An Open Letter to FINA

Dear Sir,

SWIMMING NEW ZEALAND DEFECTIVE WORLD RECORD APPLICATION

We have been told by the CEO of Swimming New Zealand, Christian Renford, that an Application for a World Record will be submitted to FINA in the next seven days. The Application will be for a short course swim by Lauren Boyle over 1500 metres at the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre on Saturday 9th August 2014.

We believe there are a number of errors in this Application that need to be investigated by FINA and which, in our opinion, should cause FINA to decline this swim as a world record. We note that FINA rule SW 12.15 requires that “on receipt of the application and upon satisfaction that the information contained in the application, including a negative doping control test certificate, is accurate, the Honorary Secretary of FINA shall declare the new World Record”.

We believe the application is not accurate. We recommend that the following factors should be investigated by FINA. We are further of the view that if any or all of these items are confirmed the record application must be declined. The integrity of FINA’s rules and the world record setting process is sufficiently important that applications, like this one, that fail to meet FINA standards should be declined.

SW 12.5.2 Where a moveable bulkhead is used, course measurement of the lane must be confirmed at the conclusion of the session during which the time was achieved.

This 1500 swim was achieved in a pool where a moveable bulkhead is used. We ask FINA to establish that the course measurement of the lane used was undertaken at the conclusion of the Saturday evening session on the 9th August 2014. We have reason to believe that course measurement was not confirmed until after the meet, during the week commencing Monday 11th August 2014. In that time, of course, the bulkhead could have moved. We will never know. We note that the World Record Application Form also requires confirmation that the pool was properly measured immediately at the conclusion of the Saturday evening session. We are concerned this question may have been answered and signed by the meet referee and Swimming New Zealand’s representative improperly.

SW 12.12 Applications for World Records must be made on the FINA official forms (see next page) by the responsible authority of the organising or management committee of the competition and signed by an authorised representative of the Member in the country of the swimmer, certifying that all regulations have been observed including a negative doping test certification (DC 5.3.2).

We understand the Record Application Form has been signed by Matt Meehan as the “responsible authority of the management committee” and by Christian Renford as the “authorised representative of the Member”. We believe the form has been signed improperly. We believe both Meehan and Renford are aware that the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre, used in this record attempt, had shortcomings during the 1500 metre swim that were in violation of FINA rules; shortcomings that should have prevented Meehan and Renford signing the Record Application Form. In particular we refer to the following questions from the application form.

WORLD RECORD APPLICATION FORM

DEMANDE D’HOMOLOGATION DE RECORD DU MONDE

13. Was the water still? / L’eau du bassin était-elle calme?

The presence of a material current in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre has been well documented for at least 15 years. The current was the subject of a formal protest submitted to the Auckland Region of SNZ a week before Boyle’s 1500 metre swim. The following information was included in the protest.

“Competing in a pool that does not comply with FINA Facility rules FR1.3 and FR2.11. Rule FR2.11 says, “During competition the water in the pool must be kept at a constant level with no appreciable movement. In order to observe health regulations in force in most countries, inflow and outflow is permissible as long as no appreciable current or turbulence is created.” Compelling evidence exists to show an “appreciable current” is present in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre.

To test this we selected, at random, seven events from the New Zealand National SC Championships at distances of 200 and 400 meters. We analysed the performance of the winners of each of these events. We chose to examine the performance of the winners of each of the seven events because we believed these stronger swimmers should be least affected by any current and they could also be best expected to swim even lap times.

If their swimming was affected the current must be considered “appreciable”.

In all cases we did not include the first length in our evaluation as the time swum was affected by the dive start.

The table below shows the product of our analysis. The following points summarize these findings.

  1. In every event, male and female, there is a consistent variation between the times taken to swim in one direction compared to the other direction.
  2. The average variation over all events between the “into current” and “with current” lengths is 0.74 seconds per 25m length. What that means is that on average New Zealand’s best swimmers consistently took 0.74 of a second longer to swim one way in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre than in the other direction. By any standard that meets the definition of “appreciable”; appreciable in terms of variation and its only explanation – a current.        

Event

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Even Av

Odd Av

F200 Br

17.60

19.08

17.99

19.55

18.33

19.72

19.11

18.26

19.45

F400Fr

15.26

16.49

15.65

16.06

15.61

16.31

15.50

15.51

16.29

M400Fr

14.32

14.95

14.30

14.87

14.67

14.69

14.79

14.52

14.91

F200Bk

15.82

16.56

16.18

16.43

15.99

16.57

15.63

15.91

16.52

M200Bk

14.74

15.67

15.13

14.94

14.26

15.65

13.81

14.49

15.42

F200Fl

15.83

16.86

16.41

17.34

16.91

17.55

15.93

16.27

17.25

M200Fl

14.48

15.61

15.21

14.88

14.72

15.33

15.25

14.92

15.27

Average

Per

25m

15.70

16.44

Conclusion

This protest is filed with a request that:

  1. The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre be ruled in violation of FINA rule FR2.11 and as such is a non-complying facility.

In addition to the information contained in the protest, 25 metre splits were hand timed during Boyle’s 1500 metre swim. The table below shows each of Lauren Boyle’s 25 metre times and shows clearly the effect the Wellington pool had on her performance; an effect that is in violation of FINA rules. On average Boyle took 0.57 of a second longer to swim into the current than with the current; an average variation of 3.6% per length. Boyle’s swim confirms the findings from the National Championship study and confirms the presence of a strong, appreciable current.

LAUREN BOYLE 25 METRE SPLITS WORLD BEST 1500 TIME 9 AUGUST 2014

Cumulative Splits

Lap Times

With Current

Into Current

13.56

28.36

13.56

14.80

42.36

-

14.00

0

-

1.28.87

0

0

1.43.09

1.59.31

14.22

16.22

2.14.21

2.30.01

14.90

15.80

2.45.02

3.00.35

15.01

15.33

3.15.47

3.31.06

15.12

15.59

3.46.18

4.01.56

15.12

15.38

4.16.89

4.32.22

15.33

15.33

4.47.33

5.03.06

15.11

15.73

5.18.15

5.33.85

15.09

15.70

5.48.94

6.04.30

15.09

15.36

6.19.42

6.35.22

15.12

15.82

6.50.72

7.06.02

15.50

15.30

7.21.25

7.36.66

15.23

15.41

7.51.77

8.07.95

15.11

16.18

8.23.32

8.38.99

15.37

15.67

8.54.16

9.09.94

15.17

15.78

9.25.19

9.41.01

15.25

15.82

9.56.37

10.12.12

15.36

15.75

10.27.45

10.43.14

15.33

15.69

10.58.70

11.14.61

15.56

15.91

11.30.06

11.45.88

15.45

15.82

12.01.43

12.17.14

15.55

15.71

12.32.25

12.47.98

15.11

15.64

13.03.50

13.19.10

15.52

15.60

13.34.55

13.50.06

15.45

15.51

14.05.17

14.20.89

15.11

15.72

14.36.04

14.51.96

15.15

15.92

15.06.58

15.22.50

14.62

15.92

Average Each

25 metres

15.09

15.66

Difference Per

25 metres

0.57

We also checked the validity of our hand timing by comparing each 50 metre time with the official 50 metre splits provided by the electronic timing equipment. The hand timing splits were within 0.13 seconds of the electronic times. The hand timing is accurate.

And finally associated with the hand timing a record was kept of the swimmer’s stroke count throughout the 1500 metres swim. Swimming with the current the swimmer recorded a consistent 17 strokes per length. Swimming against the current this increased to 18 strokes per length. The water in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre is not still.

WORLD RECORD APPLICATION FORM

DEMANDE D’HOMOLOGATION DE RECORD DU MONDE

18. In my opinion all FINA Rules have been met / A mon avis, toutes les règles de la FINA ont été respectées.

In our view the officials who have submitted the world record application form to FINA have acted improperly answering this question. In addition to the rule violations noted above the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre is also in violation of FINA facility rule “FR 2.7 Starting Platforms”. In part this rule says, “The water depth from a distance of 1.0 metre to 6.0 metre from the end wall must be 1.35 metres where starting platforms are installed.” The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre has a depth of only 1.2 metres from the wall where starting platforms are installed. This is a clear violation of FINA rules and should have prevented Meehan and Renford signing the Record Application.

FINA has previously been asked about the issue of the depth of the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre. On that occasion FINA advised Swimming New Zealand that continued use of the shallow end of the pool could invalidate any competition. Swimming New Zealand chose to ignore the advice of FINA and continued to hold competitions in a non-complying pool. And now in spite of the FINA two year old warning of serious consequences, Swimming New Zealand is asking FINA to ignore their own instruction and award a world record.

And finally, former SNZ National Coaching Director, Clive Rushton, has provided us with this historical perspective. “On 22 June 2003 a Policy document was approved by the then SNZ Council “To provide clear guidelines for the allocation and safe management of SNZ national competitions.

It opened with the following, categorical statement:

“All SNZ national competition facilities shall adhere to the FINA minimum facility standards and SNZ minimum facility standards.”

And then followed up with:

“SNZ may waive certain standards for pools if they do not materially interfere with the running of the competitions; compromise the health and safety of competitors, officials or spectators; or expose SNZ to undue legal or financial risk. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis by SNZ Council.”

There then followed a list of suitable pools in which the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre was clearly labeled – “Pool does not meet FINA Minimum standard but is approved by SNZ for designated competitions.”

The Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre was ruled by Swimming New Zealand as a FINA non-compliant pool back in 2003 and it has not changed since then. On the grounds of Swimming New Zealand’s own admission the request for the ratification of the Boyle 1500 metre swim as a world record should be declined.

CONCLUSION 

We submit that the following shortcomings in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre mean Swimming New Zealand should never have signed a world record application form, should never have submitted a world record application form to FINA and FINA should not approve the application as a world record.

  1. The pool was reportedly not measured in accordance in accordance with FINA rule SW 2.5.2.
  2. The pool has a significant and well recorded current that affected this 1500 metre swim and is in violation of FINA rules FR 1.3 and FR2.11.
  3. The depth of the pool, where starting blocks are installed, of 1.2 meters, is below the FINA minimum depth requirement of 1.35 meters and is in violation of FINA rule FR 2.7.

 

David Wright, ASCA Level 5

New Zealand Swim Coach

  • Clive Rushton

    I’ve had it reported to me that this ‘controversy’ has been “pretty hard for Lauren”.

    It’s really important that she understands that EVERYONE is trying to support her great effort and appreciates just what a frustrating set of circumstances this must present her with.

    EVERY comment that has mentioned Lauren personally has emphasized that she is the “real deal” but, unfortunately, she has been a victim of the long-term neglect of both swimmer safety and performer excellence in the situation regarding WRAC.

    Lauren: we admire you, we respect you, we look at you as a shining beacon for the future of NZ success. You ARE the real deal. And, you are getting faster, faster (Lauren will remember that conversation).

  • David

    I could not agree with Clive’s comment more. Of course Lauren and her swim deserve and will get unstinted admiration from us all. She is a victim of SNZ neglect. Just as the little girl from Raumati who lost her teeth in the WRAC is a victim. Both swimmers deserve better from SNZ and Swimming Wellington and they did not get it. Our concern is 100% to see that does not happen again. SNZ fix your pool. And Lauren and the Raumati swimmer we admire you both. That’s why we do all this stuff.

  • James T

    David your sources are normally good, but please someone tell me it is not true that they did not get the survey done immediately following the session on Saturday.

    Surely that cannot be right.

    As bad as things are, surely they cannot be that bad? Please someone tell us it is not true.

  • Sandy

    For the record I can confirm the pool measurement was completed at 8:15pm on the 9th of August 2014. This measurement was carried out by a highly respected Licenced Cadastral Surveyor. A Leica TCRP1203+ robotic total station with CS15 controller were used to measure the length of Lane 4 using two different methodologies. If you have any queries regarding the professionalism or integrity of the measurement please contact NZIS.

  • James T

    Thank you Sandy. I am very relieved to hear this.

  • David

    Thank you Sandy for clearing up the measurement question. I did think it not being done sounded strange which is why I only asked the question. Good to know that was done properly. It leaves the FINA non-compliant pool depth and current as outstanding statements of fact. Thank you again.

  • h2tk

    This gets more ridiculous by the day.

    So it is confirmed that at least one FINA rule has been complied with as it relates to the surveying of the pool following the swim, as you would have expected, by a “highly respected … surveyor” to confirm the length of the lane that Lauren swam in. Were all the other lanes surveyed as well, as is required?

    Tell me Sandy, did it occur to Swimming Wellington and Swimming NZ get the “highly respected” surveyor to also survey water flow in the pool for the presence of “appreciable movement”, i.e. current? Or if that was not the expertise of the surveyor or their company, a “highly respected” civil engineer specialising in hydro/hydraulic engineering using water propes for current?

    No I thought not, despite there being a protest that had already been submitted to SNZ concerning the presence of a current PRIOR to, and totally unrelated to this swim.

    Of course you will say that you are only required to survey length, which is true. But you would think with all the controversy surrounding this that the fairly simple solution of getting this type of survey done would be obvious.

    No, it is easier to have the Swimming NZ CEO trot out the ridiculous sound bites on TV and the media that its too difficult, or there are no tools to measure current, and any other evidence is unsubstantiated and unreliable. No it is easier to play the man, not the ball, and play the sympathy, poor Lauren card. Yes, because the general public will buy that stuff.

    Oh, and one more thing. Did your “highly respected” surveyor also happen to use their “Leica TCRP1203+ robotic total station with CS15 controller” or any other device, to measure the depth of the pool underneath the starting block?

    No, of course not!

  • Kiwi Swimming Fan

    It breaks my heart to see these issues being discussed in the media and bringing Swimming in New Zealand in to disrepute. We are a nation of 4m people and our swimmers swim well above their weight when up against countries with much greater populations and swimming depth than we have.

    I admit straight away that I don’t have technical swimming knowledge. But from what I can tell from the previous posts it would seem to me that the depth of the pool and the current (if it exists) would actually have hindered Lauren and not helped her which makes her World Record even more remarkable. Surely if there is a current one way then swimming the opposite direction would be harder and it would also play havoc on a swimmers stoke rate.

    When I watched Lauren swimming the 800 Free at Commonwealth Games I noted that she seemed to be in front at the start end but behind at the turn end. The lead changed between her and Jazz several times. So after the splits were posted here for Lauren’s 1500 I went back and looked at her splits for the 800 free at Comm Games. Lauren was faster swimming from the turn end to the start end than the other way. Does this indicate that their could have been a current in the Tollcross Aquatic pool???

    50m split
    time
    start/finish to turn
    turn to start/finish

    29.32
    29.32

    1:00.34

    31.02

    1:32.03
    31.69

    2:03.36

    31.33

    2:35.16
    31.80

    3:06.40

    31.24

    3:38.24
    31.84

    4:09.55

    31.31

    4:41.30
    31,75

    5:12.60

    31.30

    5:44.22
    31.62

    6:15.68

    31.46

    6:47.36
    31.68

    7:18.64

    31.28

    7:49.83
    31.19

    8:20.59

    30.76

  • Nooley

    Well done Kiwi Swimming Fan.

    Current in Glasgow, who knows? Perhaps we should rely on a top coach’s splits to verify that.

    But if we do go on electronic splits both ends of the pool then perhaps we should look at 1500m Nags times in Wgtn. Below is the first 3 swimmers in Mens 17-18. I didn’t count first or last lap due to dive and sprint at end. So we have 14 laps each way and 3 fastest swimmers below with splits. Note: I could only be bothered doing 3 places – others may have more time.

    1st Place
    splits 0:28.99 1:00.47 1:32.55 2:04.52 2:36.85 3:09.08 3:41.12 4:12.83 4:44.97 5:16.90 5:49.18 6:21.48 6:54.01 7:26.40 7:58.90 8:31.26 9:03.22 9:35.77 10:07.73 10:40.20 11:12.23 11:44.36 12:16.38 12:48.78 13:20.87 13:53.07 14:25.06 14:57.03 15:28.43 15:58.39

    Average Odd Laps = 32.10 and Average Even Laps = 32.15 (difference 0.05 – odd laps faster)

    2nd Place
    splits 0:29.27 1:00.79 1:32.99 2:05.09 2:37.27 3:09.38 3:41.80 4:13.88 4:46.07 5:18.31 5:50.65 6:23.25 6:55.99 7:29.11 8:01.71 8:34.88 9:07.45 9:40.27 10:12.83 10:45.99 11:19.03 11:52.24 12:25.33 12:58.74 13:31.84 14:04.86 14:37.90 15:11.30 15:43.97 16:14.01

    Average Odd Laps = 32.62 and Average Even Laps = 32.71 (difference 0.09 – odd laps faster)

    3rd Place
    splits 0:29.36 1:00.77 1:33.08 2:04.82 2:37.27 3:09.39 3:42.11 4:14.13 4:46.60 5:19.20 5:52.32 6:25.09 6:57.87 7:30.54 8:03.18 8:36.01 9:09.25 9:42.43 10:15.30 10:48.49 11:21.70 11:55.09 12:27.71 13:00.89 13:34.58 14:07.86 14:41.63 15:14.99 15:48.29 16:20.21

    Average Odd Laps = 32.94 and Average Even Laps = 32.70 (difference 0.24 – even laps faster)

    Now let’s compare to same race at West Wave – NZ Opens 2014

    1500 free mens (open)

    1st Place
    splits 0:27.99 0:58.31 1:29.06 1:59.96 2:30.66 3:01.15 3:31.81 4:02.52 4:33.14 5:03.59 5:34.17 6:04.72 6:35.30 7:05.87 7:36.70 8:07.59 8:38.53 9:09.61 9:40.51 10:11.83 10:42.87 11:14.20 11:45.44 12:16.92 12:48.45 13:19.98 13:51.60 14:23.40 14:54.87 15:25.25

    Average Odd Laps = 30.96 and Average Even Laps = 30.96 (same both ways)

    2nd Place
    splits 0:27.50 0:58.13 1:29.51 2:00.72 2:31.97 3:02.98 3:34.22 4:05.64 4:37.12 5:08.53 5:40.13 6:11.91 6:43.30 7:15.01 7:46.76 8:18.67 8:50.44 9:22.47 9:54.54 10:26.86 10:59.05 11:31.45 12:03.69 12:36.17 13:08.71 13:41.07 14:13.51 14:45.83 15:17.78 15:48.16

    Average Odd Laps = 31.81 and Average Even Laps = 31.78 (difference 0.03 – even laps faster)

    3rd Place
    splits 0:28.00 0:58.60 1:30.00 2:01.87 2:33.81 3:05.67 3:37.87 4:10.14 4:42.19 5:14.36 5:46.59 6:18.61 6:50.64 7:22.62 7:54.89 8:27.04 8:59.18 9:31.47 10:03.97 10:36.16 11:08.48 11:40.65 12:13.00 12:45.21 13:17.57 13:49.92 14:22.79 14:55.08 15:27.04 15:58.22

    Average Odd Laps = 32.19 and Average Even Laps = 32.03 (difference 0.16 – even laps faster)
    I don’t really know how to quantify “significant current”but from data that is not hand timed, both pools seem to be rather still.

  • David

    I have no idea who Nooley and Kiwi Swimming Fan are and normally
    I would resist the temptation to writhe around in a sewer of their making.
    However this issue is too important to stand on the side line doing nothing.
    Already a hundred swimmers have scrapped legs, chests and faces on the bottom
    of the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre. Already an eleven year old from
    Raumati has lost her teeth on the bottom of the same pool. Already the pool may
    have cost New Zealand’s best swimmer a world record. What else needs to happen before Swimming Wellington and SNZ fix their pool? Will partial paralysis be enough for Nooley and Kiwi Swimming Fan to shut up? Will total paralysis be
    necessary before SNZ and Miskimmin call enough? Perhaps a death might be the
    answer.

    No, this is a matter that must be pursued no matter what the personal cost; no matter what the stupidity some people write. The one thing we do know is that Nooley and Kiwi Swimming Fan are certainly no intellectual giants. Talent like theirs suggests they may be ideal candidates for membership of the Swimming Wellington Board. I just hope one day they come across a little girl from Raumati who has no teeth and tell her there’s nothing wrong with that pool. I hope they are not called upon to visit the Canterbury spinal unit to tell someone about the fine competition pool in the Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre.

    You see this is not about Nooley and Kiwi Swimming Fan or even Lauren Boyle. This is about the safety, health and care of swimmers using that swimming pool.

    Let’s deal with Kiwi Swimming Fan first. Clearly he or she need to be told that Boyle’s 1500m in Wellington was in the shallow end of the 25m Kilbirnie pool. Secondly Boyle’s average speed in Glasgow, Kiwi Swimming Fan tells us, going one way was 31.36 and the other way in Glasgow 31.21 a difference of 0.15 per 50m or 0.07 per 25m. In Wellington Boyle’s variation per 25m was 0.57 of a second; 800% more than in Glasgow. Good try whoever you are. Pitty about the rubbish.

    And then we have Nooley. He or she too does not appear to understand that NAGs are swum in a 50m pool and Boyle swam in the shallow end of a 25m pool. You cannot compare the two. Or you obviously can if your name is Nooley. Second while the Boys 17-18 race and the men’s open race in Auckland’s West Wave pool may be endlessly fascinating to Nooley, Lauren Boyle was not in
    Auckland, is not 17-18 nor is she male. I would have thought this leading mathematician would have noticed Boyle wears the wrong togs to qualify for a male race.

    All this is a really complicated way of saying to dear Nooley and Kiwi Swimming Fan; if you are going to burst into print engage your brain before you start typing. You have to compare like with like, apples with apples, oranges with oranges. Your assessments are as relevant as a comparison between Blythe’s Bounty and an Emirates A380. They are both means of transport but that’s about it.

    While I’m clearing up aggravating matters surrounding the
    Wellington Pool, I was disappointed to see Alison Fitch “like” an insulting
    post about me written by Corney Swanepoel. For some time Alison Fitch was on
    the Board of Swimming New Zealand. If she had done something about a defective Wellington Pool when she had the chance and the power, a little girl from
    Raumati might still have her teeth and Boyle might have a clean world record. “Physician heal thy self.”

    And finally I was at the brilliant Auckland Junior League competition on Saturday. This competition is a real tribute to work of Brian Palmer when he was Auckland Swimming CEO; hundreds of 8-12 year old swimming in a quick fire series of 25 and 50 metre events. Given the nature of the event I was more than surprised that Mark Bone chose this setting to accost me with a string of abuse about how I was not permitted to criticise him in Swimwatch. It was all shockingly inappropriate; verging on bringing the sport into disrepute. I am deeply saddened that I answered him back. To anyone who heard me I apologize. I should have turned and left Mark Bone frothing and steaming on his own. Bone should remember he too was National Coach for a period. Like Alison Fitch he too could have pushed for changes that would have brought about the alterations we are fighting for today.

    I do hope we do not tire of the Nooleys and the Kiwi Swimming Fans and the Fitchs and the Bones. If we do it may be too late for someone.

    • Justsaying

      Thanks for clearing that up…..I was a tad confused by nooley and swimming fan 50/25 analysis of this issue. I don’t claim to have the deepest understanding of finer details of times but did recognise the difference between 25 and 50 metre. Not feeling so stupid after all….thanks swimming fan and nooley. Just saying.