Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shorter Season Proposal

Word is someone's about to present a plan to the TISCA board that would drastically shorten the Texas high school swimming season.

Not sure what the rationale for that would be.

A few possibilities from those hoping to end their swim seasons before semester break:

"I can take that New Mexico ski trip instead of running Christmas workouts."

"We could get an earlier start on our spring water polo season."

"I always wanted to be the assistant freshman baseball/softball coach."

"The track coach needs his stopwatches back sooner next year."

"Scheduling on top of Nationals or Junior Nationals might open up a few spots in state meet for my kids."

"We've always hoped to move our January invite to August."

"We'd like to get the high school season out of the way so we can focus on the TAAF Winter Games."

The board meets this Friday morning, so contact your region reps ASAP!

Remind them to bring plenty of rotten tomatoes to the meeting...


Anonymous said...

How about..I feel guilty about the stipend, therfore, I shall give 1/2 of it back to be used for football stipends.

Lion King said...

Any chance this idea is coming from our "retired" friend in S.A., who has proposed this before?? Just who the heck thinks the TISCA board would have any voice in this anyway? Why doesn't this "someone" just camp out in front of the UIL office on Manor Rd in the morning and bring a box of jelly donuts for you-know-who?

Idiot idea. Just my opinion, of course.

Lion King said...

On the other hand, I know how fast IL seems to swim every year on a 16-week girls and separate 16-week boys season, they often kick Texas' UIL butt, AND the swimmers are NOT allowed concurrent USA-S training. And they still break NATIONAL records. In shallow pools.

Maybe WE are the ones doing it the hard way?

Me said...

I would hate to think their coaches and training methods are smarter than ours. Or maybe the HS/club training conflicts being removed allows more effective training. For those who know how to train swimmers properly. I know you and I could do it. But still...

I might be inclined to consider support if the season had a start/stop date, was monitored, and club training was removed from the equation. I can hear the club coaches screaming now, lol. Wonder how the club coaches and club programs are in IL?

Button said...

one less grading period to worry about flunkers

Anonymous said...

Have had one daughter swim HS in IL and two daughters swim HS in TX. In IL, there is no interaction with the club/USAS during HS season. Most teams in the Chicago area practice 2 hours before HS and 2 hours after school M-F and 2+ hour practices on Saturday morning. HS Coaches have limited contact with swimmers in the off season. Many of the HS Coaches are Age Group coaches for the Clubs and most groom swimmers for their HS team. IL is very different system, and built in response to the Illinois High School Association rules.

Kevin Murphy said...

Who or what is the origin of this Proposal?
What is the motivation?
I have never seen anything move so fast since I came to Texas a dozen years ago.

What are the risks to stipends and teaching assignments if we are all done before Christmas?

Opportunity for additional possible assignments in both the classroom and other Spring sports would be how Athletic Directors would view a shortened season for swimming.

No more money, but possibly more work. That seems to be the standard in many Public Schools these days.
No unions for protection, and if you want to keep your job, you accept the additional assignments, or move on or get replaced. We are all expendable...we're just swim coaches.

I also see it as lowering or lessening the required commitment level of the swimmers, the parents and the coaches, in order to excel. Obviously, we would not be in favor of such a change, but if it came, we would redesign our Program and continue to strive to excel within the new guidelines.

The 8-hour rule already limits the coaching influence of the HS coaches, now the shorter season would further limit the training time impact of the HS coaches again, by up to 50%. I for one, would not like to see my influence limited any further. I believe our HS coaching staff has a real and positive impact on our swimmers and this Proposal would cut into our already limited coaching time with those kids.

In addition the dangers to the coaching/teaching
status quo, far outweighs the probable benefits. I really do not relish the risk that my coaching stipend might be cut if I became a one semester coach, or that I might be assigned an additional Spring Sport in order to justify my stipend.

I have always been interested in Water-Polo and supported it wherever I coached, but if this Dec State push is coming from those that wish to see water-polo as the "sport of choice" for the entire 2nd semester, I can assure them that their swim programs will not improve significantly and may even deteriorate, but I am sure their water-polo will improve. Water-Polo, as it has been done in Texas, seems a great deal easier that swimming, and if it becomes just as important (in length of season) as HS swimming, then the migration of less-committed swimmers to water-polo, will undoubtedly weaken the HS swim programs in many locations.
Water-Polo is a lot more fun, and you can "hide" in a Team sport, and never be exposed, individually, like you can in swimming if you don't do your work consistently.

We are not afraid of work. This Proposal seems to lessen the work and lessen the commitment. That may lessen the "product" in the long run.

I wonder if our NCAA swim coaches would like to see their seasons shortened by 8-10 weeks? I seriously doubt that. With the various designs of HS Programs throughout the United States, "short seasons", boys only, girls only, one-semester, Fall, Winter, Spring, to the questioning of the professional coaching credentials of some HS coaches, it is little wonder that HS coaches seem to be held out as 2nd & 3rd-class coaches by the USA coaches and many of the College Coaches. Shorten the Texas HS season, and the impact of the HS coach on the performance of the swimmers on their Team, may go from 50% annually to 30% annually. We may become "lame-duck" coaches that only "manage" the Team with line-ups and travel arrangements, and not really be impactful coaches.

The Tisca Meeting should be interesting.
I am ready to listen and learn and evaluate.
I am, however, suspicious of the proposal and question the origin of the "push".

I, for one, am not in favor of this change.
That may seem selfish, but I am interested in the performance of our kids first, and in protecting what we have built and accomplished over the last 8 years.

Kevin Murphy
Head Swim Coach
Southlake Carroll HS

Button said...

'No more money, but possibly more work. That seems to be the standard in many Public Schools these days.
No unions for protection, and if you want to keep your job, you accept the additional assignments, or move on or get replaced. We are all expendable...we're just swim coaches.'

100% correct.

mansfield isd had me coaching on my (state required) conference period and in math meetings during my (by law duty-free) lunch.

they tried to screw me out of part of my retirement (would have meant over a quarter of a million bucks if i live into my 70's), but i was able to win that fight.

the second i stood up for myself, i became the target of retaliation from both athletics/aquatics and academic sides.

zero protection.

human resources lady even stated that all the bullcorn things done to me didn't fit the technical definition of retaliation.

if they keep it just under that threshold, your life as an educator becomes absolute hell on earth

they don't give a rip about you or the kids you work with. it's all about how administrators/directors can remain in their positions and keep getting their raises.

i survived the 'storm' and made it to retirement on my terms.

unfortunately, most that stand up for themselves end up kicked to the curb.

thanks for letting me vent.

p.s. what's the number for t.e.a.?

Anonymous said...

Friday's proposal will come from an individual from a suburb of Houston, not San Antonio.

Not really sure water polo coaches are all that interested in this idea.

The initial response from any Swim/Dive/Polo coach should be, is this good for the kids?

Second thought should be, would I keep my athletic period 2nd semester, or would I pull ISS/Lunch/Bus dropoff/single semester course/obscure and foreign sport assistant coach duty?????

Chris Cullen said...

I would like to echo the the thought. What is best for the kids. It is hard to keep your average high school only swimmer motivated to train from September through February. Holiday training , which is essential for success, is also a hard sell for the kids and families.

I would like us (TISCA) think about what is best for the success of swimming and getting the most kids involved. I sincerely believe the life lessons the swimmers learn by swimming ( Pride, Dedication, Poise, Responsibility, and Team Work) are possible in a 4 season just as in a 6 month season.

Chris Cullen
Denton ISD Aquatics

Anonymous said...

We all have less committed "average" high school swimmers who swim for four months. They are called JV.

Anonymous said...

You want excellence or equity? If it's excellence, then leave season alone. If you want equity, then swim jv district before Christmas. If you look around, that's already being done so why change?

Anonymous said...

I'm looking at the proposal from the parent prospective. In my opinion proposal comes from someone with the very strong club program who wants swimmers spend more time with their club coaches. There many high school that do not have luxury of having strong clubs in their backyards or if they do cooperation between both is poor. As a parent I look forward to Christmas break practices. It is the best time to practice with plenty of time to rest without worry about home works. What really bugs me is the fact the idea of shortened season was not discussed with all high school coaches. The coaches stipends are very low already and lowering them even further might discourage some of them to continue.

Anonymous said...

I want excellence. Leave the season alone.

not-Wally said...

I'm curious what other states do? Do most other states have a full school year of swimming like Texas does? I do know that in Texas, swimming is the only sport which spans the entire school year. But, the only way I would see this proposal flying would be if water polo took the place of swimming in the Spring. And, I don't see that happening unless UIL blesses water polo. This might be an example of the cart before the horse. However, I personally would love to see full semester of swimming in the fall followed by a full semester of polo in the spring. I think that would be best for the kids. I don't think it will hurt the elite-level of the swimming since those swimmers will be doing club year-round anyway.

Button said...

check blog title. don't care what other states do. don't care what polo or track or foosball do.

texas swimmin', y'all!

the work of tisca's 'founding fathers' could go right down the drain if we're not careful here. remember when landtroop & co. were pushing for 24 to state? isn't that what we should be shooting for?

those involved in the addition of a 4a division will recall that everyone - 4a and 5a coaches alike - agreed that we would not push for a 4a division if it would take anything away from what we already had as a single-division (5a) sport.

we hear talk of a 3a division, and i don't see how that can be done without taking away from what we now have.

we hear talk of a fall-only season and y'all know it will hurt swimming.

what's the hidden agenda here? are there more than one?

if either of these ideas gains traction, watch out!

what has happened to the tisca stance that we want to see 24 qualifiers to the state meet?

how have we gotten away from something that would clearly be good for our sport?

some have posted comments about what's best for our kids.

wouldn't opening up the meet to one more heat of prelim swimmers be good for our kids?

how about another eight divers?

wouldn't a proposal like 24 to state be better for our kids than proposing that we reduce the competition and training opportunities they already have?

Kevin Murphy said...

Texas HS Swimming, just as it is done now, is the 2nd or 3rd best State Meet, according to numer of All-American listings, in the entire USA. Only California finishes ahead of texas every year. Texas is pretty even with Pennsylvania and Florida each year in the number of All-American listings.
Regardless of how seasons are designed and regulated in other States, Texas HS Swimming is doing well and very little needs to be changed for Texas to continue to excel. It makes no sense to "water-down" or shorten the season, to allow the swimmers to do less work, as the quality of performance will, without a doubt, decrease, if less work becomes the norm. I base this evaluation on 34 years of HS and Senior-level swim coaching.

The "24 to State" Proposal was submitted yesterday, for the 2nd year in a row, as was a "3A and below" one heat Proposal, for the 2nd year in a row. Once again, no official decision was made by the Tisca Reps and Board as to which Proposal Tisca would "champion" and put forth to the UIL.

The danger of a 3A Proposal is the risk that the UIL would add one heat of 3A and then subtract one heat from 4A and one heat from 5A, to bring swimming into alignment with Track, that only offers one heat in each of about 6 or 7 classes. Then, instead of 32 total entries in each event, we might "lose" and only have 24 entries in each event, 8 in each of three classes, 3A, 4A and 5A. Just an informed opinion.

The current "24 to State" Proposal offers two different scenarios, based on the current 4A and 5A format:

#1 2 automatic qualifiers from each of 8 Regions and then 8 call-ups
#2 1 automatic qualifier from each of 8 Regions and then 16 call-ups

Relays could be 16 or 24. At NCAA's the relays have fewer entries allowed, somewhat limiting the number of total athletes allowed in the meet.
*Regulating or limiting the number of Relay entries would not affect the overall Team Championship scoring, but would limit the total number of athletes in the meet, if that were a consideration of the UIL.

Diving would be 3 automatic from each of 8 Regions, or two automatic from each of 8 Regions and then select the final 8 just as those Final 8 are now selected for All-State.

The addition of 8 qualifiers in each event would add 1 hour to Prelims for 4a and then one hour to Prelims for 5A.

Only the top 16 would advance to finals, so finals would run just as Finals run now, same timeline.

Then the meet would more closely resemble the format for NCAA's and a few more kids would have the opportunity to swim in one of the finest State HS Meets in the nation.

In addition, some of our best swimmers could more safely "gamble" to make it to the State Meet, unshaved, with the additional slots available.
The performances, both in "first shaves" and in the maximum efforts that would have to be made in Prelims to get the chance to make Top 16, would result in a better meet, with a "true" Prelim/Final format, and the very best performances possible.

At some point, Tisca, as the advisory group to the UIL, must make a decision about which Proposal to back, so that the effort for change can be focused and "officially" passed on to the UIL Leadership for consideration. Until there can be a unified decision, either based on a vote of the Region Reps and the Executive Board, or a vote by the Tisca Membership, then neither Proposal will ever be taken seriously by the UIL.

Hopefully, these Proposals can be evaluated and voted on by the selected, and informed Representatives of the Tisca Membership in Sept, and the effort can be made to effect a change or at the very least, have an "official" Proposal to offer the UIL for consideration.

This Proposal benefits ALL of the Teams in Texas, and allows everyone an equal chance to take advantage of the extra 8 opportunities to swim in the Texas State Meet.

Kevin Murphy
Head Swim Coach
Southlake Carroll HS

Button said...

if they were going to endorse one of the 24 to state proposals over the other, my guess is the uil would rather go with the 2 auto plus eight call-up plan.

remember, they are more concerned with regional representation than having the fastest meet possible.

that proposal gives them what they want (plenty of regional representation) while giving us what we want (more qualifiers).

it would make prelims more exciting/important.

also, it would make finals more relevant (no more lapped swimmers in the 500 and no more open lanes due to prelim dq's).