View Full Version : ESG Comments

July 27th, 2003, 07:24 PM
Looks like a lot of Masters Swimmers are reading the posts here. How about some of you readers posting your thoughts here. Any comments about the Empire State Games?

I learned a lot these last two days about why things were done a certain way and would like to share them here:

1. Why were the games in Brockport instead of Buffalo? The explaination I heard was that there was just not enough pools available with all the swimming events ie. diving, open and scholastic, and water polo. The real shame was that the Flickinger Center was booked for the weekend for Age Group Swimming. When the games come back to Buffalo this site should be included in the venues for use. Better planning has to take place well in advance to assure it. It is one of the best swimming facilities in the country.

2. Why did the first day of events start so late? The answer I heard here was so that those traveling from out of town would be able to travel at a reasonable hour, not spend another nite by having to come here on Fri. nite. While that may have been thoughtful at first look, I believe it ultimately caused more problems than it fixed. T he meet ended at 7:30 pm. and seemed to move very slowly. The 800 & 1500 free events should have been held in the morning and the rest of the meet could have started later. That way only those competing in those 2 events would have to come in a nite early, and there wasn't that many of them.

Anyone care to respond?

July 28th, 2003, 01:23 PM
Art makes a good point. By having them start later on Sat, they allow for people to travel, but they also make it more difficult to get there the next day. I know a few people that only swam one day to offset this or scratched a later event so they could head home a little earlier.

Not having food available (for purchase or for free) was a major oversight too. Someone probably could have bought a crate of Oranges, charged only .50cents/orange and still made a buck or two...

One of the other challenges is that the state runs these things (Niagara used to, but the State took them back over). This means politics can run amuck with the intricacies of running a good meet, and we as a USMS affiliate are not inclined to use our members dues subsidize the meet. As memebers you may have another viewpoint - write it out and post it here, or send it to Pickett Simpson.

There has to be more than ArtShark and I who checkout these forums from Niagara... anyone else with comments?

Marty Sochia
July 28th, 2003, 03:23 PM
This was my first ESG (at least since I worked the first games as a lifeguard at Burnet Park in 1978). I've also only returned to swimming within the last year, so I don't have much meet experience to compare it to.

Food definitely would have been nice, even if it were for sale.

Not having copies of the heat sheets was a universal complaint.

Saturday was definitely long. I think a good suggestion might have been publishing a time when event #3 would start (e.g., will not start before 3:30 PM) to give those not racing the two long events a more definite idea when they could arrive.

To the meet director's credit, the last event on Saturday was only running about 20 minutes behind the event start times that were posted at the beginning of the day.

Finally, what was with the lights?

July 28th, 2003, 11:39 PM
I heard that the lights were mercury vapor and when they get so hot they turn off to cool. Not sure about that though. Imagine starting a dive and that happens. Your right about the heat sheets too. This was my 5'th meet and it was the first time they didn't have them for everyone. And the ones they posted in the dark hallway were hard to read. Have to remember we're masters and not getting any younger.:)

There were some awesome swims and swimmers though, and thats what it's all about. Some of the winning times were impressive.

Whats the next big meet other than the LCM Nationals in August? Nickel City in October?

July 30th, 2003, 05:05 PM
I think heat sheets for each participant are important. We want to know how many heats are beween our events and who is swimminng in the event we are watching. I like to note split times along with final results. I often reveiw the sheets at a later time to check-up on swimmers I know.

If heat sheets can not be made available for each swimmer, then they should be posted in several areas of the pool, registration area, and in the locker rooms.

Beiing a wearer of bifocals, I have difficulty reading material posted above head height, so post them at several heights.
When heat sheets have to be posted, use a larger size type.

I would prefer an earlier start on Saturday.

The meet ran quite smoothly and I say thank you to all the officials, timers, and volunteers who worked so hard.

July 30th, 2003, 10:12 PM
One other item that I just found out from some friends that happenned to obtain a few items for me. There was no ESG merchandise at Brockport. The other venues had Yearbooks, posters, pins, and other memorabilia that would have been nice . Thankfully I was given a yearbook and pins from some friends. Well I guess when the venue is so far from the others that is what happens. I'll check the web site to see about getting a poster. Marty and Amy welcome to the Niagara region Forum. Hope to see more posts from you both, and some more new posters'!

August 1st, 2003, 01:27 PM
Even though I did not do nearly as well as the record setting "Shark" from Buffalo, I had a fun weekend.

I was one of the people in a long early race on Saturday, the 800 meter freestyle. I came nearly 100 miles from near Syracuse, and, even if I had left two hours earlier, would have departed at a very comfortable hour. With the exception of what most likely is a very small handfull of swimmers in those long events, just about everyone could get to Brockport by 10 am if they left at 7 am. Therefore, I agree that, if the same order of events is followed in 2004, they can easily start much earlier at 10 or 11 instead of 1, with the pool opening at 12 noon.

Nobody has mentioned this but another idea would be to take the last race on Saturday and run it first on Sunday. Of course, the swimmers would have to be allowed to be in more than 3 events in one day as they are currently limited.

The roster posted on the ESG web site was of little use other than to let people recognize friends that were attending so that they could make a point of saying "hello" (or, if they owed them money, so they could make a point of avoiding them). If they don't want to print up lots of copies of heat sheets, maybe they would at least consider putting the data in the rosters section of the ESG web site.

On food, I guess I get spoiled at the local meets that seem to always have (for a voluntary donation) bagels, juice, coffee, GU, doughnuts, but I was surprised that no nutrition was offered. I told the lady outside who was selling goggles, swim suits, caps, etc. that she would make more if she had some bagels. I jokingly offered one of the young timers, who had a very large Wegman's sub sandwich that, if she would give me a section of it, I would let her drive my loaded Mercedes. When she gave me a hesitant "no," I told her the truth, that I really only had a two year old Jeep.

Overall, as a poster person (perhaps like many of you fine ladies and men) for how to repent in later life for a misspent youth, it was a great thrill to hang out with all the great masters swimmers of the Empire State and to be at least reasonably competitive.

August 1st, 2003, 09:37 PM
Hi Lee! Glad to see you join the Forum. If we could get them to locate the ESG's on a major waterway you and your open water buddies could swim to them for a warm up. You're right on about the Rosters. At least list the age groups.
I think the Senior Games were better organized in almost every respect. I would like to see the ESG's adopt their procedures, and their attitude. The Senior Games made you feel like they wanted you there. More social activities and opportunities to meet fellow competitors. I particularly like the heats being set up by age groups. I think it would lead to more excitement and probably better times.
I agree though, it was great to see all the good swimmers. There were some fast times there. Dana Woody, Tom Meade, Rick Marchant, Dan Kornblatt, to name a few. They are something to watch.
What meets are coming up? Doesn't look like anything big for a while just small local meet's. I look forward to seeing you again next Senior, or ESG's, or if there is a good meet by you let us know here on the forum, maybe some of us can make the trip. No open water for me though. If there isn't a line to follow I get lost. Hope to see you soon.

August 7th, 2003, 07:55 AM
Hey Art,
The Lake Placid Swim, Aug 23, is a cable swim. That means there's a line to follow. Check it out at www.adms.org. Maybe I'll see you there, and I can REALLY tell you how I feel about ESG Masters division.

Starting a meet late so that 'travelers from afar' can make it, is ridiculous! Those comming from my side of the state would go up Friday anyway, who want to swim after spending 5 hours in a car!
My personal standards are, 2 1/2 hours OK, more than that, I'm sleeping (either at a hotel if the meet is attractive enough, or in my own bed). Masters meets rarely start after 10am. I think that's fair.

Anyway, it's this kind of bad media that keeps me away from ESGs. I loved them as a youngin, and would love to go back. If ESG doesn't change their 'attitude' towards the masters, I'll have to try out for the open division. But I don't know how comfortable I'd be, sleeping in a dormitory with a 12:00 curfew. I know I'd get locked out, oh, at least 3 nights.

Joe Bubel

Dana Gianniny
August 7th, 2003, 12:39 PM
Personally, I liked the late start time of ESG's on Saturday. It was nice for those of us who are not "morning people" to be able to sleep in and swim later in the day.

I've swam masters for the past 5 years and other than ESG's, I don't recall any other masters meet in Western NY that had a late start time. There are other areas of the country that do hold masters meets in the afternoon. This was a nice change of pace, both last year and this year for our ESG's.

On a different note, thank you to all of the volunteers who gave up their weekend to help run the meet!

August 7th, 2003, 09:15 PM
Hey! now thats better. Finally some people are posting here! Red Fox I went to the site for the open water swim. I didn't see anything about a cable to follow! Besides one mile! I couldn't swim that far unless I fell off a cruise ship and had to save my life. And the current better be helping me. Lake Placid is a an awesum place though. I wonder if Lee is thinking about doing that one. He's the open water guy. Heck he just jumps in the lake (Skeaneateles, forgive the spelling) right off his back yard dock.

Dana, I'll say this, if swimming later in the day could make me perform like you I wouldn't care if they didn't start the meets until midnight. Another great performance and great swim. It was my first time I saw you compete, and it is inspiring to watch you. I hope to see you again. It would also be great if you kept posting here so we could follow how and what your doing training and competing wise.

I also think the volunteers were great, especially on that very long first day. When I arrived at around 10:30 or 11 they were there setting up.

August 8th, 2003, 11:57 AM
Maybe I was alittle harsh, saying it was ridiculous to start the meet later. I forgot that western NY was more laid back than here in the east. ;) I'm only kidding!!!!

Art, it may not detail the cable. But I assure you, it's there, and it's the coolest thing following a line at is 3 ft under the surface in an open water swim. C'mon, you can do a mile. Besides, it's not the swimming we go for. It's the nightlife.


August 8th, 2003, 04:42 PM
Hey folks, sorry for not getting on to respond to my buddy The Shark's jokes and teases. But, I have been busy trying to earn a living so I can afford the entry fees, goggles, and swim jammers to replace those that wear out in about month from chlorine.

No, Sharkman, I am not going to Lake Placid. Too far to drive for a swim in the lake.

Yup, we do swim in Skaneateles Lake al the time. All the locals who want to do open water swims meet at our house Monday and Thursday evenings at 6 pm. For the unititiated, the arrogant and snobbish person that I am must now boast that Skaneateles Lake is the most beautiful of the Finger Lakes. That is mainly due to fact that it doesn't have a formal inlet, which type of thing brings a lot of foreign matter, fertilizer run offs and worse, into a lake. Second, we, like all the area lakes have zebra mussels. They are more a curse than a blessing. They make the water very clear, while at the same time coating rocks on the bottoms and clogging water intakes.

Skaneateles Lake, like all lakes, except maybe those natural to or man made in some totally flat land area, has a certain amount of watershed. But, Skaneateles Lake is spring fed. This makes it cold, like those in the Adirondack Park.

I will now tie this all in to the subject of interest, competitive swimming. Because the water is so clean, it is great to swim in. Because it is so cold, with sudden temperature drops when one passes over one of the many springs, a serious swimmer needs a wet suit even late in the summer.

We have all sorts of buoys, boats, docks, boathouse, gazebos, etc. accurately plotted by a Timex GPS watch with all distances running along the shore line from our dock. We don't go across because that requires one or more boats to corral and protect us. We all wear bright neon swim caps. And, when the lake is rough, we always "buddy up."

We have two courses that duplicate the Ironman 2.4 mile open water swim, two that duplicate the Tinman 1.2 mile swim

Many of the swimmers leave their wet suits on a big rack we have in our garage. Most importantly, we have a beer refrigerator in the garage. One of the swimmers is a beermaker at the Bud Plant in Baldwinsville, one is a nurse at the Bud Plant. One of the fringe benefits they get is a lot of free beer. So they help a lot of in keeping the fridge stocked. And many swims sessions don't end until we have replaced all the hops, malt and barley that a long swim has depleted.

The editor of the Skaneateles Press, a small weekly tabloid, lives nearby. I invited her over one night to cover those that were gong to do Ironman Lake Placid. We stuck her in a spare wet suit, and she started out with us. I think she came back after 200 yards. Anyway, she hung around, interviewed everyone, and has since written 2 stories, put in several pictures about the lake swimmers and wrote a great story about yours truly and Beth Sullivan at the ESG. Beth had a great meet, winning 5 of 6 events and setting 3 new meet records, even more than the Sharkman set. She, being our official "chronocler," will be at our annual swim/cookout/hops replacement event in September.

Whet your appetite? If so, you are invited any time you want. Simply let me know at lmichaels@adelphia.net.

August 8th, 2003, 11:09 PM
Lee, now thats swimming! What set up you have there! Beth was awesum, I had no idea she had set the three records! Too worried about myself I guess. Please say hi to her for me. I have to admit with the description of your lake, house, friends, and refrigerator even I am tempted to take up open water swimming.

Last time I swam in cold water I couldn't catch my breath. It was in lake erie and I swore I had all I could do to get back to the boat after I dove in. It helped me make up my mind to get back in the pool to get in shape.

I hope to see you guys at the next meet. My calander says October is the next one. At the University of Buffalo. Anything in your area before then? What about Rutgers in December for the Colonie Zones SCM Championships? Red and Dana, are you thinking about that event? It looks like the only SCM event to be had for our area? Anything in the Rochester area? Any links to suggest for calanders?

Dan Kornblatt
August 10th, 2003, 09:33 AM
Hi Everyone. Sorry I am late on this. The ESG's are run entirely by the State regarding venue. We, Masters, run the actual meet on a volunteer basis, with their suport regarding facilities support, food equipment, ect. When we heard that there were no good pools available in Buffalo, I pleaded with them to allow us to swim the weekend before at the 50meter pool at BU. They declined. Instead they gave us Brockport. A few months ago the Brockport people told Pickett that they didn't have the manpower to move the bulkead etc. and wouldn't host the meet. Some arm twisting from Albany solved that but we didn't know what we were getting into. Also, since the meet draws from the entire state, we felt a later start would help those travelling and help those setting up rather than an early start on Sat. Remember, all this is done before we see the entries and figure out a time line. We did post a start time of the second warm-up, and the decision to go with five lanes and a warm down lane also slowed things down a bit. But, that was for good reason. I did think the additional breaks were a bit long but the meet director said the lengths were posted. Next year, the ESG's will be held in my area of Binghamton. The best we can hope for is the 25meter pool in Owego. I will take into account these comments and start things on Sat a bit earlier as we are more centrally located in the state. Please remember, that Pickett is just the masters Liason, and only has limited input with the ESG people. Dan Kornblatt, Niagara Chairman

August 10th, 2003, 01:30 PM
Thanks for the update and background Dan. I'm glad that you joined in the conversation. I believe the thread is serving it's purpose by having people make constructive suggestions on improving the event. I realize that the ESG's is a huge undertaking. Masters Swimming is but one small part. I believe I speak for all of us when I say that we appreciate the work that you, Mr. Pickett, Chris Beardsley, and all of the volunteers put into having Masters Swimming remain part of the games. Thank you for all of the time that you all dedicate to providing a venue for us to be rewarded for the hours we spend practicing during the year. Also, thanks for your work on the Newsletter.
If I could just get you to spend a little more time doing other things than practicing maybe I could catch you some day! :)
You also had a great swim. I don't know how you can swim 200 yards backstroke that fast!
I was hoping that we could generate some postings here in the Niagara Forum, and I hope everyone that has posted here will continue.

Dana Gianniny
August 10th, 2003, 05:58 PM
I had forgotton to mention in my previous post about the warm up / warm down lane. I was really glad that we had this lane available again this year because being able to warm down immediately after racing makes a huge difference in performance in the rest of the meet. Having swam 2 of my 6 events in the lane next to the warm up / warm down lane, I must say it can be a bit distracting to the racer, but having the ability to warm down after my swims was well worth the distraction.

Dan, I'm trying to remember back to 2000 when we last swam ESG's at Owego. If I recall there was a small warm down area at that pool, isn't there? Also, does the Owego pool have a moveable bulkhead?

One other question, Dan, for the swimmers who entered in yards, does the State do the conversions? I was wondering how the conversions were done this year. Just curious, because there were some pretty wacky entry times.

Regarding start time of ESG's. When ESG's were last held in Owego in 2000, we swam the whole meet in one day, with an early AM start time. One of my teammates and I stayed in one of the few close by hotels that was recommended, and the hotel also hosted a wedding reception which was quite loud. (I know, GoRedFoxes, you would have just joined the party! :D) Needless to say, my teammate and I got very little sleep and because the start time was so early for the distance free events, we decided to sleep in and I skipped my distance event. Since my specialty is distance free, this was quite disappointing. One more reason I would vote for a later start time, and also for the two day format.

Art, Thanks for your comments about my swimming performance. I did have a good meet. To answer your questions about upcoming meets, I haven't seen or heard anything yet about next season's meets, but if you look at the back page of any of the old newsletters (they are on line if you don't save them), you can see which clubs tend to host meets at which times of year. For the most part, it doesn't vary too much from year to year. That will give you an idea of what to expect as far as area meets go. Usually in September we find out about the fall meets.

About SCM Zones in December, last December I was the only NIAG swimmer who attended. This was disappointing since some areas of our district are only 3 hours from Rutgers, where the meet was held last year. (It was also interesting to find a counter for event #1, after all, how many people want to count laps for a complete stranger?) I will go again this year if the meet is held at a location that is a reasonable driving distance, and will see if some of my teammates and others from NIAG who compete regularly will go.

August 11th, 2003, 11:07 AM
Originally posted by Dana Woody
One other question, Dan, for the swimmers who entered in yards, does the State do the conversions? I was wondering how the conversions were done this year. Just curious, because there were some pretty wacky entry times.

I can answer this one. The conversions from SCY or SCM to LCM were done in the meet management program. I saw a lot of entry times in there that were yards times, and Hy-Tek's Meet Manager does the conversion for you so that an adjusted time showed up in the heat sheets. However, I am sure that some swimmers forgot to indicate on their entry form that a time was a SCY time, and it is also possible that the person who entered them into the program missed some of these indications. I received the meet database fully populated to seed and run the meet, so I didn't have access to the entry forms to verify the information.

With only one or two long course meets per year in our area, it is very common for entry times to be all over the place for LC meets. Even when standard conversions are done, it is rare for people not used to swimming long course to be able to meet those times.

August 11th, 2003, 03:18 PM
Party on!!.
I hope folks, who were directly or indirectly involved with the ESG Masters Swimming aren't reading this and thinking this year was some kind of failure. I was not there, but from what I heard, it was a good meet. I run a meet out here in New Paltz (I know Shark and Lee, too far) in March. I get plenty of post meet 'advice'. And that's all you have to consider it. Personally, I just don't care for the way the masters program is 'percieved' by the ESG commission. However, I have to say, I am suprised and pleased that Albany actually did some arm twisting in Brockport to straighten them out.

Dan, are you hosting NYS Championships in 2004? I have the State Meet records if you want them.


Dana Gianniny
August 11th, 2003, 03:35 PM
There have been both positive and negative comments posted about the meet, and I would hope that the people involved with ESG's would consider all comments (not just the negative). I think that keeping communication open is the best way to make ESG's even better in the future.

August 11th, 2003, 09:33 PM
I am confident that anyone reading this thread will realize it is in the spirit of improving the games that all of the comments are made. The meet was definately a success. Many of the people involved in putting it together have already posted here and I am certain many others involved have read the thread. So your comments are important.

I can tell you of a first hand experience I had with the games last year. Before I started swimming. There was a problem with registrations (track and field) being cut off if not received by a certain time. I wrote a letter to the Commissioner of NYS Parks and Recs., Bernadette Castro. Shortly thereafter she had a representative call me to hear all of my concerns, he explained those things that couldn't be changed and why, made several changes in the registration process that they could, and overall was very professional and receptive to my concerns. He explained that it is only through communications like the one I had initiated that they were aware of problems, and could therefore address them. He convinced me that the commissioner had a high priority in making the games successful and enjoyable for all of is. It was one of the reasons I wanted to participate in them myself this year.

That being said, I encourage you all to comment here, and thank those of you that have. I look forward to next years games. I have never participated in a SCM event so I had better get practicing.

Dan Kornblatt
August 18th, 2003, 07:49 PM
To Artshark: You missed a really great meet at LCM Nationals at Rutgers. The meet was very well run, we got out each day at a reasonable hour, and the pool was very fast. It's better to view the ESG's as a tune-up for nationals. With the State involvement, it will never be a proper end of sason meet. I don't like to build a whole season around something that doesn't give me a chance to do my best. Although even a great pool can't help a very poorly timed backstroke turn. At least in that event you get to see the official DQ you and you can back off. Poor breaststrokers.

To Go Red Foxes: Yes, we will be running the States the next two years. Our plans are for Syracuse in 2004 and Western NY in 2005. Please send me the records at you convenience. Any thoughts of running Adirondack for a few years, Joe? They need some help. Dan

August 19th, 2003, 07:41 PM
I looked over the results from the Nationals last night. I can see you must have saved your taper for this event. Great times! I figured they must have got you for the turn. Thats a pretty common DQ of late.

I also noticed some other really great times! It also looks like the Niagara Region had some pretty competitive relays also. Hopefully I'll be able to make one of those relay teams sometime. Some pretty good swimmers there.

Dana and Tom M. had their usual fantastic performances, both with two 1'ST place swims. Everyone else really swam well also. Looks like Elizabeth O. and Carol B. had some great races of their own. I found it especially rewarding to see John Cranch (84 yrs young) and Betty Dunn (78 years young) to not only compete and perform so well but to see the events they swam in! John in the 400, 800, 1500 free and 100 & 200 back! Betty in the 50 & 800 free, 50 fly, and 100 & 400 IM ! What an inspiration for when I want to complain about anything over 200 yards. Your going to have plenty of good material for the next newsletter. I hope you list everyones performances if there is room.

I can see that you experienced competitors train and get up for the Nationals. The other meets are used to get ready. I don't feel that I'm at that level yet. Maybe next year with some harder work. I found the Colonie Zones to be a great meet and experience. I know you were there also and would agree that is an awesum facility. I think it may have spoiled me.

Well now that you guys are all back from the races I expect some posting here! Dana? others?