Sunday, February 27, 2011

Follow-up to survey comments

Much of the feedback to last year's post-season survey consists of suggestions on how to improve various aspects of TSA. This posting is an attempt to capture that feedback so that Reps' many good ideas won’t disappear into a vacuum. Where I can answer a question or offer an explanation directly, I’ve inserted parenthetical responses of my own that look like this:

{ Bob’s reply }

Proposed Rule Changes

The first category of suggestions consists of those that request a change to the TSA rules, either explicitly or implicitly (by proposing something that would be at odds with the current rules). All of these ideas will be passed on to the Rules Committee, but if you are serious about pushing for your suggested change, it will be up to you to contact the committee yourself and make your case in more detail. Remember that the full Board of Directors also has to vote to approve any proposed rule changes.

1) Just a suggestion: For 6 and under swimmers, we may want to establish a rule that if the swimmer is still in a diaper or pull up they are not permitted to swim in a meet.

2) One thing I would suggest is a standardized roster be printed for each meet. Sometimes swimmers are not listed on the roster and they are not off of the TSA website which I think should be required so that last minutes substitutions cannot be made.

3) Please require other teams to upload their roster [to the TSA web site]. It makes it much easier to enter results.

4) All pools must be required to have lights on the pool. It is not fair for a team to only swim main events due to a light problem, especially in a 4 lane pool

5) Great meets even though almost every one was affected by thunder/rain to some degree. Opposing TSA reps were wonderful to work with. Would like to see the "6U first" order of events officially sanctioned. Every team we swam this year preferred that order.

6) Heard a suggestion to remove birthdates and only include ages (as of 6/1) on rosters. Not sure all teams are providing rosters to their scorers.

7) We would prefer that meets be scored similar to year-round meets (based on all times), rather than main events only. This would give all swimmers a chance to win.

8) We would also like to see a change it what constitutes a completed meet when there are weather issues. We have a team of over 200 swimmers and many of the teams we face have only around 90 swimmers. When there were weather issues, the other teams often wanted to turn to main events only. This leaves out the majority of our swimmers. We would like to see the requirement for a completed meet be all heats through freestyle, then do main events only from backstroke on. If weather permitting, the teams should make an effort to backtrack after the "completed" meet requirements have been met to do all heats of backstroke, breaststroke and fly. We think this change will make all the kids truly feel like they are part of the team.

9) Our meets could have been shortened if clubs like [Team name redacted] and [Team name redacted] with over 240 swimmers filled their swimmers in to all lanes during a heat. It appears as though every swimmer swam every stroke. Is it possible to look into creating a rule around this? We never made it to Free Relay because of weather related issues later in the night. If we had not had to wait for [redacted] heat swimmers to finish in "their" lanes, we might have made it through all of the strokes.

{ There is already a rule (102.4.3) that allows a team to fill open lanes after the opposing team has run out of swimmers in an event, but it does not require a team to do so. }

10) When are we going to switch to timing being the judge for place and get away from the hand signals etc. It would lessen the volunteer load, be more specific and fair, cut down on the chaos with close races etc?

11) While most teams do not have main event swimmers participate in a non-main event heat in a 4th stroke, it would help to prohibit that practice.

12) Would like to revisit scheduling meets on Saturday mornings. Too many thunderstorms in the evening.

Rules Enforcement

Another group of comments can be categorized as pleas for better adherence to current TSA rules, so please look over the items below and see whether you are one of the clubs that is (probably inadvertently) breaking a rule and causing another team to complain:

13) Coaches need to be reminded of the TSA rules regarding swim-ups and assembling last-minute relays. I was never given a WRITTEN list of swim-ups before the meet, which I thought was a requirement. Coaches need to be reminded that swim-ups are not allowed in Main Events, and that one swimmer on a relay team MUST be of that TSA age group. Coaches need to be reminded of the rules regarding swimming a child up in relays.

14) Disappointed by the question of separating the 6 and unders. Our team does not swim 6 and unders first and has taken a great deal of harassment over this issue over the past several years.

15) We did have one team that wanted to run the meet in an alternate order (all 6 and under events first). When I told their TSA rep we would prefer not to do this, they said it was how their parents wanted it and they were going to do it anyway. I thought both TSA reps were supposed to agree, correct? Anyway, we let it go so as not to turn the meet into a confrontational meet.

16) Sportsmanship - I was under the impression that the home team TSA rep entered all the double and triple winners. We had two teams who only entered their swimmers. Also, I think it's tacky for the home team to announce only their double and triple winners after the meet. If they are going to announce the winners, they should announce both teams.

Pool Lane Usage

Finally, there were two comments on the use of pool lanes that seem to fall into gray areas of the current TSA rules:

17) [An issue is] teams that have pools with ten lanes. We swam two teams where this was the case and both put in 2 extra teams during the relay events. The handbook indicates “up to 3 lanes per team.” One team pulled the 2 extra relay teams they had placed. The second time it happened, they called them their “exhibition teams” and allowed them to swim. I think this is an inconvenience to the visitors. If nothing else, they should allow the visiting team to put in a team of their own “exhibition swimmers”.

{ The rules are already clear that only the innermost 6 lanes have any official recognition by Place Judges or Stroke & Turn Judges during main events. It’s actually quite common for large teams to form “D” and “E” relay teams as exhibition entrants in relay events and place them in the otherwise-unused outer lanes. With that said, it is only common courtesy that the visiting team should have the same opportunity and the exhibition lanes should be divided equally (using the usual odd/even assignment that applies to non-initial heats of individual events). It’s also a good idea for the Starter to make a public announcement along the lines of “Lanes 1 and 8 are exhibition swimmers”. }

18) Our meet at [Team name redacted] was fine but I would like to recommend that [redacted]'s pool be classified as a 4 lane pool. Should that come up in grievance committee? The two outside lanes are curved at both ends making it hard to flip. In addition, it is not clear to the swimmers or even the judges where you can legally touch to indicate the race is completed. Part of the wall curves in so the race course is actually shorter. That gives the outside swimmer an advantage.

{ This would not be a Grievance Committee item unless a team filed a protest in the time window specified in the rules. Issues about the idiosyncrasies of a particular pool facility are a good topic for the two TSA Reps to discuss with the judges prior to the meet, so that everyone is on the same page. If you’re willing to contact other teams that visited that pool in recent years, you can find out if others feel the same about designating the outer two lanes as unusable for main events. If so, you could then make a motion to that effect at a future Board meeting. }

Board Meetings

There were a number of comments about Board of Directors meetings. As always, the choice of meeting locations produced a varied set of responses. People naturally tend to prefer venues close to where they live, so there is no single perfect location. We are always looking for new possible venues, so please let me know of any specific suggestions you have for 2012. Bear in mind that the site must be able to hold 100 people with plenty of available parking. The rental rate also needs to be reasonable; we are paying on the order of $100 for each two-hour session at each of our current locations:

19) The meeting locations are far for those in North Raleigh. It would be nice if the meetings rotated between North Raleigh, Downtown Raleigh and Cary. Can you look into using a WebEx type platform where some meetings can be attended virtually?

{ Unfortunately, TSA does not have the fiscal resources to hold a true telepresence video conference, and cheaper on-line alternative such as Skype will not work well logistically in a large room with many audience speakers. }

20) Meetings were very helpful and informative. We could use less guest speakers and vendors though which tended to extend the length of the meetings.

21) Too many guest speakers.

22) Too much time is given to vendors to speak. Appreciate that we stick to the agenda.

{ I felt the same way myself sometimes, as vendors did not always stick to their allotted times. So henceforth, vendors will be allowed to distribute materials at meetings, but will not be given speaking slots. We will limit visitor presentations to the year-round swim programs and the occasional non-commercial guest that might have something important to share with TSA (e.g., safety issues such as the Greg Fishel lightning talk). }

23) TSA new rep training was good, but I think it should be a stand alone (earlier) meeting for reps with children. Greater training on how to enter double/ triple winners would be helpful.

{ Unfortunately, we cannot afford to book a separate meeting time and venue for the Meet Management clinic, so it will have to remain as an appendage to the May Board meeting. I don’t recommend bringing young children along. But you can always send email if you have any questions on how to enter meet results. }


The following comments about Clinics have already been forwarded to the Clinics Committee, but if you are serious about pushing for your suggested change, it will be up to you to contact the committee yourself and make your case in more detail. (Note that one of these suggestions was also listed in the Rules Committee proposals above.):

24) Coaches need to be reminded of the TSA rules regarding swim-ups and assembling last-minute relays. I was never given a WRITTEN list of swim-ups before the meet, which I thought was a requirement. Coaches need to be reminded that swim-ups are not allowed in Main Events, and that one swimmer on a relay team MUST be of that TSA age group. Coaches need to be reminded of the rules regarding swimming a child up in relays.

25) I have not attended a coaches' clinic, but my daughter has. She said she would like more instruction on coaching techniques. Our swim team committee just met and decided that we would like to invest in more training for our coaches - we would love to know of good resources for that.

26) New coaches benefit greatly from the clinics but those who have been head coaches for a number of years find them not very useful.

27) Notification [of Coaches’ Clinic] was very poor. We needed more notice. There needs to be additional clinics for coaches, especially in the North Raleigh area.

28) Review coaches' placement during meets (at the side of the pool). Go over the rules for coaches talking with meet officials.

29) Make clear if [the Starters’] clinic is required.

{ It is recommended for new starters, but is purely optional, and is announced as such by the Clinics Committee }

30) Would like to see some shorter version (either web based or other alternative) [of the Stroke & Turn Clinic] for returning judges.

{ The web-based training would be a great idea, but the problem is that much of our training consists of copyrighted video footage that we do not have permission to distribute. }

Meet Materials

Comments about the Meet Materials (Note that one of these suggestions was also listed in the Rules Committee proposals above.):

31) I would like to have a standard form that Coaches provide to TSA Reps listing all SWIM UPS - this form would be given to the other team before the meet.

{ Sounds like a good idea. I’ll look into creating a new form for that. }

32) Any changes (new relays assembled on the fly) should be provided via a standard CHANGES / NEW RELAYS form as well.

{ I’m not sure if this is referring to changes to the list of “Swim-ups” during the meet. If so, rule 101.6.3.H already covers notification procedures. If not, no notification is required anyway. }

33) One thing I would suggest is a standardized roster be printed for each meet. Sometimes swimmers are not listed on the roster and they are not off of the TSA website which I think should be required so that last minutes substitutions cannot be made.

{ Note that the rules already require a printed roster to be presented by each team. There is no requirement that teams upload their roster to the web site. }

34) We prefer the pink and blue pads to the white ones. It is easy to get the sex listed on the pad confused in the dark.

{ I’m puzzled by this comment. White event pads were replaced by sex-specific pink and blue pads several years ago. Perhaps this club was burning off some old inventory, or had printed their own forms onto white paper instead of using the ones provided in their meet materials bag. }

35) The notion of who provides labels with ribbons was not clear.

{ The home team must provide ribbons, but is not required to provide labels for them, though that is certainly encouraged }

36) Needed more pink and blue sheets at end of season; other than that everything was fine.

37) Needed more slips.

{ If you ran out of pink or blue forms, you are doing something wrong. Unless they tell the Dual Meets Management Committee otherwise, each team will receive 6 pads of each color form. Each pad has 40 sheets, which covers all 33 main events for that sex in a meet, plus 7 spare sheets. Remember that you are only supposed to use event entry forms for main event heats (the first heat of every event), because those are the only ones that are judged and scored. If you do run out of forms for some reason, remember that you can always print more of your own using the PDF files on the TSA web site. }

38) It would be great to add documents for meets that run all 6 and unders first. I'm thinking of the starter and announcer documents.

{ If the TSA rules are ever changed to officially sanction that event order, we will provide forms to reflect that. }

Web Site, Blog, etc.

Comments about the Web Site, the Blog, the newsgroup and other resources (Note that one of these suggestions was also listed in the Rules Committee proposals above.):

39) Can you please add the "forget your password" feature when trying to log on to the TSA site?

40) I like the ability to post records. However we still cannot use the enhancement. Our TEAM records include not only TSA meets, but Cary City meets also. I could use the new enhancements, but the "TEAM" records would only be for TSA meets. Can we expand the TEAM records to include the ability to add Cary City results?

{ I’ll ask Fred to scope out what these enhancements would cost and we’ll see if they’re worthwhile. In the meantime, just send me email if you need your password reset. }

41) I did use the tool to distribute information to the local newspaper but had some trouble with it. First, there was a new contact at the newspaper but we resolved that issue quickly. Second, the tool did not always do what it said it would do in the directions and swimmer information needed to be re-entered because somehow it was lost in cyber space.

{ Please let me know what specific problems you saw. I’m actually surprised that your paper still prints results, since fewer and fewer of them have the space thise days. }

42) Site works well. Would like to see consistency in the various means of communication, ie google groups, email, tsanc blog.

43) Scattered information - would be nice if it was all in one place.

44) Information is scattered across many resources (TSA web site, TSA blog, Google Pages, etc.).

{ It is that way behind the scenes, but should be the single point of contact. Everything else, including the blog, can ultimately be reached by following links on that site. It should never be necessary to go to Google Pages directly; that’s just the location for certain documents whose links appear on the web site or the blog. }

45) It is nearly impossible to get into the website on Tuesday during the day or evening. It runs very slow.

{ Have others experienced this problem? I’ve never run into it. Please let me know if you see this too. }

46) Please require other teams to upload their roster. It makes it much easier to enter results.

{ As noted above, this would require a Rules change }

47) The blog section has lots of gems hidden amongst all of the other material. Is there a way to mark what you want to be able to find again in the future or can we organize it so that things are searchable?

{ Things are already searchable. Just enter the terms you seek in the white box with the magnifying glass logo in the upper left-hand corner of }

48) I like the blog but would like to get an email when new info is posted on the blog.

{To do that, become a “Follower” of the blog by logging into your or Google account, and then clicking on the “Follow” link that will be visible in the upper left-hand corner of You can set up a Google account for any email address – it doesn’t have to be a Gmail account. }

49) Can we embargo companies that send more than a couple emails each season to the TSA rep email list?

{ We had one case last year of a TSA Rep sending an inappropriate commercial appeal to the mailing list, but he now knows better. Note that only members of the mailing list (TSA Reps, Alternates and league officers) are allowed to post or receive messages via the mailing list. As always, there is nothing really stopping outsiders from bypassing the mailing list and harvesting rep email addresses directly from the individual team pages on the TSA web site, though they would have to do this one team at a time. }

50) I like things better on the tsanc website. My office blocks blogspot so I can't check things before I leave the office for a meet or meeting. The board of directors google group was helpful as it was email based.

{ Note that important messages are sent out to the newsgroup as well as being posted to the Blog. We’d need a major enhancement to the website in order to bring the blog under its aegis. }

51) I was not overwhelmed by emails, but I do think it would be good if there were an obvious option to reply only to the person who sent the original email. Some of the dialog that went on came to me even though I was not involved. But, as I said, it was not overwhelming.

{ In fact, the newsgroup settings were changed to do exactly that last June. See here
for details. }

1 comment:

debra ryan said...

perhaps we should consider meet management clinics to be part of the spring clinics that are held as opposed to the May meeting. I also feel like there is a lot of information to share and that by only having one meet management session new TSA reps leave feeling very overwhelmed. I liked it when the TSA meetings had a brief meet management session as part of each month's agenda.