“My heart goes out to them, and to the broken-hearted swimmer and her teammates.” I was watching as the infraction was explained to the swimmers and their coaches there near the podium on Saturday, and I realized something really bad had occurred when Rogers walked away from the group, holding her hands to her head in dismay.It was a striking scene -- a girl of admirable talent and, from all reports, a girl known for her kindness, subjected to something awful in a setting designed to celebrate our best and brightest in the world of swim competition.I was talking to a gentleman with long experience in the law -- in pursuing and locking up criminals -- and I outlined the swim-meet situation to him, and he shook his head.
Anytime a relay has such a significant drop from prelims to finals (from .17 to .59), I, as a coach, would want to know why. With only six swimmers (at Notre Dame, a fairly new program that doesn’t even have its own pool), they really don’t have the personnel to replace a swimmer. I could just hold someone like Cathy Brown (an outstanding Watkins Glen swimmer who La Moreaux coached years ago) to three events in prelims, then put her in any relay in finals.
After you see what everyone else has chosen to “go for” (usually you can only focus on two relays), you can adjust your relay in the finals if you think it improves your chances.
Although (Rogers) had previously won Event 3 (the 200 Individual Medley), she was disqualified from that event as well. Sadly, we officials don’t get to choose which rules we want to enforce.
"I called the team’s coach into the pool office so that I could tell her of the disqualification in private, rather than on the deck. There’s simply no ambiguity in this one.” Cut and dried. For instance: how, exactly, did this matter come to light?
But if what I heard at poolside was right, the whistle-blower was someone considered not beyond utilizing a deep rules knowledge to her team’s advantage. Something in me wonders about that coach -- if it’s who I’m told it was.
It’s a moot point, I suppose -- La Moreaux said the mistake would have been uncovered, anyway, by a program that was part of the meet’s computerization. I wonder what kind of person would be so enamored of the rules when it might benefit his or her own team that he or she would disregard the human cost and push ahead, driven by the brass ring.
That was the rule, and according to the meet referee, Kate La Moreaux, herself once a coach of great note, there was no choice in the matter.
As she explained: “The meet committee, made up of coaches, referee and meet management were informed of the situation.
However, the blame shouldn’t fall to anyone except them.
They made a significant error, although I’m sure it wasn’t intentional.
All were in agreement that Rule 3 (regarding the number of races allowed per individual, and how they are determined) had been violated.