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Thread: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certification

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    Times invalidated because of pool measurement certification

    I, along with 58 others, swam the Southern LCM championship on 7/29-30/2017. We did so in the University of New Orleans Pool in New Orleans, LA just as we have for years with the exception of the Hurricane Katrina year and several subsequent years.
    My problem is that, when I checked my times of the USMS website, the times were in red with an explanation that they could not be used as official for records because the pool's measurement was not certified as it had a moveable bulkhead. I emailed Southern and asked why the certification had not been sent in and they replied that it had been sent but it had an error and USMS would not let it be corrected. This bummed me out as I had 4 top 10 swims and 5 Southern record swims for my age group.
    This seems to be an awful price to pay for the innocent, dues and event paying participant who has no control pool certification. All we know is that the bulkhead is at the far end of the pool, 50 meters, where it always has been for LCM meets in the past. There is nothing obvious that we can detect or correct to make the pool certifiable and there is no way to make sure the form is sent in correctly.
    There must be some way USMS can rectify this situation without invalidating the times of the swimmers who invested time and money in the meet.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsig View Post
    I, along with 58 others, swam the Southern LCM championship on 7/29-30/2017. We did so in the University of New Orleans Pool in New Orleans, LA just as we have for years with the exception of the Hurricane Katrina year and several subsequent years.
    My problem is that, when I checked my times of the USMS website, the times were in red with an explanation that they could not be used as official for records because the pool's measurement was not certified as it had a moveable bulkhead. I emailed Southern and asked why the certification had not been sent in and they replied that it had been sent but it had an error and USMS would not let it be corrected. This bummed me out as I had 4 top 10 swims and 5 Southern record swims for my age group.
    This seems to be an awful price to pay for the innocent, dues and event paying participant who has no control pool certification. All we know is that the bulkhead is at the far end of the pool, 50 meters, where it always has been for LCM meets in the past. There is nothing obvious that we can detect or correct to make the pool certifiable and there is no way to make sure the form is sent in correctly.
    There must be some way USMS can rectify this situation without invalidating the times of the swimmers who invested time and money in the meet.
    As someone who has had swims at 2 different meets not count due to measurement irregularities I understand your upset.Your situation seems worse if the measurement was OK, and the problem is bureaucratic.
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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    If this pool has been certified in the past, why would that certification suddenly change? Yes, they have to measure, but honestly this rationale should apply moreso for the short course placement

    Clearly it (the pool) has a history and a precedent set. One could reason that the bulkhead was locked into the fifty meter spot as it always had been in the past.

    Seems very unfair. The meet director evidently did you all a disservice, and should be the one trying to correct the wrong. Good luck wth that.
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Bobsig,

    I do hope alot of swimmers read this thread, so they can begin challenging Meet Directors to ensure pool length is certifiable. I am married to the USMS SWIMS coordinator, so I see alot of pool measurement forms. You would not believe how many pool measurement forms are submitted that make little sense. The info is written down and there seems to be no effort to make sure the numbers make sense. Due to many different designs, bulkheads need to be measured every time a meet is held in that pool. Just because the previous meet's measurement was acceptable does not mean the next meet will be.

    For your meet, there were questions about the pool measurement. The pre-meet measurement indicated at least one lane was short. The Meet Director should have either had the bulkhead moved or informed all swimmers that times would not count for Top Ten. They did not. The after-meet measurement showed that at least one lane was short. Believe me, a huge effort was made in an attempt to accept the times. But, in the end and after much discussion, the Rules Committee made the decision to NOT accept any times.

    If you think about Southern saying the "the measurement had been sent in with an error and USMS would not allow it to be corrected," you will see the problem with that logic. The Meet Director should have fixed the bulkhead and re-measured. I am guessing the MD did not really think about it and just sent it through as if simply doing the measurement met the requirement - even if it was short. The Meet Director (and others) made a mistake and 58 people are paying for it. USMS is the not problem here - the lack of attention-to-detail by the Meet Director is.

    If I were in your position, I would be just as dissatisfied as you. In my opinion, you should get your money back because the Meet Host should have done better. They should know if the pool is legal in advance of the meet. If the first measurement is short and they cannot fix it, they should notify all swimmers before the meet begins. If swimmer(s) decide not to compete they should get their money back.

    Now, the nuance is that the meet info does give the Meet Director an out because the meet info states that it is a bulkhead pool. As a swimmer, you should pressure the meet director to refund your entry fees because the pool was not of legal length.

    Good Luck - I do feel your pain.

    Paul Windrath

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Paul, thank you very much for your answer and explanation of the thinking that went into the decision to not certify the pool and subsequently the results of the meet. There are a bunch of questions that I have that I would like to pose:
    1. Does USMS take into consideration that the race director was retiring after the meet and might not have a lot of incentive to do the right thing by the athletes in the meet?
    2. The bulkhead in question is a solid bulkhead across all 8 lanes and the measurement should be skewed in more than one lane as, logically, the bulkhead would be on a bias and more than one lane would be affected?
    3. Did USMS check times to see if they were affected by the alleged shortened lane? I swam in lane 1 thru lane 7 and my times are about what I would expect in all lanes. Lane 8 was used for warm up and warm down.
    4. If one lane was affected, why aren't the times in the other lanes ok?
    5. If USMS knows there is a problem prior to the meet, why can't they send an email blast to participant or post something on the website? There is not only the entry fees but there a large number of participants from out of town who rented hotel room and traveled decent distances to the meet. It was also one of the longest meets I have attended as there was a computer breakdown and I spent almost 8 hours at the venue on the first day.
    I know this is quixotic but I just had to rant as I am frustrated and have lost my thirst for competitive swimming and USMS.

    Bob Sigerson

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Bob -

    Let me try to answer, based on my personal opinion and not speaking for USMS, with the input from my better half - the SWIMS coordinator:

    1) USMS had no knowledge that the Race Director was retiring nor, in imho, should that have any bearing on the decisions that person made. If it did, shame on them for being Race Director. Retirement should not affect how the Race Director did their job.
    2) This was part of the problem since there were only measurements on the inner and outside lanes. Since the middle lane was short and the outer lanes were ok, there was no way to determine if the other lanes were of certifiable length.
    3) It is not USMS's responsbility to check to see if times were affected or not. There is no way that this can be checked nor factored into the decision.
    4) Because of the lack of individual lane measurements, there was no way to determine if some lanes' times could count.
    5) USMS does not know any of this prior to the meet because all of the info is submitted sometime after the meet. The responsibility falls entirely on the Meet Host to measure and communicate as needed. Mary Beth received the pool measurements in October. You can see how there is little USMS can do except deal with it after-the-fact which reinforces the Meet Host's responsibility to do it correctly in the first place.

    As I answer you, I think back to 1994 when I set a world record in the 200 back and it almost did not count because of how the event was titled. I would have been devastated if it had not counted. So, I really feel your pain. But, as I mentioned a number of times, the responsibility for the pool being legal falls entirely to the host organization and the LMSC. There is nothing USMS can do except deal with the problem after-the-fact.

    Although I had no direct responsibility for answering your post, I decided to respond because masters swimmers should NOT assume the pool is legal when bulkheads are involved. Although the Meet Host should take the lead in assuring the swimmers that the course is of legal length, they often do not take this aspect seriously. Thus, the swimmers should pressure the Meet Host to make sure it is legal.

    Now, going into the detail a bit. The middle lane was measured three times during the meet (before, after the first session, and end) and was short all three times - by as much as 1/4". While this may seem inconsequential, short is short.

    Now, tongue-in-cheek, I have often said that USMS should have a fudge factor for short pools. This fudge factor would be applied to times so that swims can count - even when swum in short pools. No one seems interested in my solution to the "short pool" issue.

    I wish my response could mitigate your frustration, but I know it can't. And, I doubt it is any consolation that this meet caused considerable stress on Mary Beth because it meant times would not count. At most, I hope this demonstrates that many factors went into the decision. Too bad, the meet host was NOT proactive when this whole thing could have been prevented.

    I do hope, for USMS' sake, that you will compete again in the future.

    Respectfully,

    Paul Windrath

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    I will add a meta-comment. I was the Top Ten Recorder for Illinois Masters for a few years, and found Mary Beth Windrath to be nothing but helpful. Knowing nothing else about this particular situation, I'm confident Mary Beth would have done everything possible to try to make things work out.
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
    If this pool has been certified in the past, why would that certification suddenly change? Yes, they have to measure, but honestly this rationale should apply moreso for the short course placement

    Clearly it (the pool) has a history and a precedent set. One could reason that the bulkhead was locked into the fifty meter spot as it always had been in the past.

    Seems very unfair. The meet director evidently did you all a disservice, and should be the one trying to correct the wrong. Good luck wth that.
    I was thinking the same thing. Is it possible for a pool's measurement to ever change? But then I thought about the moveable bulkhead. And I suppose that IF a new bulkhead were obtained, and the original certified one had been replaced...although the new one gets moored to the same fixtures...the new one might actually have a different measurement. But...in a pool with no moveable bulkhead...seems to me that once it's certified that it's certified for life.

    In cases such as what happened with the OP's results...if the pool was advertised as certified by the meet management...and then it wasn't...they should at least be required to refund registration fees.

    Dan

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Dan,

    You are correct about a pool without bulkheads - once they are measured (every lane) and confirmed each lane is legal, the pool is put on the list of pools that are legal. Now, the devil is in the details - how many pads are being used compared to when the measurement was done. And, if there are any future renovations that affect the pool dimensions, a new measurement is required.

    Pools will bulkheads offer many challenges since all bulk heads are not created equal. There are pin-in-place ones, ones that hold in place by other means, ones that sit on the bottom, sturdy ones and narrow flimsy ones. I have seen narrow, flimsy ones become shorter in the middle lanes because the lane lines were really tightened. It can be as much as 2-3" shorter in the middle.

    Tweaking can take place in any bulkhead pool. I have seen bulkheads tweaked and re-measured 2-3x to get it as short as possible and still legal.

    Then there are issues when using pads at each end vs one end because some bulkhead pools are legal with one, but not two pads in place.

    Measurements need to be done before, after each session, and at the end of the final session because bulkheads can move based on tightness of the lane lines, etc.. A pool might be legal at the beginning of the meet, but not at the end. If the measurements are not done completely, issues develop. And, once the meet is over and even a day passes, re-dos are not possible.

    Then, you have steel tape vs laser and the skill of the operator. I have seen pool measurements where one lane is 3-4" longer than the one next to it. Or, the entire pool is 6" long. These were operator error. Obvious operator errors leave one wondering about any measuring accuracy at those meets.

    Because bulk head pools have so many challenges, it is important that meet hosts understand the consequences of poorly conducted measurements. Many do understand. Unfortunately, there are many who do not. The swimmers are ones who suffer when measurements are not done properly.

    So, the best advice to masters swimmers is know the rules and, when you race in a bulkhead pool, ask the Meet Host BEFORE & AFTER if the pool is/was legal.

    Good Discussion.

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    It all seems very contradictory in how it is measured. I agree if the M D knew before the meet that lanes were short, then it is upon the meet to refund fees! or should have posted this before the meet started by the lane assignments.

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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    These move-able bulkheads should ideally be retro-fitted with some sort of pin - to be locked into the deck surface in the exact location, each and every time the length is being changed over to new course dimensions.

    Not only would this guarantee a certified pool measurement, but it would alleviate the concern that the bulkhead would have shifted after several hours of being pushed against during competition.

    Some bulkheads indeed seem to have some "flex" in the center, especially in the ten lane pools. Surely there must be a way to prevent any give over time. The center lane lines should be triple checked for a vary taut connection to ensure that the middle lanes aren't off by an inch or so.

    All this to say - it's very unfortunate to see this happen to the OP. Meet directors should be more pro-active about the seriousness of having a legitimate competition pool.

    ...this thread from many years ago shed some light on the issues. It's interesting to consider that even a few inches of play could result in a thirteen foot difference over a 1,000 meters. http://forums.usms.org/showthread.ph...th-Measurement
    Last edited by quicksilver; December 26th, 2017 at 12:39 PM.
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Quote Originally Posted by quicksilver View Post
    These move-able bulkheads should ideally be retro-fitted with some sort of pin - to be locked into the deck surface in the exact location, each and every time the length is being changed over to new course dimensions.

    Not only would this guarantee a certified pool measurement, but it would alleviate the concern that the bulkhead would have shifted after several hours of being pushed against during competition.
    The bulkhead at my home pool has exactly this sort of pin, and four corresponding holes on either side of the deck at 25y and 50m. Plus the bulkhead itself must weigh half a ton at least, so it is virtually impossible for the distance to be off. Nevertheless, as Top Ten recorder for my LMSC, I dutifully measure the pool several times a year. My shaky laser measurements are more likely to produce a bad result than the bulkhead itself. There must be lots of pools like this, or with other means of assuring the correct placement. I respectfully suggest--and Paul, please pass this on to Mary Beth and the appropriate authorities--that each LMSC be allowed to identify pools/bulkheads that are similarly foolproof, and that times swum in these pools be automatically included in Top Ten without bulkhead measurement. Only in the case of a national or world record should a measurement be required.

    In particular, this would alleviate the uncomfortable situation where a Masters swimmer has to request that the Meet Director measure a pool in a USA Swimming meet, where the measurement requirements are not as stringent as Masters.

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Quote Originally Posted by bobsig View Post
    This bummed me out as I had 4 top 10 swims and 5 Southern record swims for my age group.
    Unless your LMSC by-laws or policies indicate that your records must meet the same measurement requirements, it is possible you could get them approved as LMSC records. USMS does not require each LMSC to maintain records or how they should do so. I would encourage you to ask your Top Ten Recorder or someone on the Board to consider such a request.
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    Very Active Member quicksilver's Avatar
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Martin View Post
    The bulkhead at my home pool has exactly this sort of pin, and four corresponding holes on either side of the deck at 25y and 50m. Plus the bulkhead itself must weigh half a ton at least, so it is virtually impossible for the distance to be off. Nevertheless, as Top Ten recorder for my LMSC, I dutifully measure the pool several times a year. My shaky laser measurements are more likely to produce a bad result than the bulkhead itself. There must be lots of pools like this, or with other means of assuring the correct placement. I respectfully suggest--and Paul, please pass this on to Mary Beth and the appropriate authorities--that each LMSC be allowed to identify pools/bulkheads that are similarly foolproof, and that times swum in these pools be automatically included in Top Ten without bulkhead measurement. Only in the case of a national or world record should a measurement be required.

    In particular, this would alleviate the uncomfortable situation where a Masters swimmer has to request that the Meet Director measure a pool in a USA Swimming meet, where the measurement requirements are not as stringent as Masters.
    Very interesting Doug - the pins seem to be precisely the kind of thing which should avoid constant checking and rechecking when it comes to certifying a pool with a moveable bulkhead.

    This post from the older thread goes to show that the askew placement can prove to be a very common problem...


    Quote Originally Posted by ljlete View Post
    For reasons that should be obvious, I need to not comment about most of what goes on here because one never know when one would be asked to intervene or interpret but I felt a story here was useful.

    For a number of years now, I have been officiating at the USA-S Sectional meet that one and now both of my daughters have been competing. A couple of years ago, I was pulling duty as the turn judge at the turn end during the 1000 Free on the first night of the meet. The meet was being conducted in a 50 meter pool with two bulkheads set at 25 yards. I sat down on the corner of the pool and looked down to watch the turns and quickly noticed that the bulkhead was far from being straight. In fact the bow in the center of the pool was on the order of 4-5 inches! (In the 1000 that amounts to over 13 feet difference.) At the time I was not one of the assigned crew, so I got the attention of one of them and explained what I saw. Now at least half of the event had already been contested. No one did anything and I didn't push it that night.

    The next morning, I went up to the Meet Referee and simply said "You have a problem". After he said "I do?", I brought him over and showed him the bulkhead. We then scrambled to do what we could. The first thing that happened was the double lane lines were reduced to single lane line that were only as tight as they needed to be. That took care of about half of the buldge. Prelims were run in that configuration. Between prelims and finals, the maintenance crew came in with two come-alongs, broke open the back of the bulkhead and pulled the two bulkheads together in order to straighten the competitive one. The meet then proceeded with what was close to a regulation course. Things like this happen and to this day, I wonder how many NCAA cuts were made in the center lanes of that pool.
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Bob, I understand your frustration in having top 10 swims invalidated. I've probably lost over 20 TT times over the past 25 years due to RD not submitting results and inaccurate pool lengths. I was also at the meet in question, spending two nights in hotels, meals, travel, etc. My goal was to get a NQT in the mile to use for SC Nationals in Indy. My 1500 meter time was 35 seconds faster than the NQT straight up and over a minute faster when converted from LCM to SCY. My question to USMS is: Am I going to have to go to another out of town meet, with the attendant expenses, when my invalidated time is easily faster than the NQT? Per Paul's earlier post, 1/4 inch per length comes out to about 8 inches over 1500 meters. Obviously it won't take me over a minute to cover those 8 inches. And no, I can't enter this event without a NQT per the meet information.

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    No, Karlene, you're good! NQT's are on the honor system! Congratulations! Check out this thread:
    http://forums.usms.org/showthread.ph...-for-Nationals
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    Very Active Member Karlene's Avatar
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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Quote Originally Posted by ElaineK View Post
    No, Karlene, you're good! NQT's are on the honor system! Congratulations! Check out this thread:
    http://forums.usms.org/showthread.ph...-for-Nationals
    No, per the 2018 SC Nationals webpage, "Distance Events (1000/1650) Swimmers may enter either the 1000 freestyle or the 1650 freestyle, but not both. Swimmers entering the 1650 freestyle must meet the NQT."

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Hi Doug,

    I had Mary Beth read through thread. She is not opposed to something like this although the post by "ljlete" from an old thread shows that errors can occur when bulkheads are involved. She encouraged you to write up a rule proposal to address what you are suggesting. I am glad that Bob S. posted this as it does demonstrate the challenges when bulkheads are involved.

    BTW - to all reading this. Mary Beth does not make up the rules regarding pool measurements. They are the domain of the Rules Committee and her job as SWIMS Coordinator is to follow the rules. There are times when she wants to "play" God and allow swims, but I encourage not to do that.

    Paul

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Hi Karlene,

    Sounds like you would blow the NQT away. The only situation that would cause you to be in trouble is if you entered and swam and did not meet the NQT. Your swim might not count in that case.

    Unfortunately, the question you asked has already been answered. The USMS Rules Committee determined that times from that meet cannot count. Technically, yes, you have to do the swim again. BUT, refer to my comment in the first paragraph.

    Paul

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    Re: Times invalidated because of pool measurement certificat

    Quote Originally Posted by Karlene View Post
    No, per the 2018 SC Nationals webpage, "Distance Events (1000/1650) Swimmers may enter either the 1000 freestyle or the 1650 freestyle, but not both. Swimmers entering the 1650 freestyle must meet the NQT."
    See Paul Windrath's post. You'll be fine!
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