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Welcome

Thank you for stopping by.  My name is Sergio Lopez Miro and I have been involved in the swimming world as a swimmer or as a coach for almost 40 years.  Swimming has given me a path in life and my goal is to share some of my thoughts and experiences here with you.  Let me know what you think and enjoy!

 

 

Wednesday
Nov132013

As A Parent I Give the FHSAA an "F"

Today I am going to write my thoughts as a swim dad and not as a coach.

The Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) deserves an “F” for running the 2013 FHSAA Swimming & Diving Championship Meets at an outdoor pool in the middle of November.

A few months ago when they made the decision to host the Finals at the Sailfish Splash Water Park in Stuart, we all thought that it was a big mistake but we were hoping to be proved wrong.  Most of us are dreamers ;-); well it turned out to be a big FIASCO.  As a parent of a ninth grader I feel that the FHSAA not only placed my child in danger but also took away her chance of performing her best at that moment in time, and trust me that moment in time is a long time gone now. 

This is the most important meet of the year for these student-athletes, and instead of choosing an indoor pool with a controlled environment the FHSAA opted for an outdoor pool; an outdoor facility in Florida in the middle of November when the weather is unpredictable and there are higher chances of having bad weather.  We don’t have many indoor facilities here in Florida but, YES, we do have a few facilities that can host a meet with 300-400 swimmers on deck and parents in the stands while providing our children with the best environment possible.  Orlando, Clearwater and Jacksonville come to mind.  I know for a fact that Jacksonville put a bid to host the meet at Cecil Field and I believe Clearwater wanted to host the meet, too.

Today as a parent I am not going to talk about “Best Times” but about something that as a coach I am always remind of by the parents of the kids I coach and by my school’s administration – “SAFETY”.  We found ourselves in Stuart in the middle of the warm-up when lighting started up and rain fell like buckets were being poured on us. Officials tried to clear the deck and stands and get everyone to safety, but there was nowhere to go.  The lifeguards and FHSAA officials told everyone to go to their cars and buses. Are you kidding me!  Some of the buses were parked far away on the open field on the other side of the parking lot, and crossing an open field during a lightning storm is NOT SAFE!

Am I supposed to believe that I can feel good about the SAFETY plan that the FHSAA had for our children, the parents, coaches and everyone involved in making this happen?  No way.  What were they thinking when they chose this site?  Yes the facility is a very good one, the pool is very good and a lot of open space for the teams to set up.  But this was November and everyone knows the weather in November in Florida is best defined with one word – UNPREDICTABLE.  Still the FHSAA made an educated decision of hosting the most important meet of the swimming and diving season in a facility that, if inclement weather appeared, there is no protection.

Taking a look at the rest of the meet operations you can easily see that the FHSAA are a bunch of unprofessional professionals.  There was a radio station playing on the main speakers during the meet and no one knew how to shut it down.  The swimmers were confused, even behind the blocks.  It was interesting, and incredibly sad when as a parent I knew the kind of work my child put into this season, not to mention all of these children.

I honestly hope that every parent that was at the meet expresses their thoughts and complains about what we had to experience on Friday November 8th at the FHSAA 1A State Championships.  Things need to change and they need to change quickly for the benefit of the student-athletes that sacrifice so much at this young age for the chance to SHINE AT THIS MOMENT IN TIME.

Please don’t tell me that there were good times put up at the meet because you will get me even more upset.  I know how my daughter’s team performed (Since I coach them) and I watched some very good performances from many student-athletes from the different schools.  The bottom line is not swimming FAST (maybe FASTER) but also giving these student-athletes the BEST CHANCE for them to SHINE and not worry about whether THEY ARE SAFE at the most important meet of the year.

I won’t say anything as a coach since I don’t won’t to get in trouble ;-)

Sincerely yours,

Sergio

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Reader Comments (10)

I can say it any better myself. I knew this was not the best place to have this important meet before we attended and fate proved it .
I am a parent of a 9th grader so she still has time to make her mark .... I feel sorry for those juniors and seniors that are trying to set themselve well for a good scholarship and they had to endure that friday night mess.
We live in south florida and all I can say is ...bring it back to orlando ..... make it happen !!!!!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrobert rivers

I totally agree with this article!! The kids build up to this meet for months and having to deal with these conditions on top of everything else just stinks!!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLruth

I will have to agree, Stuart was truly a bad choice. Even though our Championship was on Saturday, athletes, coaches and parents worried all day wondering if the weather would hold on. My main complaint is about the facility itself, a few gender-mixed restrooms were available for parents, officials and coaches, which led to huge lines of frustrated people.
Lets not forget the $5 fee for parking! I have been to Orlando for the past 3 years, and I have never been charged for parking before!!!
So, YES, Stuart has to go!!!!!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmma

Our Regional Meet in Boca was the same. Rainy and windy weather all day long !!
And this meet is important too -- because it gets you INTO the State Meet if you are fast enough !!

I agree -- back to Orlando !!! Keep it indoors !!!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVBG

Agreed and thanks to Sergio the Dad for getting the discussion started.

As a club coach in the panhandle whose club helps to run district and regional meets so our area swimmers are not competing outside and have a great facility from which to advance, it seems that several considerations were left out.

Sergio is right about the safety and the environment in which to compete. Those have to be paramount to the decisions the FHSAA makes.

Furthermore choosing to have the 4 meets on 2 different weekends shows that the FHSAA does not understand swimming. Yes it is High School but the vast majority of the swimmers competing at state are year-round swimmers which makes our sport unique. For me this means having kids at 8 different high schools spread among 3 classes and managing 6 tapers over 4 weeks. Compare this to last year when I managed 3 tapers over 3 weeks. Not impossible but much more complicated and not in the best interest of the swimmers.

Others comments concerning the cost and bathrooms are warranted. My expenses for parking ($5), a deck pass ($25) and a heat sheets ($8) (did you know that HS coaches only received one copy and had to pay for additional copies), hotel rooms, tolls, meals and gas totaled about $1200. Since we now have 2 weekends to compete that cost will double. This makes it cost prohibitive and/or unfeasible for a club coach to leave for long periods of time leaving the swimmers without their primary who likely knows their swimming best. Everyone expects to have expenses but we all expect those expenses to be warranted and we want value for the fees.

That value comes in the way of having a well run meet from every aspect, making the experience pleasurable and catering to the swimmers, coaches, and parents so that the hard work they put in has the best chance to show up when it counts. Other than the actual meet timing and officials I saw and heard issues with parking, ticket sales, heat sheets, spectator bathrooms, concessions, coach’s hospitality, athletes bathrooms (no TP), etc. Taken individually some of these may sound petty but seen as a whole they paint a picture of a poorly thought out and poorly executed meet.

No situation is perfect for everyone but these meets are falling short of perfect for anyone.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Kraus - GPAC Coach

As a parent of a DIVER not a swimmer, the facility was very good from a diving perspective. It actually was 110% BETTER than Orlando - where it is way too LOUD in the morning when we usually compete and the spectators can only see the diving from upstairs with a head-on view, instead of from the side. Orlando does NOT have a sound system or scoreboard for the diving. The only big inconvenience at the Stuart venue was the spectator restrooms. Also, when we purchased a meet t-shirt from the shirt vendor, our credit card was charged twice and now my bank is disputing it for me because of their error! Overall, the outdoor venue was a refreshing change from the past 3 years in Orlando. Sorry swim parents, I disagree with you on the facility, but we did not have the weather you encountered on Friday evening and I do agree the safety issue should be a top concern of the FHSAA officials.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCocos1fan

Well said. Thank you!

November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason Bowes

I have to strongly disagree with the diving parent above. At the Class 1A meet held on Friday (11/8), the weather conditions for the girls diving competition were terrible. Wind speeds between 9am and 12pm measured 21-29 mph, with wind gusts to nearly 45 mph. The Stuart facility is not a suitable venue for this event, and I certainly hope the FHSAA will reconsider the location for next years finals. An indoor facility is required.

November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterColleen Canning

Didn't the FHSAA learn anything from when they had the state meet at an outdoor pool near there years ago it was a disaster.

November 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoAnn Sullivan

Shame on the FHSAA. Let's not forget the lack of appropriate food choices for the athletes. I have been to hundreds of swim meets and almost every meet has food for athletes. Now there was a concessions stand but I only saw greasy fat laiden food which I know none of the athletes of this caliber would eat between races. I ran to my car between events and drove to Publix for fruit and a bagel for my daughter. This was obviously so that the city of Stuart could sell their stale chips and tasteless French fries. How could FHSAA been so thoughtless.

November 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSwim parent

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