Today is the last day for a swimmer to qualify for the Coaches Invitational Long Course meet. How do we decide who gets an invitation? If you're really curious, the relevant rule is Rule 15, on p. 57 of this year's MCSL handbook.
The eight fastest swimmers, based on the first three dual meets of this season, plus two alternates in each event will be invited to participate. But, unlike our dual meets or even individual All Stars, a swimmer can swim only TWO events at Long Course. Some swimmers qualify for only one or two events, but others are eligible by speed to swim more--but by rule, they can't.
So, how do swimmers decide which two events they will swim? A swimmer has two choices. He or she can do nothing and let the league decide, which the automation team does using computers and numbers. I won't even go there--when the computer folks start talking, I'm afraid I feel like I've been transported to a foreign country. I just can't quite comprehend--but you can read it, I think, in the rule.
Or, if the swimmer cares which two strokes he/she competes in, he/she can scratch the events he/she doesn't want to swim. Here's an example provided by our Chief Automation Guru: Alice Allstar has 4th place in back, 5th place in free and 10th place in fly. Because her competitors submitted scratches (or were scratched during seeding) for 2nd, 4th, 5th , 6th and 8th in fly (they know what its like to do a 50 LC fly!), Alice has moved up to 5th place in fly. Because her 5th place seed is a lower ratio to the record time than free, she is seeded into back and fly. So--and this is me again--if she really doesn't want to swim fly, she should scratch out of it by the deadline, and then she'll only be seeded in back and free.
There is a deadline to scratch individual events--the automation team gets very...tired if they have to reseed events over and over and we want to have time for all the eligible swimmers to find out they are scheduled to swim. (We really, really hate empty lanes, especially at these invitational meets.) This year the deadline is tomorrow, June 29.
Here's how to scratch, also straight from the Chief Automation Guru:
1. Scratches should by sent by a designated team contact (team coach or team rep) to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Long Course scratch" in the subject line.
2. Scratches must include:
The name of the swimmer.
The name and abbreviation of the team.
A contact e-mail and phone.
A valid return e-mail address.
The stroke (s) that the swimmer does not wish to swim.
3. Scratches that are hypothetical, involve “what-if” scenarios, are contingent, or are improperly submitted (e.g. “I want to swim back only”) will not be accepted, nor will we notify the senders. Please refer to the handbook (pages 57-58) regarding the seeding process. If it is important that your swimmer swims a particular stroke, they should scratch out of other strokes – it is common for higher level scratches and seeds to move swimmers several places, and likely into other strokes, especially in this meet.
4. Once the seedings are posted, they are final--a swimmer may only scratch out of the meet, not out of individual strokes.