Shouts From The Stands: An Open, Kind Letter From Swimming Fan To Swimming Results People

by SwimSwam Contributors 19

February 21st, 2024 Opinion

SwimSwam welcomes reader submissions about all topics aquatic, and if it’s well-written and well-thought, we might just post it under our “Shouts from the Stands” series. We don’t necessarily endorse the content of the Shouts from the Stands posts, and the opinions remain those of their authors. If you have thoughts to share, please send them to [email protected].

This “Shouts from the Stands” submission comes from Justin Wallace.

Hi! How are you? I’m a guy in his early 40s who used to swim slowly for a bad college team. I still enjoy the sport to this day, especially following some of my friend’s children as they get into high school and college. I also enjoy following college men’s and women’s teams as well as some national and international events.

Unless the race is particularly notable, the way I follow swimming is to review meet results in print form online. Complete meet results tell a story that the metrics of other sports often can’t. Times are times are times are times are times. Swimming doesn’t have defence or any other variables that significantly affect times. Races like the 500 often have a guy out in front and someone trying to reel him or her in, which comes through in the splits. Relays have one team pull ahead in one stroke and fall behind in another. Individual medleys feature different strengths (the breaststroker versus the ‘every other stroker’).

I have four thoughts on ways that the folks who post swimming results on the internet can help out fans who follow along like I do. We are trying to follow your team and humbly request your assistance.

First, the only way to post swimming results online is to post a PDF from the scoring system used in the meet. One PDF with all results. Provide as much split information as the system offers. Any sort of summary or recap of the meet serves its purpose—and listing times and places for swimmers in events can be fine too—but there is no substitute for the actual, full PDF results from the system with every split in terms of following along with what happened during the meet.

Second, some websites post international results where a reviewer has to open a different page for each event. Pure evil. We are looking for all of the results on one PDF no matter how big it is.

Third, and this applies in particular to college teams, every sports information department should post the full PDF results of every meet that team participates in, whether home or away. Obviously, the home team has the easiest access to the native information, but there can be issues beyond anyone’s control with getting results timely loaded. Your team’s website should have the PDF results of every meet because, after the meet has ended, your fans go to your website to look at the results.

Fourth, keep archives. No original material needed. At the end of every season—where you’ve created good, full PDF links of all results—save that page as the archived season. Host the PDFs yourself so they don’t disappear. Have an archives drop-down link that has a list of past seasons. Click on a season and get the schedule for that year with the PDFs. Let people go back as many years as reasonably possible; a good internet detective can find a lot of old meet results in various places to re-create seasons. Top ten lists and compilations are fine but the PDF results are the most important.

Thanks for reading. Again, we are trying to follow along with your team and get as much information about the competitions as possible, so we appreciate all efforts to provide the information that weirdos like me rely on to follow swimming.

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1 month ago

Bless you.

A worthwhile, and in some ways superior method for making the meet information available for review is a Hy-tek Live Results post. PDF gets you eventually to the results you want (total meet result information) but can be frustrating if there is a particular event you want to review. Live Results gets you there immediately. In any event, making the full results available (there can be some hugely interesting swims that place 4th or 7th as well) is most useful.

Keep enjoying the sport, Justin.

Alex Wilson
1 month ago

A few low cost items that college teams could do to improve spectator experience. Lane numbers: Make sure the lane numbers on the starting blocks are large enough to be seen by parents and grandparents! Where practicable paint the lane numbers on the pool decks on the non starting end of the pool perhaps on the top movable bulkheads were those are in use. Another would be to use different colored lane lines for lanes 4 and 5 as is done in international competition.

1 month ago

It has always amazed me the number of professional and semi-professional coaches that encourage (and demand) their athlete record and diarize each training session good or bad, but the very department they work for does not keep accurate and accountable results of their athletes. Complete contrast to their teaching methods, a bit of “do as I say, not as I do”. Really let’s the athlete (and supporters) down in my opinion.

1 month ago

I like it. I will add one more. If you run Meet Mobile close out the meet with the last event. And ensure all events are uploaded. Frustrating when not.

1 month ago

100% agree. I love that high schools and colleges and for the most parts, clubs, use SwimCloud now as well. Great for archiving results even without the PDF. Assuming the coaches submit the zip file…0

1 month ago

I am full of agreement:)

1 month ago

I love to read results from years past to see progression and history.

I feel the more we save results and keep records the more serious our sports are.

It would be nice to archive swimming results because it showcased the hard work done by the swimmers.

1 month ago

When a meet, pool, conference whatever record is broken, publish the results with the old record at the top in the header section. We want to know what the old record was. Note the new record with an asterisk. That way we can see what the old record was one last time.

Reply to  ZThomas
1 month ago

Yes this!!