke order may be different, but all the same distances are grouped together) for the only LCM meet held in my local area. After complaining to the meet director the first time they did it this way, my solution to hating the line up is to skip the meet. Maybe poor attendance will cause them to shake things up in the future.
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    Very Active Pirate Blackbeard's Peg's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    As a meet director, this topic hits home! I have a group of 5 folks I ask about meet orders: sprinter, distance, flyer, backstroker and breaststroker, with some of us overlapping.
    Each meet we sit down to talk about the order of events to come up with something that would work best for the 5 of us, figuring we probably account for 98% of meet participants. Every meet is going to get at least one complaint about the order, but we tried our best to make things as fair for as many as we could.
    As for breaks, USMS doesn't have the USAS 4-hour rule, but we do still have time limits on occasion. For our zone meet, we moved things around to have a majority of our faster-moving events on the day we have to be out!
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    I've had surprisingly good results doing back-to-back events when the second event is short. So while I probably wouldn't do a 200 after a 50, doing a 50 after a 200 is something that I might find appealing when I'm filling out the entry form. I'm not a sprinter, so doing a 50 by itself is challenging since I don't get cranked up to maximum intensity quickly. But if I just did a 200 five minutes ago, I'm ready to sprint, even though I may still be a bit winded.

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    sprint diva The Fortress's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Quote Originally Posted by Blackbeard's Peg View Post
    As a meet director, this topic hits home! I have a group of 5 folks I ask about meet orders: sprinter, distance, flyer, backstroker and breaststroker, with some of us overlapping.

    As for breaks, USMS doesn't have the USAS 4-hour rule, but we do still have time limits on occasion. For our zone meet, we moved things around to have a majority of our faster-moving events on the day we have to be out!
    I notice you left the 5 pack freestylers off your list. They are apparently a protected species of swimmer.

    No, you can never make anyone happy and anyone who swims a variety of events will have issues from time to time.

    Not much you can do if the pool is unavailable after x time. But, for example, that wasn't the case at Colonies Zones, where the women's pool was way ahead of the men's pool, further exacerbating the rest problem. There could easily have been a break half way and before relays at the end.

    Dana: That is a truly bizarre order of events and I would not attend that meet either!

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    Very Active Pirate Blackbeard's Peg's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Dana,

    it goes 100s, 200s then 50s...

    Horrendous! I'd love to come up to DV to swim a meet - you guys always come down here. Seems to me like a half-hearted attempt to host an event in someone's memory.
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    Very Active Pirate Blackbeard's Peg's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    I notice you left the 5 pack freestylers off your list. They are apparently a protected species of swimmer.
    hehe, well, like I said, of the 5 of us, there's a bit of overlap.

    the CZ ladies could definitely have used a break in there, esp on sunday when we flew through the meet. but then you have the maleinists (opposite of feminists) who would argue for equality and a break over on the Men's side.

    At least they put the mixed relays first so the women wouldn't have to wait around for the men to wrap up.
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    My general rule is that I try to mix it up from one year to the next in the order of events. For my meets, with 700-800 swimmers, there are always going to be people who are unhappy with the order of events. My only hope is that if you don't like this year's order, that hopefully you will like next year's order better.

    If you're a fly/back/im person, here's what you would have experienced at our NE SCY meet this year:

    Friday:
    W 100 fly (ran 11:46 - 11:59am)
    (at least 45 minutes rest)
    W 100 IM (ran 12:44 - 1:10pm)
    (at least 30 minutes rest)
    W 200 back (ran 1:40 - 2:11pm)
    (at least 38 minutes rest)
    W 400 medley relay

    Saturday:
    W 200 IM (ran 1:13pm - 2:01pm)
    (2+ hours rest)
    W 50 back (ran 4:12 - 4:30pm)
    (at least 19 minutes rest)
    W 200 fly (ran 4:49 - 5:10pm)

    Sunday:
    W 400 IM (ran 9:00 - 9:53am)
    (3+ hours rest)
    W 100 back (ran 12:57 - 1:19pm)
    (at least 31 minutes rest)
    W 200 medley relay (ran 1:50 - 2:04pm)
    (at least 34 minutes rest)
    W 50 fly (ran 2:38pm - 2:51pm)

    Thing is... if you're comparing the rest obtained between the 5-pack of freestyle events to your events for fly, back and IM, you're comparing the rest pattern of 5 freestyle events to that of 9 stroke/IM events. There's just only so much rest you can get between 9 events.

    If you look at the stoke order of our three days:
    Friday: breast, fly, back
    Saturday: breast, back, fly
    Sunday: back, fly, breast
    ... we try to mix up the order. The only order that happens twice is back then fly, which happens on two days.

    We're certainly not biased against anyone. Heck, our meet is one of the only meets around where we don't put a cap on distance event times. We had one swimmer complete the 1650 in I think 63 minutes this year (he was seeded at 68 minutes). Just like every other swimmer in the meet, we didn't start the next heat until his heat was finished, and he got splits on the touchpad and on the scoreboard for the entire race. That's frankly a lot of "wasted" lane space for a big meet. But we allow it, so that even our most senior distance swimmers can complete their race. (We did, however, allow the other swimmers to get out of their lane. )

    -Rick

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    Very Active Member tjburk's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    It's pretty much a fact of life in swimming that you don't get to swim everything you want in one meet.....you just can't please all of the people all of the time!!!!!!!!!!
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    Very Active Member LindsayNB's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    In some of the smaller meets around here they have "choice" events so that you have two slots in which you can swim a given event, you could swim the 50 fly in the 50 fly or the 50 choice for example. Having multiple slots in which to swim a race means you may not get to race against someone in an event, but in smaller meets you can't count on racing someone of your own speed anyway. These have been a life saver this year as many of the meets seem to have put their free and fly events back to back and those are the only two strokes I seriously swim in meets.

    One thing I've been discussing with people lately is encouraging clubs to put on time trials within their regular workout schedules. The intent is to allow people who would not normally participate in meets due to time constraints to get official times. With luck some of these people might get addicted and start going to meets, and even if not they are getting better value for their membership. An option would be to have a schedule for these time trials and combine the results into a virtual meet sort of like the postal events but purely online. Again, you don't get the head to head racing unless you have someone in your club to race, but you get a chance to swim your events without travel time, without suboptimal event ordering, without endless heats, etc.. Developing the infrastructure for officials for these might also add to the general pool of officials for meets and experience gained might encourage more clubs to hold meets.

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    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    Don't want to start a screamfest, but the controversial issue of "getting enough rest" between events led me to wonder --- how do you get an order of events that is somewhat uniformly fair?

    Since I'm apparently challenging John Smith for most annoying masters swimmer, I'll just say that I have been aggravated by the order of events in most of my recent meets. As a fly-backer-er, somewhat odd, it seems that those events are always close together. I guess the fly-breast or fly-free or all free combos are much more common. I have basically given up swimming the 100 IM and haven't swum the 100 back in SCY in 2 years. My last meet, the 100 fly and 100 back were within minutes of each other
    It does sometimes seem that the fly-back combination occurs together too much. At zones, I had enough time (maybe 30 min) between 100 fly & back but the 200/50 combination occured back-to-back TWICE in one day: first 200 back/50 fly and then 200 fly/50 back. Oh, and no women's heats between events. Unlike That Guy, I need more than 5 minutes after a 200 before I'm ready to swim a 50.

    As long as the event order is changed between years and doesn't always discriminate against the same stroke combinations, I can live with it. Plenty of good events to go around.

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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    If it makes you feel any better, Fort, fly-free is not a much more felicitous combination: the 50 fly and 200 free have a strange love for one another that is just not right, and the other distances end up back-to-back often too. I don't even know how many times I see the 100 free and 100 fly all nestled up as well (because really, who would think the same person would swim both?).

    Oh well.

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    Very Active Member mctrusty's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    As a fly-backer-er, somewhat odd, it seems that those events are always close together. I guess the fly-breast or fly-free or all free combos are much more common. I have basically given up swimming the 100 IM and haven't swum the 100 back in SCY in 2 years. My last meet, the 100 fly and 100 back were within minutes of each other, and unlike Chris Stevenson and Jeff Roddin, I admittedly didn't have the chops to do both. At my Dec. taper meet, all my best events were on Saturday. At anther meet, all the 200s were in the first half of the meet and all the sprints in the second half, annoying almost everyone and causing a lot of scratches. I have also noticed the inequity between rest for freestylers and strokers. Folks entering the 5 pack freestyle (50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 or 1650), very common set of entries, always have adequate rest because these events are always spaced out pretty well. So it's pretty easy for freestylers to think others are whiney, since they never experience the rest problem.
    I find fly-backers to be a much more common griffin than those "5-packers".

    Just my

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    Administrator matysekj's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Fort, I agree big time with one premise you've brought up: Meet Directors, PLEASE vary your order of events from year to year! I think the CZ meet has had the same order of events for 3 years in a row at GMU?? Like others have said, any order of events will cause problems for some people. I can live with not swimming x event at a given meet in a particular year due to the event order, but I hate it when it happens every year.

    I've sat in on some championship committee sessions where people were trying to come up with alternatives for order of events. Some of the guiding principles that I remember (correctly or incorrectly) are:

    • Don't put two events of the same stroke back to back (excluding the distance day in a 4-day format).
    • Don't put two events of the same distance back to back.
    • In a 4 day meet format with one day being the distance day, make sure there is at least one event of each stroke on each non-distance day (excluding IM's for LC meets where there are only 2 IM's).

    Nationals are different than other meets because of the 4 day format and the fact that there's usually enough swimmers entered, providing enough time between events to swim back to back events.

    I don't think that the lack of back to back freestyle events in meets indicates a bias towards the 5-pack freestylers. You also don't see back to back fly events or back to back breast events, do you? They're following the same guidelines across all strokes. There's just more freestyle events.
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    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    The best way is, for a given meet, to come up with one or two "alternate" orders of events. Then submit those to the meet director, with a request to rotate among them in future years.

    For your Colonies Zone meet, I would assume that you could ask someone to submit them at the next Zone meeting.

    Here is the order of events from the most recent Colonies Zone meet. What would be your preferred order of events?

    Friday
    1000 Free
    1650 Free

    Saturday
    400 Mixed Free Relay
    200 Mixed Medley Relay
    100 Free
    200 Back
    50 Fly
    200 IM
    500 Free
    100 Breast
    200 Fly
    50 Back
    800 Free Relay
    400 Medley Relay
    200 Free Relay

    Sunday
    800 Mixed Free Relay
    400 Mixed Medley Relay
    200 Mixed Free Relay
    200 Free
    100 IM
    200 Breast
    100 Fly
    400 IM
    100 Back
    50 Breast
    50 Free
    400 Free Relay
    200 Medley Relay

    I'm sure there are others here on this forum who could offer some proposals, too.

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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Quote Originally Posted by matysekj View Post
    Some of the guiding principles that I remember (correctly or incorrectly) are:

    • Don't put two events of the same stroke back to back (excluding the distance day in a 4-day format).
    • Don't put two events of the same distance back to back.
    • In a 4 day meet format with one day being the distance day, make sure there is at least one event of each stroke on each non-distance day (excluding IM's for LC meets where there are only 2 IM's).
    The principles that I try to follow also include:

    • The 1000 free and 1650 free switch order each year
    • The women's and men's 500 free, and the 400 IM switch days each year
    • The 100 IM, 200 IM, and 400 IM are each on different days (one IM event each day)
    • The 50 free, 100 free, and 200 free are each on different days
    • For the stroke events (back, breast, fly), the 50, 100 and 200 of each stroke are on different days. Also, each day has a 50 of one stroke, a 100 of another stroke, and a 200 of the third stroke.
    • The 50 free, 200 free relay, and 200 medley relay are on different days (so there are three different days to swim a 50 free)
    • The 100 free, 400 free relay, and 400 medley relay are on different days (so there are three different days to swim a 100 free)
    • The 200 free and 800 free relay are on different days (so there are two different days to swim a 200 free)


    (Edit to note: This is for a 4-day meet, with one day being 1000/1650 free only.)

    -Rick

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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    you won't like my answer

    get involved with the politics of your usms region
    run for office get elected and be a change maker

    you could host a meet and select the meet order you wanted

    fair is hard to balance

    the national meet order stuck 4 of my best events together on the last day
    50 bk, 100 fl, 200 im & 100 fr
    I decided to skip the 100 fl & 200 IM

    the good thing about nats is that
    it's a big meet with lot's of rest between events

    so your event choices involve sacrifice

    I was very pleased with the meet order of the
    Longbeach Meet SCM I did in December
    each day seemed to be broken into 3 sections and one of my events fell in each section

    my suggestion is to swim several meets but space out your events at Nats to maximize your performance potential




    Quote Originally Posted by The Fortress View Post
    Don't want to start a screamfest, but the controversial issue of "getting enough rest" between events led me to wonder --- how do you get an order of events that is somewhat uniformly fair?

    Since I'm apparently challenging John Smith for most annoying masters swimmer, I'll just say that I have been aggravated by the order of events in most of my recent meets. As a fly-backer-er, somewhat odd, it seems that those events are always close together. I guess the fly-breast or fly-free or all free combos are much more common. I have basically given up swimming the 100 IM and haven't swum the 100 back in SCY in 2 years. My last meet, the 100 fly and 100 back were within minutes of each other, and unlike Chris Stevenson and Jeff Roddin, I admittedly didn't have the chops to do both. At my Dec. taper meet, all my best events were on Saturday. At anther meet, all the 200s were in the first half of the meet and all the sprints in the second half, annoying almost everyone and causing a lot of scratches. I have also noticed the inequity between rest for freestylers and strokers. Folks entering the 5 pack freestyle (50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 or 1650), very common set of entries, always have adequate rest because these events are always spaced out pretty well. So it's pretty easy for freestylers to think others are whiney, since they never experience the rest problem.

    So how do you fix these inequities and get a fair lineup of events? At a minimum, can't meet directors change the order of events each year to attempt to provide some equity? Or have a 15 minute break scheduled somewhere? This would probably reduce whining and the apparently repugnant practice of sandbagging to get more rest. Since I only swim 5 meets a year or so, it'd be nice to attempt to swim reasonably well. Swimming more meets is just not an option. There's obviously no way to make everyone happy all the time, but it seems like the system could be improved.

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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Oh, seeing Rick's post reminded me: this year at his meet there were two freestyle events together: the women's 500 and 100. And since the women always swim first (can you maybe reverse that next year?) it was a low rest affair for such a big meet. I definitely felt the 500 somewhere around 55 yards into the 100.

  19. #19
    Very Active Member ALM's Avatar
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    OK, here's one alternate (but admittedly not very well-thought-out) proposal. Feel free to tear it apart....

    CZ Meet, Proposal "A"
    ---------------------
    Friday
    1000 Free
    1650 Free

    Saturday
    400 Mixed Free Relay
    200 Mixed Medley Relay
    100 Free
    200 Back
    50 Fly
    400 IM
    50 Back
    200 Free
    100 IM
    200 Breast
    800 Free Relay
    400 Medley Relay
    200 Free Relay

    Sunday
    800 Mixed Free Relay
    400 Mixed Medley Relay
    200 Mixed Free Relay
    100 Back
    200 Fly
    100 Breast
    50 Free
    500 Free
    200 IM
    50 Breast
    100 Fly
    400 Free Relay
    200 Medley Relay

  20. #20
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    Re: What's the best way to get a fair order of events?

    Quote Originally Posted by some_girl View Post
    Oh, seeing Rick's post reminded me: this year at his meet there were two freestyle events together: the women's 500 and 100. And since the women always swim first (can you maybe reverse that next year?) it was a low rest affair for such a big meet. I definitely felt the 500 somewhere around 55 yards into the 100.
    That was probably the largest problem with our event order this year. What I can say is -- it won't happen again next year. Having those two events back-to-back (note - there was a 30-minute warmup period between them) was the only place we had two of the same strokes in a row. (But again - there was a 30-minute warmup between.) I guess I chalk it up to every meet has to make a compromise here or there.

    We've toyed around with having men swim first from time to time. We've especially thought about it for our distance day, and having the men's 1000 or 1650 go before the women's event. What we have found, however, in talking to people, watching behavior, etc., etc... is that unfortunately, swimmers at meets are really bad about following directions. They're really bad about reading instructions, etc. People go on auto-pilot, and do what they're used to and what they expect. So I fear that if we had men go first, everyone would get confused, and piles of people would miss events because they wouldn't have followed the instructions properly.

    -Rick

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