What determines the "fastest" swimmer for an event?

What determines the "fastest" swimmer for an event?

Post by Jeff Pa » Fri, 01 Mar 1996 04:00:00


Quote:

>     Recently, I just competed in a swim championship meet where I was taken
>off of the 200 medley relay team (I swim the backstroke leg.)  My coach felt
>that I wasn't the "fastest" swimmer for the job, even though I have the
>school record in the 50 backstroke.  Well, I have a feeling that since I
>slipped on my start in prelims for the 100 backstroke this gave him incentive
>to put another swimmer in my place.  My question is, does the coach have the
>right to do this?  I have read the other postings about how "the coach knows
>best" but from a swimmers point of view, his decisions aren't always the
>"correct" ones.  If a coach is reading this posting, why do you do this?  And
>are you only thinking about winning?  What ever happened to the fun part of
>swimming?
>     Another problem I have with coaches decisions also deal with
>deciding with choosing relay team members.  What gives the coach the
>right to swim a relay team in morning prelims to qualify that relay for
>finals, and then swim a totally different relay team in the evening for finals?
>     If anyone can answers these questions I would greatly appreciate it!!!!!!

A coach can put whoever he/she wants on a relay team, although (IMO) a good
coach will always explain why he/she made the choices he/she did.  "Fastest"
can be subjective; one swimmer may have a faster best time, but have had
mediocre swims the entire meet, while another "slower" swimmer may be having
the meet of his/her life.  In the instance described in the prior post, a
coach may have some justification in that replacement if he/she feels the
swimmer won't have time to adjust to the pool conditions.  Better a swimmer
who's a few tenths slower than one who'd miss a start and sink the relay (in a
200MR, it's virtually impossible to catch up from a blown start if the field
is even).

Coaches might also replace swimmers in relays depending upon other conditions
in the meet.  For example, if a team has two backstrokers of about equal
speed, and one makes a cut in prelims while the other just misses it in both
prelims and finals, the coach (again, IMO) should probably give the second
backstroker a chance to pick up the time off a relay split.  I'm sure there
are many more reasons, but I don't want this post to reach 1000 lines.

If you've got a problem with an event your coach has or hasn't put you into,
talk to him/her.  DON'T expect him/her to change on your whim, though; most
likely you'll get an explanation for the reasons behind the move.  Nothing is
more irritating than swimmers who try to out-coach the coach (except, perhaps,
for parents who try to out-coach the coach).

 
 
 

What determines the "fastest" swimmer for an event?

Post by Andrew Fowle » Fri, 01 Mar 1996 04:00:00

Quote:
>     Recently, I just competed in a swim championship meet where I was taken
>off of the 200 medley relay team (I swim the backstroke leg.)  My coach felt
>that I wasn't the "fastest" swimmer for the job, even though I have the
>school record in the 50 backstroke.  Well, I have a feeling that since I
>slipped on my start in prelims for the 100 backstroke this gave him incentive
>to put another swimmer in my place.  My question is, does the coach have the
>right to do this?  I have read the other postings about how "the coach knows

IMO, you coach was horribly in the wrong with this decision.  He is the coach
and does have the "right" to make any changes he feels necessary, but what he
did was effectively penalize you for a bad start in a different race.  I also
feel that it's a bad decision because it tends to be best to get right back in
and do the same event as soon as possible after a bad race, to rebuild
confidence; making you sit it out is just giving you time to think on it, and
tends to increase the odds of it happening again instead of preventing future
occurences.

Quote:
>     Another problem I have with coaches decisions also deal with
>deciding with choosing relay team members.  What gives the coach the
>right to swim a relay team in morning prelims to qualify that relay for
>finals, and then swim a totally different relay team in the evening for finals?

Once again, the coach has the authority to make any changes he wants.  But to
specifically answer your question, these changes are made for one or two
reasons.  The first I don't like, and that's when a weaker team is swum to
qualify and try to fool other coaches, then a much stronger group is entered in
finals.  The other possibility is that a strong team was entered in the morning
then a weaker team swims finals.  One possible motive here is that a strong
team qualified, then the team is ahead in overall scoring and the coach doesn't
want to swim a blowout.  Another possiblility is something my college coach did
nearly every year.  The last day of the conference meet a strong relay swam the
4x100 free in the morning.  This being the last event of finals, the coach put
in any graduating seniors who had never placed top eight so that they could get
a conference medal in their final meet.  Of course, there was an unspoken
agreement that if it would be possible to move up in team ranking with a strong
finish the trials group would swim...

I suppose that the short answer would be there are many reasons a coach may
change a relay lineup at the last minute or between trials and finals, although
I strongly feel that the first decision you mentioned was a poor one.