Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

To be nobody but yourself in a world that's
doing its best to make you somebody else,
is to fight the hardest battle you are ever
going to fight. Never stop fighting.

Edward Eslin "E.E." Cummings

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Comment Hall of Fame

We need to recognize a comment left on the What was the call? post. In case you missed it, Anonymous (a.k.a. The Straight Man) set it up for Deer Slayer (a.k.a. The Comedian):

Anonymous said...
In the 4a meet- there were 6 eary takeoffs in the girls and 1 in the boys. 5a had 8 early takeoffs in the girls and 3 in the boys. So 14 girls left early and only 4 boys in both meets. Maybe gender is the issue?? Who knows? It just seems odd that we don't use a protocol to help protect the athlete from electronic issues.

Deer Slayer said...
That sounds like a Title IX issue!!! Clearly the DQ's were not proportional to the number of swimmers in the meet.... Where is Nancy Hogshead when you need her?

Congratulations, Deer Slayer, your comment has been selected for induction into the TexasSwimming Comment Hall of Fame!

Quote of the Day

The pendulum of the mind oscillates
between sense and nonsense,
not betweeen right and wrong.

Karle Gustav Jung

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One thing we know for certain is...

...that this isn't going away anytime soon, is it?

One of the best ways to explain the Apendix B, #3 is by using this comment from the What was the call? post on the Highland Park relay DQ:

Anonymous said...
According to the official meet results, swimmer #3 left -0.05 early, as recorded by the automatic take off system. That means that the two deck officials weren't even consulted. The way the rules are written in high school, not only is there no backup for the system, but the officials can't be asked to confirm or deny it's validity.

It's not that an officials made a good or bad call. It's that the machine made a "close" call. When it's that close, they must figure we dumb humans should be taken out of the "loop", right?

Well, maybe we dumb humans have played this "game" before - maybe long enough to have a back-up plan. With so many cameras up in the stands and down on the deck, don't you think there's going to be more pics like the ones I've been sent?

Fast-forward to next year's state meet.

You've seen how crazy it gets on "Black Friday" when hundreds of shoppers burst through the doors to get a shot at that special sale item, right?

That's nothing compared to the rush we'll see at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center for next year's state meet. The battle will be for the seats with the best camera angles for relay starts.

Could we see moms and dads camping out Thursday night? Wristbands?

Then again, maybe it will look more like a line for concert tickets:

What do the high school rules say?

First, I'll mention something a few of us talked about last month - the meet committee.

Rule 4, Section 1 AUTHORIZED OFFICIALS, Article 1: ...A meet committee and a meet director shall assume responsibility for all aspects of meet management. The meet committee shall make decisions on matters not specifically covered by the rules or on the misapplication of a rule during a meet. Judgement calls are not subject to review by this committee. The decision of the meet committee is final.

A few important things are covered here.

First, it says shall. Coaches are to be informed about this before the meet. The meet referee usually talks with several folks during warm-up, asks them if they'd be part of the committee, then announces the members of the meet committee in the coaches' meeting.

Second, the rule mentions the fact that judgement calls cannot be reviewed.

Finally, there's mention that the meet committee is charged with settling situations where a rule has been misapplied.

Could this have been a loophole in the "can't review a judgement call" part of the rule?

If the officials realized the machine was making incorrect calls (or none at all), could they have called the meet committee to review early disqualifications? I doubt that.

Could they discuss the possibility of discontinuing the use of the automatic judging system for the remainder of the meet?

Any officials want to weigh in on that?

Next are the relay takeoff rules:

Rule 8, Section 3 RELAY EVENTS, Article 5: ...The swimmer shall remain in contact with the starting platform/pool deck until the previous swimmer has finished.

Rule 8, Section 3, Relay Events, Article 6: Each swimmer of a relay team must contact the finish end at the conclusion of his or her leg of the relay.

Both sound pretty cut and dried, right?

Earlier in the rule book there is mention of timing for a finish. It says, "...touches the finish end or pad (when automatic timing /judging equipment is used)."

Why doesn't the relay finish rule state it that way? There's no mention of the pad, except for the anchor:

The final swimmer is required to contact the finish pad by any part of the body.

What if the (first, second, or third) swimmer hit the top of a pad and that pad didn't read the finish of that leg? Didn't the swimmer contact the finish end? Doesn't that count as a "finish"?

Now for the automatic relay judging rules:

Appendix B


3. If the electronic relay takeoff equipment detects an exchange differential (takeoff pad time minus finish pad time) of -0.09 through +0.09 second inclusive, from the maufacturers starting point, the decisions(s) of the relay takeoff judge(s) shall not be considered. The determination of the electronic relay takeoff equipment shall be official, with exchange differential of -0.09 through -0.01 seconds from the manufacturers starting point indicating a rules violation and values of 0.00 through +0.09 seconds indicating a legitimate relay exchange.
4. If the electronic relay takeoff equipment records an exchange differential outside the range -0.09 through +0.09 second from the maufacturers starting point, a disqualification shall occur if there is dual confirmation of a rules violation: by electronic relay takeoff equipment and either a takeoff judge or a side takeoff judge; by a takeoff judge and a side takeoff judge; or by two side takeoff judges.

What about the UIL?



Meet Referee

The meet referee shall have final authority on all rulings. The National Federation Swimming and Diving Rule Book will prevail.

So, until the National Federation Rule Book is changed...

Where do we go from here?

That seems to be the big question, right?

Plenty has been thrown out there these past few days. I think this debate is good for our sport. This issue isn't going away, folks. So, where do we go from here?

Is it possible to go back and undo disqualifications?

My guess is there's a better chance of Christina Aguilera singing The Star Spangled Banner at another Cowboys Stadium Super Bowl.

Can officials opt to stop using the equipment in mid-meet if they feel it's giving faulty information?

After a few NRT's, that would make sense.

What's the procedure for changing the high school rules?

Diving coaches propose around a hundred rule changes each year, so maybe they can help us out there...

Is RaceTrac going to get any votes?

If it weren't for the Buc-ee's option, they'd have had my vote!

It may be rainin',...

...but there's a rainbow above you.

Seems some troublemakers have been questioning the accuracy of those relay take-off systems used in big meets. Platform manufacturers are fighting back, claiming those three hundred shots of DQ'ed relays - showing legal starts - must have been PhotoShopped.

edited 9:25 a.m. - I thought that throwing in a number like three hundred would indicate this passage was pure fiction. I was wrong. I should have put "million". Sorry!!! I promise that I've wiped that smile off my face...

Still don't know what all the fuss is about? Modern-day Rip Van Winkle's should catch up here and here. Comments are included.

It was suggested that we take a look at the product info to learn more. I don't know how y'all feel about it, but I've heard that learning more takes effort and isn't cool.

Still, if nobody's looking and you want to be all nerdy, visit the Daktronics Relay Take-Off Platform page here. There are several links toward the bottom that will take you to PDF's with important information.


The Relay Take-Off Platform is a sensor that precisely detects the moment a swimmer loses contact with the platform during a relay. The Relay Take-Off Platform (RTOP) with the Daktronics OmniSport® 2000 timing system and Daktronics T-6000 series touchpads accurately measure the relay exchange to 1/100th of a second as required by the rule book. New technology allows the RTOP to sense human contact rather than force. A swimmer may be laid out perfectly horizontal and their toes are still touching the platform, but there is no force.

What you need to know

• The RTOP senses human contact and not pressure or force.

The RTOP is not affected by:
- loose blocks/block vibrations
- weight of the swimmer
- hop starts

• Three components working together measure a relay exchange:

1. RTOP triggers the timing console when a swimmer has left the block.
2. Touchpad triggers the timing console when a swimmer finishes his/her leg of the race.
3. Timing console (OmniSport® 2000) registers all inputs from the RTOPs and touchpads. The timing console compares the last input received from the RTOP to the touchpad to calculate the exchange.

So there! Sounds like they're infallible! Now, doesn't that set your mind at ease? Next up? The awesome potential of Cold Fusion!

Have some of y'all been wondering where Rice has been all year? Don't look now (translation: stop wasting your time here and look right away), but Seth Huston's Owls are leading the Conference USA Championships with one session remaining. Results are here. Hawai'i has a good-sized lead over the second place SMU Mustangs in the men's team race.

Down in Austin, the UT men have added to their lead over A&M, while the Aggie women are up by just seven (7) points over the Longhorns. Results are here.

From the "it's a great problem to have" department: Eddie & Kris have a pretty big squad this year, meaning several of the guys (Bobby included) will be swimming in the American Short Course Championships as their shave/taper meet this year.

Nine (9) "B" cuts were swum in both the women's 50 free and men's 100 breast at the Mountain West Championships. UNLV's Andrew Morrell went :52.80 for an "A" cut in the breast. TCU's men are currently 4th. Results are here.

UT recruit Clay Youngquist showed his principal who's boss. Watch video and read more here.

The City of Midland needs a pool manager. Job info is here.

The Houstonian is looking for lifeguards and assistant swim coaches for the spring/summer. Not certified? No problem! They'll be offering ARC lifeguard classes in March and April. Contact Alex Bellisle for more info.




Texas Gold Best Times

Gulf Short Course Champs I:

CFSC Time Trials

MAC Time Trials

PACK Time Trials

SPA Time Trials

Quote of the Day

Remember the two benefits of failure. First,
if you do fail, you learn what doesn't work;
and second, the failure gives you the
opportunity to try a new approach.

Roger Von Oech

Friday, February 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

Technically, Windows is an "operating system,"
which means that it supplies your computer with
the basic commands that it needs to suddenly,
with no warning whatsoever, stop operating.

David "Dave" Barry

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wake up, humans!

Once upon a time, you used to go to the movies, right?

You watched as computers/systems like HAL 9000, WOPR, and Skynet turned on humans, right?

The message was pretty danged simple:

Don't trust those danged computers as far as you can throw 'em!

These past couple of days, I've gotten emails and comments from plenty of folks that seem to have gotten that message.

Time to share some of what I've been sent and discovered/stumbled upon:

"I am an official-- it is going to take a combined effort between coaches and officials to get this changed. Neither of us like the system now."

If you're into using numbers to show a need for change, you know we need to show more than just an incident or two at just a meet or two, right?

How about all you meet directors that use the pads/lids to make relay calls going back through and tallying the NRT's?

How often, as a percentage did the system fail?

Check my numbers and correct me if I'm wrong:

At the 4A and 5A state meets, there were thirty-two (32) NRT's.

When you figure there were 1,137 relay exchanges at the meets (five relay dq's in prelims kept it from being 1,152), around 3% doesn't sound like a whole lot of failures, right?

Okay, so the system admits to missing data and failing - not making a call - three percent of the time. So what?

Well, doesn't it make you wonder how often the system:
  • has incorrect info,
  • makes a call, and
  • that call cannot be overturned?
Another pic of the Southlake Carroll exchange in question:

Why were there so many more girls' relays disqualified than boys'?

Don't give me a hard time on this one ladies:

At this level, don't girls generally weigh less and swim at a slightly slower speed than boys? Wouldn't that mean girls would hit the wall with less momentum than boys? Could that cause the pad to read a finish just a little bit late?

I don't know, that's why I'm asking.

Also, would the lid read a take-off slightly sooner for a lighter-weight girl than a heavier-weight guy? Again, I don't know. Can someone who does know fill us in?

We're not hearing a whole lot of folks calling for the elimination of machine judging of relay starts.

What we are hearing, though, is that we need to give referees a chance to review video evidence that might keep a relay from being incorrectly disqualified.

Is it worth spending the time, money, and effort to set up video cameras (similar to one used in the 2008 Beijing Games men's 100 fly final)?

If you're one of those poor kids that swam their tails off, made sure their starts were safe, and still came home with a big bag of nothing, you bet it is!

Quote of the Day

You're born an original - don't die a copy.

John Mason

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Here's another relay start from the state meet. Person that sent it says it's Southlake Carroll's 400 free relay in lane six. 5A result is here.

According to the published splits in the official meet results, the swimmer in lane 5 touched the pad ahead of the swimmer in lane 6. The swimmer in lane 5 had a split time of 1:43:98, and the swimmer in lane 6 had a split time of 1:44:05.

Would this be sufficient evidence to make a referee consider overturning a disqualification? Debatable, right?

We shot down technical suits, in part, because of the costs. What would it cost to have "official" cameras placed in the proper locatations to make this work? Would we have to sit through NFL-style delays after every close call?

I certainly don't have the answers. Still, if we're going to allow technology (pads/lids) to make calls, shouldn't we be willing to let officials use technology (cameras) to help them correct an error?

Quote of the Day

...Be it thy course to busy giddy
minds with foreign quarrels...

William Shakespeare

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What was the call?

If the call was an illegal stroke/turn/finish or another swimmer's false start, then it's a moot point.

On the other hand, if the call was this swimmer leaving early, maybe we need to look into changing our rules to allow definitive photographic/video evidence to be used to overturn some calls.

Pic was taken by swimmer from deck level. 4A results are here.

This post is not meant to knock officials. Unless we give them a rule book that allows them to review/correct a blown call, it's on us as coaches, right?

Your thoughts?

One last point:

The camera angle isn't perfect. It's possible the hands are going up and over the pad, right? If that's the case, maybe we should have the UIL spring for these Omega pads...

Quote of the Day

Always be smarter than the people who hire you.

Lena Mary Calhoun Horne

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quote of the Day


Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Quote of the Day

Even when we weren't running
good, we were having fun.

Anthony Wayne "Tony" Stewart

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

Little League baseball is a very good thing
because it keeps the parents off the streets.

Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

First, you learn to drive fast. Next, you
learn to drive fast in traffic. Then, you
learn how to do it for 500 miles.

Alan Dennis "Special K" Kulwicki

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quote of the Day

Baseball is the only field of endeavor where
a man can succeed three times out of ten
and be considered a good performer.

Teddy Samuel "Ted" Williams

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quote of the Day

You can't let one bad moment
spoil a bunch of good ones.

Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Sr.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

The kid doesn't chew tobacco, smoke,
drink, curse, or chase broads. I don't
see how he can possibly make it.

Don Richard "Richie" Ashburn

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 5A Call-Ups by Region

Region - Girls/Boys/Total

I - 1/0/1
II - 23/19/42
III - 3/2/5
IV - 34/33/67
V - 16/29/45
VI - 1/0/1
VII - 9/5/14
VIII - 1/0/1

2010 5A numbers are here.

Quote of the Day

I've never tried to block out the memories
of the past, even though some are painful. I
don't understand people who hide from their
past. Everything you live through helps to
make you the person you are now.

Sofia Villani Scicolone, a.k.a. Sophia Loren

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

Anyone who trades liberty for security
deserves neither liberty nor security.

Benjamin Franklin

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quote of the Day

There are two ways to slide easily through life;
to believe everything or to doubt everything.
Both ways save us from thinking.

Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2011 4A Call-Ups by Region

Region - Girls/Boys/Total

I - 1/0/1
II - 1/2/3
III - 24/11/35
IV - 4/4/8
V - 15/15/30
VI - 8/20/28
VII - 35/36/71
VIII - 0/0/0

2010 4A numbers are here.

Quote of the Day

You only get better by playing.

Bernard "Buddy" Rich

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Quote of the Day

Television is like the invention of indoor
plumbing. It didn't change people's habits.
It just kept them inside the house.

Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Quote of the Day

A child of five would understand this.
Send someone to fetch a child of five.

Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx

Monday, February 07, 2011

Quote of the Day

Management is doing things right;
leadership is doing the right things.

Peter Ferdinand Drucker

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Quote of the Day

Mystery creates wonder and wonder is
the basis of man's desire to understand.

Neil Alden Armstrong

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Friday, February 04, 2011

Allison vs. Nancy

It wasn't even close:

via Saving Sports

Quote of the Day

Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing,
wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather,
only different kinds of good weather.

John Ruskin

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Quote of the Day

The job of arguing with the umpire belongs
to the manager, because it won't hurt the
team if he gets thrown out of the game.

Earl Sidney Weaver

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Quote of the Day

Since geometry is the right foundation
of all painting, I have decided to
teach its rudiments and principles
to all youngsters eager for art.

Albrecht Dürer

Tuesday, February 01, 2011