Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Conference Champs with B Cuts: Let's Explore the Idea.

My interview with Jack Steck lamented that our system is flawed. We have a college swimming system that alienates the average sports fan and leaves college swimming to be enjoyed almost exclusively by the die-hard swim geeks and the parents of the actual swimmers. We can do a better job to address this, and in so doing we can also address the lack of parity in the system and make it more fair overall, which might be a small step toward saving some programs from getting the axe when AD's are weighing out the value of each sport to decide who to keep and who to cut. I have a lot to say on this, so I will surely be making more than one post in the next week or so about it.

First point: The "conference champs with B cuts" idea is not that far-fetched. It is a pretty traditional system. My high school state meet in Alaska took the 5 region winners and then the next 7 fastest times. We were limited to 12 qualifiers due to travel costs, the same logic by which the NCAA has a system based on a head count and A/B cuts. It is based on an athlete cap and just because some conferences are stronger than others does not mean it is inherently unfair.

I feel that the argument that "we don't want slower kids to knock faster kids out of the meet" can be thrown out the window. No one seems to want to acknowledge that we are already doing that by allowing relay roster manipulation. Here is what I did to prove the point that this is happening, it is happening way more than people think it is, and it is a horrible injustice: I did a name search of the PDF files of the pre and post-cut psyche sheets for the men's D1 championships. I only spent a few minutes and only searched for 6 names from the bottom of the list on two events. From those I found two perfect examples, both from the same team, that say: the mid-major kid is not getting a fair shake. He is forced to make it on his own while others are often not. We are not just taking the fastest kids with the current system. It is sneakier than that. For example:

1. Joel Elber from Ohio State was the #73 ranked 100 back-stroker in the pre-cut sheet. He got into the meet. I did a name search to confirm that he did not qualify on his own right because he was not ranked in the top 24 in any other events. He was not fast enough to get in on his own but was a pretty good freestyler so surely he got in through a relay. Not that big a deal... except that he was exactly a full second slower that Roko Simunic, the conference champ of the MAC, who was the #35 ranking pre-cut and did not get in. Elber was the #3 backstroker on the OSU squad. Are you telling me that he deserves to be there more than Roko? The conference championship should count for something, because obviously when you compare these two swimmers, the time counts for nothing.
2. Andrew Bretscher was the 4th ranked 100 flyer on the OSU squad. He was not listed as having any other B cuts on the pre-cut psyche sheet. He was #82 in the 100 fly. He got in. Are you telling me that OSU is so awesome that they are putting their #4 flyer on their A relay at the big show? Right... no manipulation there. That is awesomely unfair.

If we were just allowing the straight up top 24 per event and top 12 relays, it would be fair. Too exclusive, but truly fair.

In the 100 back, 24 were invited. 20 more swam it. There were 23 invited in the 100 fly. 52 actually swam it. That means almost thirty swimmers got in some other way. How many of them got in from relays? How many of them got in on a relay, when they were not the top dog of their team and are probably not really on the relay team at all? How many were added to the relay roster, probably for the prelim only, to get them into the meet? How is this any more fair than allowing a conference champ in with a time that is faster than those guys but might be slower than a few others? How many guys like this are taking valuable spots away from others who are faster and probably are more deserving? This is a loophole that the big schools get regularly and the mid-majors do not. They have a foot in the door that the small schools don't. That goes against every conceivable rule of fair play in the world of sports.

I say, if we are going to throw a bone to someone, we shouldn't be throwing it to the schools that already have more to eat. I don't have a problem with relay only kids being allowed to swim their b events... if they are there, let them swim. But this goes beyond that, because
in a system with a cap on the number of athletes it hurts others... and it is an advantage that only the major schools have.

The benefit of allowing conference champs in will make a bigger impact on the sport. My good friend Randy Horner at the University of New Orleans put it this way: "if a kid were being recruited and trying to choose between a mid-major and a BCS school, he might actually choose the mid-major." That is good for the sport, because right now the blue chip athletes don't sign with mid-majors, partly because they know that if they are on the bubble, a big school can get them in and a small school can't.

I am not saying we should take away the relay opportunities for the big guys... I am saying, give us an equivalent loophole so that our swimmers don't leave their swimming career feeling bitter and regretting that they didn't get in simply because they know that they would have been invited at the major school with all times being equal, yet they chose to believe in their mid-major program and signed to go there.

We also have to look at another aspect of the conference champs with b cuts idea: it would add some value to those other conferences by offering automatic berths, which would essentially raise the stakes and create interest from outside of the conference. Right now, when people go to conference central to look at results, they are mostly looking just at the BCS meets or the conferences they have a stake in personally, meaning a friend or family member swims there, or you are an alum. Well, if this rule passed, I am pretty sure everyone will be tuning in to the MAC and the Sunbelt to see who gets those automatic berths. More people will be paying attention. Nothing but good for the sport. Wouldn't it be great if we made those meets matter too?

My initial reaction to the conference champ idea was negative. At first look it seemed unfair... but when I got to really thinking about it, it works on several levels. It was bigger than just the one meet. It might just have a leveling effect, even if it is just a small one, but it would without a doubt be a step in the right direction for our sport as a whole. I don't know how many more swimmers we would have to add to the meet to make this happen in a fair way, but I can't help but think it would be more than worth it in the long run and for our sport in general to expand the meet to make this happen.

Think it through. I might not be a perfect solution, but it should be given a fair, thorough and educated discussion. Please sound off below. More to come. ;)


  1. I think this is a pretty good idea. Doubt it will happen though.

  2. I like it but the NCAA is a stubborn group. This would be a hard sell, especially now that DII has gone to a cap it is obvious the decision makers think their idea is the best idea.

  3. I don't think you can compare how many were invited in a given event with how many actually swam it, without mentioning that the majority are there because it is a 3rd (aka weak) event and they were invited with another individual swim. I would guess that makes up for more numbers than those who got in on a relay.

  4. With all of the conferences, I just feel like this makes the meet way too big. If the event winner in every individual event makes it...how many guys does that add to the meet? Seems like it would be a lot.

    Maybe give each conference a minimum of 5 spots. That way if a conference doesn't get anyone to the meet, the 5 people who are ranked highest in the nation get to go. Or if the MAC has 2 guys make it themselves, then the next 3 highest ranked would get to go. Just a thought.

  5. it's only conference champions with B cuts not all conference champs. Unless all conference champions have B cuts or better.

  6. I mean, I still don't have a problem with those kids at the bottom GETTING to NCAA's. Swapping one 40th placed swimmer for another doesn't make a huge difference, except to those specific swimmers. That's all well and good, as far as qualifying.

    The problem is once you get to the meet. If Conference Championships and qualifying times were completely independent of NCAA's, then this system would be great. In other sports that use this conference champ system, they are. There's not much of a benefit for a basketball team in coasting through their conference season because they're far and away the best team in the conference. In swimming, there is.

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I'm worried about the swimmers at the top who are competing for points. The swimmers from the BCS conferences will have to taper (at least somewhat) just to qualify or give their team a shot at a conference title, but the really good swimmers who swim in the MAC or the Sun Belt won't.

    Yes, it might make the MAC or Sun Belt conference championships slightly more exciting (although, is automatic berths for swimmers who are going to finish 40th at NCAA's really make anything any more exciting than watching them try and make qualifying times, to those without a rooting interest?). But it will make Pac-10's and SEC's more dull. There's a reason why nobody (besides us swimgeeks) cares about college swimming dual meets, and that's because nobody is swimming near full speed, so it all comes down to who plans their rest cycle when (see Texas Longhorn women, who swam really well in their dual meets because they taper 10 times a year, but bombed at NCAA's). I'm afraid that this same apathy would overcome the Big 6 meets. No offense to you or your former team, but if I had to sacrifice excitement at the Big 6 meets or excitement at the mid-major meets, it's an easy choice.

    We can all sit here and like to believe that the mid-major coaches aren't going to use this loophole (about timing tapers for swimmers like Ashley Danner and Alicia Aemisegger, knowing they have a free ride to conference titles, to give them an advantage at NCAA's), but we know they would. And when people start complaining about the loophole, the response is going to be "hey, it's the rules, and they're using them to the full advantage of their swimmers." And then we'll have to change the rule again to something that's more balanced. I'd rather just skip that middle step.

  7. What about when teams start switching swimming conferences (they don't always align with the other university athletics programs) just to get into a weaker conference? Should we really reward teams for trying to lower their level of competition?

    And adding all of these conference champs could add as many as 100 or more extra swimmers to the championship. That's a LOT of extra money.

    All I'm hearing is that "swim teams from the Big 6 football conferences already have too big of an advantage because they are good swim teams, and we need to even things out." There's still plenty of crappy swim teams in the Big 6 conferences.

    I think a good first step would be expanding the number of relays that teams take to say 24 or 25, but to close the loophole allowing teams to formulate relays from swimmers best times. If you can put together a relay of 4 swimmers who qualified in their own individual times, that's fine, but stop letting teams pick and choose their swimmers best swims of the season, make a qualifying relay, and tinker with the lineups to qualify as many swimmers as possible.

    If you cut out these loopholes, and expanded the number of relays that get to go, you'd give mid-majors more of an opportunity to qualify their swimmers, but you'd also give the schools like South Carolina and Michigan State (because what top swimmer would go to Michigan State when they could just go to Michigan?) more of an opportunity, and create more parity between teams than within conferences. You'd also keep everyone on an even playing field. Simply closing the loopholes would largely prevent situations like you mentioned above, where a slower swimmer qualifies over a faster swimmer. If from time to time, the fourth member of a relay that is legitimately swimming that relay gets in over a faster swimmer without relay teammates, then so be it, but these situations would become anomalies rather than the norm.

    So anyways, what is your response specifically to the concept that certain swimmers will be able to cruise to conference titles, and thus gain an advantage at NCAA's? I haven't seen one yet.

  8. To the poster above, each event had roughly 100-120 swimmers achieve B cuts prior to NCAA's, which appears to include a large number of conference champs. Looking back at past seasons, this is a pretty typical number.

  9. I am curious how many conference champs are uninvited with Bcuts? This number would have a big impact on my opinion of this idea. Also, there is a big difference between the B cuts and the invite times so maybe another standard would need to be set, say top 50.

    Also how many swimmers were brought into the meet to only swim prelim relays? I can't imagine too many. Only the very top schools, say 5, can do this, as the rest need to be concerned about making top 8, so can't have secondary swimmers swimming prelims. OSU i wouldn't think could afford to swim something other than their A relay so I assume those swimmers were OSU legit fastest guys, but maybe not. I would have to think the total number of these swimmers is less than 10.

    However, I feel that braden is overrating the taper aspect. Schools that feel the need to win conference are still going to taper to do this (and mid-major schools I bet this gets a higher emphasis because it really is a "team" goal). The overall effect would be pretty neglible IMO. The teams that set their priority as swimming fast as NCAAs consistantly do.

  10. Not sure what results you were looking at but I'm pretty sure that only 42 athletes swam in the 100 fly. and 42 in the 100 back

    Joel Elber - 19.22 anchor on the 200 MR.
    Also part of the 200 FR, 400 MR and 400 FR at NCAA's
    Is he not allowed to swim the 100 fly at the NCAA meet?
    Does he not deserve to swim at NCAA's?

    Andrew Bretscher - Qualified in the 200 MR. Maybe it was a toss up as to who Coach Wadley was going to put on the relay. Maybe some of the others were swimming the 800 FR later or another leg of the relay. Only Coach Wadley knows the answer to that.
    He also split 20.84 in the 50 fly on the 200 MR at NCAA's.

    I'm not sure I get your argument. Invite the mid Major kids just so they don't feel bad, bitter and regretting swimming and the school they chose for not making the meet?

    Here is a suggestion. Since the men's meet is limited to 235 swimmers and 35 divers. Maybe limit the max squad list to 12 or 14 athletes for each team? The cut line in the individual events might go a little deeper then. Swimmers looking at more than the top swimming schools. Just a thought.

  11. I don't really have a huge problem with them being there and contributing. All I am saying is, individually, they don't deserve it more than the guy from the small school who will hardly ever have to recruiting power to have the depth to get a kid like that in. I am not attacking OSU. I don't want to take the relay thing away. I am just using it to strengthen the argument that other people have. these mid major kids still have b cuts. they are not slugs. In the future, they will be even less of a slug if this rule helped spread the wealth a little in recruiting. they just don't have a loophole to pull them in. the meet would probably have to be expanded to accommodate this idea. it would be no more unfair to let them in than to let the relay kids in.

    the ncaa is too top-heavy, and top-heavy things tend to fall over.

  12. In response to: Not sure what results you were looking at but I'm pretty sure that only 42 athletes swam in the 100 fly. and 42 in the 100 back

    It was a question of how many B cuts there were, not how many swimmers swam the race.

    All of the ideas thus far have been pretty inside-the-box. What about some outside the box ideas? What if there's a last-chance wildcard meet? 2 weeks before NCAA's, any conference champion who has not already qualified for NCAA's have a big "last-second, last chance" meet, and the top 2 at that meet get a "wild card" spot. That way, there's still motivation for the Danners and Aemiseggers of the world to get their original cuts, but it still gives those other swimmers an opportunity to earn their way in? That would also help limit this huge number of swimmers going, and still keep it as a special achievement. It's still not a perfect plan, but that's something I could get behind more.

  13. I went by the pre and post cut psyche sheets. look it up. that is where I got the numbers.

  14. and the taper thing is not that big an issue for me. if this moves toward more parity, the fight for the auto berths will get tougher and we aren't going to see anyone coasting to that degree. swimmers would be stupid to not turn in a time that would get them in anyway if they are capable. even danner unrested could get beat or even dq. I don't think that is all a significant enough issue to hold back on an idea like this, and I still don't think it will make or break an individual national title contender.

  15. Well I guess we're stuck then. I think the taper will be significant, which I think is fairly obvious when you look at the teams that taper for their conference meet, and how much time they add at NCAA's. Even if it makes just a .10 second difference, in a lot of races that small of a difference can matter.

  16. From your Blog.... "There were 23 invited in the 100 fly. 52 actually swam it." Look it up. I was just stating that only 42 athletes actually swam the event. Look that up before posting misinformation. I think what you actually meant to say was there were 53 athletes entered in the 100 fly that were invited to the meet.

    This is Division 1 college swimming. It is a fast meet. Yes bigger teams have an advantage with relays but it's a team sport. You need relays. It is a meet for the Elite athlete. So we have a few athletes that miss the cut. Well let's change everything we do and take away the challenge of making the meet and just give out spots to everyone. Create a NCAA Championship meet for just mid majors? Where does it end? Any way you look at it someone will not be happy. The system in place is not perfect but it's pretty darn good.

  17. where does it end? Well, I guess it ends when there aren't any teams left to swim against each other. That is where we are heading. The Big 12 only has 3 teams! We lost three in one conference this year!! Are you that unwilling to explore some ideas that might help to slow down this runaway train of programs being cut? lack of parity is one reason swim teams are de-prioritized when AD's are evaluating who to keep and who to cut. There is no denying that this is an issue. This is not about feeling sorry for the mid-major kids because they have to earn it on their own, as much as it is about us needing to step back and look at the overall health of college swimming and what we could be doing better.

    so, I have to ask... did you get pulled in for a relay, or did you qualify on your own merit? If you were at a mid-major, would your times have gotten you in?

  18. I know the challenges that face swimming right now and I am willing to explore ideas to slow the programs being cut. I do believe that parity is a small part of the equation. Examples.. Washington, Miami, UCLA all really good and cut. I'm not sure that AD's look seriously at how a team placed in conference and NCAA's before they make a cut? They look at the numbers. It's all about the numbers, not the athletes. Let's face it, any non revenue sport could be given the axe. The ones that cost less are safer. The only way swimming will every be safe is by making the teams self sufficient. By creating an endowment fund.

    I'll restate my idea that I originally posted. Drop the NCAA squad size to 12 or 14 athletes. What do you think of that Idea? Less chance of a relay only swimmer being brought to the meet? More individual lines?

    A D I mens swimming and diving championship with more that 270 athletes is a nice dream to have, but it's a dream.

    To answer your last question, I qualified on my own merit.

  19. i am okay with dropping squad sizes, but I think that dropping team rosters overall, not just for the meet, would have more of a positive effect. maybe both are good to consider.

  20. In any solution creating parity, I agree with any solutions that create parity for ALL teams, not just mid-majors.

    If only 50 teams are going to make it, is it more important for the sport for it to be in big 6 conferences or the mid-majors? For the sake of visibility (and ability to support the programs financially) it's gotta be the big 6. Ideally, we would have 50 from the big 6 and 50 mid-majors of course, but this solution gives a huge advantage to the top mid-major teams and none to the bottom big 6 teams.

    I feel like allowing more parity within the Big 6 conferences would benefit the sport as much, if not more, as the Mid-majors, because it would make the regular season more interesting. Even if you saw the mid-majors with world-class coaches (which is not all of them) rise, it would still be those teams stomping their conference foes, which is not interesting. Watching the Texas men beat up on A&M and Missouri every year is not interesting.

    I think 12 would be too few for NCAA's, when you account for divers. I'd like 14 better.

    Also agree that limiting overall rosters is a better way to go. When you're talking to an 18 year old kid about it, it's going to take a lot more than convincing them that in theory they probably have a better chance at qualifying for NCAA's (albeit with a slower time) going to Wyoming than to Stanford.

    My question is are the mid-majors taking good enough advantage of their scholarships? Are they trying to spread it out amongst all of their athletes to where kids who aren't necessarily worthy of a division 1 scholarship are getting money, just to fill out the roster? I still can't fathom how mid-majors can't give 75% or 100% scholarships and get some of these kids who are paying their way, or 25%, to be the 12th swimmer on a big-school roster. If the mid-majors want to create parity and save their programs so badly, I don't think they can rely on the NCAA to do it. Try giving out 10 full rides, and see then if you can't put together an NCAA qualifying relay. Or work a little harder, and discover the swimmers who aren't getting attention from the big schools because there times aren't as great, but in reality maybe they just didn't get great coaching in HS, or didn't swim USS.

    The original argument was that certain teams have such a big advantage because of the quality of their football programs, which nobody seems to be bringing up anymore. Now, it's big programs have an advantage because they can get swimmers to NCAA's, and to me, that's just not a good enough reason to bailout mid-majors.

  21. sure, Braden, but is it good enough to bail out the sport? the boat is taking on water, and when it gets full enough, the big guys are gonna drown too.
    the big football programs make money and some support their other sports. the small schools football programs typically lose money and that is why msu already has a roster limit. they are not even allowed walk-ons currently. when I attended there, the football program bragged that they paid for all of us, but we actually found out through some professors that they were losing 1.5 mil a year. football is still a factor and money is part of it. the name of the school in the media is another. the problem is still broader than that.

    and to anonymous at 7:13am. success at conference and potential success at the national level is still a factor in keeping teams from being cut. When MSU decided a few years ago that they were cutting 5 sports, swimming was spared. there were a lot of factors, but I have to say that their conference champion team contributing to the all-sport trophy for the MVC was considered. The committee that went down their checklist to figure out who to keep also saw that Josh Wegrzyn, Matt Beasley, and that MSU 400 Free Relay had the potential for national level success. M&W tennis and the men's indoor/outdoor and cc track teams ended up cut. swimming was spared.
    granted, that success was not the only factor. but when money was the issue cutting teams, it sure helped in swimming's defense.

  22. some of these issues will be addressed when we explore Jack Steck's bigger idea: the regional system. stay tuned.

  23. mix the initial idea of bringing all conference champs with 'B' cuts + the 14 member team = win win
    i have been at several schools that had a hard time supporting a squad with depth enough to take relays. We had numerous athletes who missed being invited by 1 spot, then had to turn around a watch much lesser quality athletes get in on relays. I would bet most conference champs in D1 are B-cut...or upper B-cut.
    This might help create more of a team atmosphere for schools in the top 10-25 and are often at the meet with only one swimmer.
    Swimmers ranked in the NCAA top 16 (or A-cut)at end of season should all automatically go. this would help big schools fill in their rosters.
    As for taper time, if everyone has to taper to get to the meet... good, fair! seems that a majority of schools are tapering pre-christmas now days anyway..for A-cuts without a need for a conference.
    There is a big disadvantage for quarter schools vs semester. Quarter school year starts way late. They are out of tune with the system, which is clearly and advantage for semesters. Semester swimmers hit summer nats, then get a few weeks off then start with college. The club teams empty out except a bunch of high school kids.. which we know is not as good as swimming with a college team. The kids at quarters have an extra 5 weeks, wind up switching conditioning programs at an odd time or getting a late start. These quarter schools also have a very tough time tapering prior to conference due to shorter season to prepare. Why should semester athletes be giving the advantage?

  24. Ive been thinging ...no relays invited!
    This would allow only individual invites(a lot more of them). Teams can then be allowed 1 or 2 additional swimmers to fill relays (relays would have a required standard for entry) and have to be assembled with more individual qualifiers this way.

  25. I'm confused by most of the 11:57 AM anonymous (this would be easier if you guys would start coming up with aliases, haha).

    Quote: "As for taper time, if everyone has to taper to get to the meet... good, fair!"


    And as for the quarters versus semesters debate, what does that have to do with the discussion at hand?? Those teams can start practicing at the same time as everyone else, regardless of when they start classes.

    Hydro, that wouldn't work either, because the mid-majors want an easy in, so they can convince more swimmers to come to their school. Your solution wouldn't wouldn't allow them an easy in. It would, however, preclude them from using the "but our athletes had a better time than swimmer XYZ athlete who made it in" line anymore.

  26. Im over it! enjoy your little make believe swim world on the internet. No wonder swimming is on its death bed.

  27. "I think a good first step would be expanding the number of relays that teams take to say 24 or 25, but to close the loophole allowing teams to formulate relays from swimmers best times. If you can put together a relay of 4 swimmers who qualified in their own individual times, that's fine, but stop letting teams pick and choose their swimmers best swims of the season, make a qualifying relay, and tinker with the lineups to qualify as many swimmers as possible"

    I honestly don't believe this goes on very often at all, and never goes on in the 200 medly relay since you can't swim those events officially to aggregate them.

    I'd be curious to see how many teams have ever qualified for the meet on an aggregate relay rather than on a time they swam. I know some schools have used aggregates to get a B-cut time for the individuals they have at the meet already in order to get another swim in, but I just don't think anyone qualifies a relay for the meet on an aggregate time.

    As for the relay-only qualifiers, they earned their spot by being fast enough to help that relay, they have to swim the relay at the meet or they get DQed from everything else (see USC and Texas women this year), so it's not like coaches are throwing scrubs on the team as a "hey nice work this year we'll carry you to NCAAs".

    I do like the idea of adding in conference champs who meet some kind of time standard. I think to keep the meet a reasonable size the B-cut would probably need to be a bit faster than it is today though.

    As for limiting it to 12-14 swimmers instead of 18, this could be a good idea, depending on how you count divers. I think 12 is too low though, 14-16 seems more reasonable, unless you're going to back down every conference meet to a similar limit.

  28. you suggest closing the aggregate loophole and then argue yourself out of believing it has much impact. NICE.

  29. -no automatics (a-cut)
    -take top 16 nationally each event
    -take conference champ with b-standards
    -fill through line 25-30 in individuals to make attendee number desired (priority = top16, conf champs, fill up rest by national rank)
    -swimmers making one event will be allowed b-cut events (in addition to line 25-30)
    -relays formed from meet attendees only
    more teams will have individuals = enough for relays (and better relays)
    -teams limited to 16

    **diving is on its own, unless we incorporate polo and syncro.

    Let us not forget this is suppose to be a "team" championship, instead of a bunch of superstars and 5 teams.(which is what we have now (teams #6 on back rarely have more than 2 or 3 swimmers, that's not a "team", it's a "couple")

  30. I like Anonymous 8:36 PM's idea, but something like that is never going to happen. Raducal changes will never happen.

  31. its hard to get the NCAA to change anything, especially in anyway that is logical or exciting. In fact most of there changes leave everyone saying WTF!!! ;) 8:36

  32. As a B-cut swimmer in 2000, I went on an invited relay and also because of my B-cut swam the 100 back individually. I did not take anyone's spot as you can see those that are inside the cut line are 'invited' A & B cuts. All others are a part of some relay or are there for another invited swim. The portrayal of Joel swimming is more than a little bit of a bash whether it sounds like that in your head or not Viking it came across pretty harsh. Saying all you did and then in one phrase saying he made it on a relay, you manipulated the tone and deemphasized the fact that he actually earned it. You're better than that SV. He had a B cut so, within the rules (not loophole) he got to swim that event.

    If they intend to expand the meet, that is a viable way. However, times are times, you are either fast enough or not. His choice to go to the mid Major school was his choice you have to deal with your choices.

    Last but not least, 35th is not 24th you know that SV. Just like 3rd is not 2nd at OTs. Write a letter to the CSCAA and the NCAA, start a movement SV.

  33. I have watched the interview on SWTV and I understand where your coming from, it just seemed a bit harsh in that section of the blog.

    As a club coach I think it is our job as grassroots coaches (high school coaches included) need to tell our best kids to consider mid-major. Missouri State, Eastern Michigan, Illinois-Chicago, Denver these coaches are good. Too many egos get in the way and coaches want their resumes to show their athletes going big time. We can help the fight in parity.

  34. I went to NCAA on a 400 free relay in 91. I was the fastest of the relay members (we did have an all-american on the relay but he was not near as solid at free). I was not an NCAA B-cut swimmer that year. The next year our relay sucked it up and i missed being invited by 1 spot(like 26th)...as did our 200 med relay. Bottom line. I did not earn it. the two other guys on the relay in 91' were far from 'earning' it. Nothing against them, they are good people, but the individuals ranked in the top 30 deserve it more than many relay swimmers.

  35. Coach Erik--
    you are right. I was being harsh. I am not backing down in making my point, but I could have made the point even with stats and rankings without naming names or pointing the finger directly at Ohio State. I apologize for that. They were within the rules and they did not cheat and my intention is not to single out any program. So, Andrew, Joel and Coach Wadley... please understand that it is the system I am criticizing, and not you personally. I had been angry about the mid-major argument being dismissed so easily in the past. I wanted stats, and those were the names attached to the first few I found. I could have randomly picked other names just as easily.

    I hope that the discussion on Split Time served to get more discussion going by taking a step back to look at all of this as a broader issue. And I hope I didn't come off as a jerk, as I am sure some people think I am for starting this argument!

    I touched briefly on the regional system there, and I hope that my next post (hopefully Monday) will thoroughly explore that as an alternative.

    Also, Erik... thank you for mentioning the grass roots role of coaches. The greatest changes that can make our sport better in the future will come from the guys developing our athletes from the ground up.

  36. "(teams #6 on back rarely have more than 2 or 3 swimmers, that's not a "team", it's a "couple")"

    Really? You might want to double check those stats, slugger.

  37. oh ya? how many teams are fielding 18 at NCAA. I'm not talking about 8 divers. Something like 40 scoring teams, the vast majority only have one swimmer, that isn't even a couple. I stand by what i said before!

  38. half a dozen don't even have swimmers at all, and are only scoring with diving. Do divers count against the invite number at NCAA champs, since they go through a regional qualifier?

  39. 235 swimmers at the men's meet. 35 divers rounds out the total cap of 270.

  40. SV...
    thx for all the well mannered discussion. It would be cool to have more with you. i have a hard time keeping up on blog sites like this one. that is why i stick to cscaa. -hydro