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Thread: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

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    Participating Member webgal's Avatar
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    Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    A quick question for all of you:

    Our state meet is taking place this weekend. The meet entries were cut off last Sunday at 6p.m. The psych sheet was available mid-Monday. About 24 hours later, one of our swimmers found a way to get herself into the meet, despite there being a very strict stipulation regarding no late entries.

    She "conveniently" put herself in races where she would place first place without a doubt. In two of the races, she actually knocked her fellow teammates down from first place to second.

    Keep in mind that this is not the first time this person has done this, and it should be noted that she repeatedly stated her goal to get "high point" at the meet. According to numerous conversations, she knew she had "missed" the deadline, but failed to seek entry until AFTER the psych sheet came out.

    When our coach was notified of this, his reaction was basically, "It's just your time that counts, so I wouldn't worry about points." However, this obviously affects not only the swimmers on her team who were screwed, but other swimmers and other teams who may also be trying to get high point status.

    Am I wrong in thinking that this is deceptive at best, and a very clever and manipulative use of a loophole that allows a swimmer to have a very unfair advantage? Is this what USMS has become - winning at any cost? Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing?

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by webgal View Post
    A quick question for all of you:

    Our state meet is taking place this weekend. The meet entries were cut off last Sunday at 6p.m. The psych sheet was available mid-Monday. About 24 hours later, one of our swimmers found a way to get herself into the meet, despite there being a very strict stipulation regarding no late entries.

    She "conveniently" put herself in races where she would place first place without a doubt. In two of the races, she actually knocked her fellow teammates down from first place to second.

    Keep in mind that this is not the first time this person has done this, and it should be noted that she repeatedly stated her goal to get "high point" at the meet. According to numerous conversations, she knew she had "missed" the deadline, but failed to seek entry until AFTER the psych sheet came out.

    When our coach was notified of this, his reaction was basically, "It's just your time that counts, so I wouldn't worry about points." However, this obviously affects not only the swimmers on her team who were screwed, but other swimmers and other teams who may also be trying to get high point status.

    Am I wrong in thinking that this is deceptive at best, and a very clever and manipulative use of a loophole that allows a swimmer to have a very unfair advantage? Is this what USMS has become - winning at any cost? Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing?
    I lost a State Meet while coaching because someone did something similar (was scratched during the scratch down period, then re-entered in the event after final psyche sheet was released). In my case, it was due to someone who knew nothing about swimming, but was in charge of AAA (the high school sports governing body in Arkansas), deciding what was in the best interest of the SWIMMER (the swimmer didn't make this mistake, the coach(es) did). While on the one hand I can respect that, on the other, the person had no idea that doing this would cause a ripple effect, and my team went on to lose by 1.5 points (the swimmer in question won his event).

    I think what it comes down to is who is in charge and how well they want to enforce their rules. I am one of those people where if the rules say "You cannot do X," then I won't do X, and expect everyone else participating not be allowed to do X either. I also believe if I am one of the people enforcing said rules, that NO ONE should be allowed to do X. No exceptions (especially when we talk specifically about something like meet entries).

    It sounds like whoever was in charge of your meet had a heart, or a bribe, or just doesn't care that much one way or the other, and let this swimmer enter past the deadline. I personally don't believe in making "grey areas" where if you enter past the deadline but before the psyche sheet you can still get in. Meet deadlines are just that: deadlines. I used to shut teams out of meets for not meeting the entry deadline. It wasn't like the meet was only posted a day before. When this stuff is up and online for weeks and sometimes months, there really is no excuse. But certainly trying to enter a meet AFTER a psyche sheet is posted is just not right.

    On the other hand, maybe this swimmer had some personal family issue or medical issue that caused them to accidentally miss the deadline...then again, your explanation seems to shoot that possibility down!

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    Very Active Member ForceDJ's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    I don't really swim in meets...so I'm not really familiar with the registration/entry/seeding procedures. However...IMO...the person that allowed her to enter after the deadline should be held accountable. Have the meet directors explain why she was allowed to enter after the deadline.

    Dan

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by ForceDJ View Post
    I don't really swim in meets...so I'm not really familiar with the registration/entry/seeding procedures. However...IMO...the person that allowed her to enter after the deadline should be held accountable. Have the meet directors explain why she was allowed to enter after the deadline.

    Dan
    This too. I would ask for a full explanation. And don't settle for "because I said so." I always hated hearing that. Maybe it's the fact that I look really young (like a sophomore in high school...when i shave my beard), but that was the final answer I got in my issue, and the answer I got often times when questioning things like this. "Because I said so," is what I tell my daughter when she asks why she can't stay up and play for another 30 minutes past her bedtime. It's not an acceptable reason here. Hate being treated like a kid when asking a serious question!

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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Was this swimmer's team hosting the meet? If so, I have kind of seen something like this, but not as egregious. Local large team hosting a meet does as many teams do, puts out two psych sheets. An early one, and a late one. I can't recall the reasons for this meet, as there is no time standard to be met. Perhaps entries are due at 2 weeks, but may be modified up until 1 week. At any rate, one time after the psych sheet came out, for the second psych sheet, several of their swimmers had significantly improved times (that were "unofficial") which coincidentally bumped them up a couple of heats, and bumped down some local swimmers on other teams*. Host team kind of has that prerogative, and after a large shake up, that kind of thing has not happened, again. But it torqued off some parents of other teams, and other people just dismissed it.

    * It may have been timed finals events such as 400IM or distance frees. Don't recall. Would not have been prelims/finals as top 3 heats are circle seeded.

    But if the entry deadline passed and this swimmer had not swum any times that would change his/her qualifications, then they should not be allowed to enter, IMHO. The LSC should have control of that, but as I said, often the host team gets to make the rules.

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    aka Elaine-iaK & Aqua Dog ElaineK's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    I agree with Calvin 100% (in both of his posts)!

    Now, if I were the swimmer who got screwed by this type of thing, I would be
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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Would you mind posting where this meet was?
    It should NEVER have posted psych sheets and then still allow entries!
    A HARD deadline must be followed and then entries can be posted!!

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    Participating Member webgal's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    This was the Arizona state meet in Phoenix, AZ. As we got closer to the meet, it appeared that at least another swimmer was able to enter after the psych sheets were posted.

    I appreciate all of the comments above, and no, there were no unusual reasons for the person to be allowed into the meet after the deadline. She expressed her desire to achieve high point, even after telling someone that she missed the deadline. Getting high point when you are able to pick events based on who is already in them is a pretty easy thing to do, at least in a meet that isn't terribly large (190 or so swimmers).

    I spoke with the state chair and although she was helpful, she stated that because there were no particular rules relating to this (other than Standards of Conduct, which states that all swimmers, "shall conduct themselves with integrity and in a sporting manner."). I have been assured that this will not happen again, though how this helps me or the other swimmers in this particular meet is beyond me.

    As a result of her participation in the meet, and lack of anyone even addressing the issue with the swimmer, I pulled out. No big deal really, but if she's going to get her high point award, she's not going to do so on my back. :-)

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    Very Active Member gull's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by webgal View Post
    I spoke with the state chair and although she was helpful, she stated that because there were no particular rules relating to this (other than Standards of Conduct, which states that all swimmers, "shall conduct themselves with integrity and in a sporting manner.").
    Her conduct was unsportsmanlike, and she should not have been allowed to compete.

    I also believe that sandbagging and the use of performance enhancing drugs are unsportsmanlike, but I am in the minority.
    Last edited by gull; March 31st, 2019 at 07:12 PM.

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    Very Active Member aztimm's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by webgal View Post
    This was the Arizona state meet in Phoenix, AZ. As we got closer to the meet, it appeared that at least another swimmer was able to enter after the psych sheets were posted.
    The AZ state meet was in Tucson this weekend, not Phoenix. I've been seeing a few of my Facebook friends' posts about it. I'm also on an email list for AZ meet volunteers, and I received several emails in advance of the meet asking for volunteers.
    It was held at the U of A pool, which recently underwent a massive renovation....and sounds fantastic!
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    Participating Member webgal's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Yes, sorry, I meant Tucson. The pool is fine (I've competed there many times) but unfortunately they didn't spend any cash on the locker rooms!

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    Very Active Member Mark Usher's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    I had a similar thing happen to me recently. A swimmer in my age group who wasn't on the published psyche sheets magically appeared on the heat sheets a couple of days later. I wondered about it, but didn't question it, in part because his seed times were significantly faster than mine. I figured it would be poor form for me to complain about someone I had little chance of actually beating in he pool.
    The thing I see more often are swimmer who enter the maximum number of events and then cherry pick which ones to scratch after the heat sheets are posted in order to optimize their results.
    Another thing I see frequently are swimmers who sandbag their entry seed times so they can get seeded in earlier heats to get more rest time between races.
    Last edited by Mark Usher; April 3rd, 2019 at 12:37 PM.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by webgal View Post
    Yes, sorry, I meant Tucson. The pool is fine (I've competed there many times) but unfortunately they didn't spend any cash on the locker rooms!
    That seems like a pretty common thing - There's 3 pools in my area built in the last 5 or so years that have locker rooms that just don't match the size of the pools. I feel like sometimes the administrators approving funding for these pool projects don't understand correct design.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member orca1946's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Sorry about this experience! I hope the people that you spoke with adjust for the future?!!

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    Very Active Member Calvin S's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by JPEnge View Post
    That seems like a pretty common thing - There's 3 pools in my area built in the last 5 or so years that have locker rooms that just don't match the size of the pools. I feel like sometimes the administrators approving funding for these pool projects don't understand correct design.
    Like going into a men's restroom and there is 1 urinal and 1 stall...You advertised this place as a pool you want to host major events at. Why on earth would you build a bathroom off the deck that can only service 2 people at a time?

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    Very Active Member aztimm's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by webgal View Post
    Yes, sorry, I meant Tucson. The pool is fine (I've competed there many times) but unfortunately they didn't spend any cash on the locker rooms!
    My very first masters team was at the U of A with Jim Stites as the coach. Too bad that they didn't do anything to the locker rooms...from what I remember, the men's was a bit lacking (I did a triathlon in the pool there and I remember huge lines waiting for the 1 or 2 stalls).

    What did your coach say when you brought this up to them?

    I lived in AZ for 20 years and swam with masters teams much of that time. While they normally initially posted hard deadlines for meet entries, they'd often extend them due to lack of entries. It was quite common for a meet that began on a Friday to have meet entries go through Wednesday, or sometimes even the day before. There are so few people who register and show up at meets.
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    Participating Member webgal's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Yes, those are the same locker rooms. Pretty much the same as they've been for the entire 12 or so years that I have been attending meets there. My coach told me that it was up ME to bring it up to the meet director (the same Jim Stites). I also brought it up to the state chair who was horrified and dumbfounded that anyone would even want to do what the swimmer did. My coach's exact words were, "Well, what did you want me to do about it?"

    I don't think anyone would have a problem extending a deadline (although I would ask WHY have a deadline if you aren't going to honor it?). My first coach used to always refer to flight departure times when someone was late - the time is the time and they aren't going to turn that plane around because you were a minute late! Anyway, the issue really is that the intention was there to miss the deadline, wait for the psych sheet, and then enter accordingly. It's just slimy.

    With regards to the coach, I just hate people who won't take a stand, siding with liars/cheaters rather than what is right in some kind of misguided effort to keep the peace. In the long run, you're only going to display your lack of backbone and lose the respect of those around you. What could have been rectified by simply talking to the swimmer and ensuring her points weren't allowed has now turned into an enormous team-wide drama lasting a week and probably longer.

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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    I'm going to play devil's advocate. I think blaming the swimmer is misguided. This person obviously knew what they could do, and they took advantage of it to accomplish their goals. I'm not excusing it, by any means. But IMHO, all of the invective should be directed at the host for not enforcing the rules, thereby hurting those who follow the rules to a T.

    That said.......seems to me that pulling out of the meet is a bit like cutting off one's nose to spite their face. Do most masters swimmers compete just for the awards? Granted, I've not done a meet, yet, but I know that my kids would rather go to a much more competitive meet and swim against some great swimmers than go to a smaller meet and (one of them) be a lock for hte high point.

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    Very Active Member Mark Usher's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    Quote Originally Posted by 67King View Post
    I'm going to play devil's advocate. I think blaming the swimmer is misguided. This person obviously knew what they could do, and they took advantage of it to accomplish their goals. I'm not excusing it, by any means. But IMHO, all of the invective should be directed at the host for not enforcing the rules, thereby hurting those who follow the rules to a T.

    That said.......seems to me that pulling out of the meet is a bit like cutting off one's nose to spite their face. Do most masters swimmers compete just for the awards? Granted, I've not done a meet, yet, but I know that my kids would rather go to a much more competitive meet and swim against some great swimmers than go to a smaller meet and (one of them) be a lock for hte high point.
    Most Masters swimmers I know compete just to do their best, but I also know a few who are motivated by awards. I've heard folks complain that such-and-such meet doesn't award ribbons or medals or high point awards, etc. To each their own, I suppose.
    I know that my individual results are going to depend on who shows up for a meet. There have been meets where I swam a best time in an event and placed sixth, and others when I swam crappy and won my age group because nobody else showed up.
    Personally, my motivation in swimming is to be in the top 100 in my age group for the events I swim. But then again, that's a lot tougher to do in the 50 free than the 100 fly...

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    Participating Member webgal's Avatar
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    Re: Ethics, Sportsmanship, and the Quest for High Point

    I agree completely with both of your points, though it should be said that this swimmer has done this kind of thing before and has obviously gotten away with it. She even found a way to skew an open water swim that I was in, but that's another story!

    I only entered the meet because I am one of the coaches on the team and would have to be at the meet all weekend. I figured I'd register for the 1650 as a way to get an easy swim in since I would not be able to swim otherwise. My entry time reflected my rather cavalier attitude to the race. I actually pulled out of the meet because I would have been the coach on deck for the team, and therefore for the cheating swimmer. The thought of sitting with her under a tent for 3 days was not something I was willing to do.

    My other justification was that if she was gonna brag at practice about how she won the 1650, when people asked her how many other swimmers there were, she would have to answer "none". LOL

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