Sometimes, a team is much better than its record. Take the Staples girls swim team as a prime example. Despite finishing its dual meet season with a 4-5 record, the Staples team is better than those numbers. The Lady Wreckers finished with that record after facing five of the seven best teams in the state, with only one easy opponent.

In fact, Staples is better than 10-1 Brookfield, who finished second in the SWC and 11-0 Pomperaug, the SWC champion. We'll know that for sure after the class and State Open meets.

The Lady Wreckers finished below .500 because no out-of-conference team was willing to face them because they feared the outcome and they didn't face three teams in the FCIAC.

Staples Coach Mike Laux tried to rectify this during a two-week hiatus when his team faced no one, even though he tried to schedule meets against Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe from the FCIAC and East Lyme in a non-conference meet.

From Oct. 2-14, the Lady Wreckers had no dual meets and Ludlowe had no meets from Sept. 30-Oct. 13. Warde had only one meet in this period.

"We never had anything like this before when we had two weeks off," Laux said. "Having the additional meets is another opportunity to qualify for States. I would have liked to have a couple more meets." What should be mandated was that all teams in the FCIAC would be required to face each other. This way, the Lady Wreckers would have faced Ludlowe, Warde and St. Joseph and finish the dual meet season at 7-5. In most leagues, not every school has a swimming team and each team competes against each other during the regular season. This should be true in the FCIAC.

Moreover, Staples had only nine dual meets this year and in years past, it had 11 or 12 meets. If every team were required to face each other and ducking an opponent wasn't allowed, the Lady Wreckers would have had 12 opponents, a manageable number of meets.

Being a classy team, the Staples captains don't fault the teams that ducked their squad. If the shoe were on the other foot, none of his captains would duck an opponent and, if anything, would relish the challenge.

"In a perfect world, it would be the best thing [facing every FCIAC opponent], but it's complicated having too many meets," Lady Wrecker senior captain Stephanie Nussbaum said.

Staples senior captain Molly Loftus said, "I think it would be fair [if we faced everyone in the FCIAC], but it's up to them if they want to race against us and we would have loved to race them. We don't want to race against teams who don't want to race us. We look forward to race against our opponents no matter who they are."

The Lady Wreckers proved their strength by finishing sixth out of 12 teams at FCIACs last Saturday, the top half of the conference. Proof of how challenging the league is, they are confident they can finish fifth at Class LL.

"Our schedule has us swim against the top teams in the FCIAC," Nussbaum said. "If we faced the weaker teams, we'd be better than 4-5, but swimming against the best teams prepare us for FCIACs and States. I think we'll show how good we are at states and finish in the top five."

Staples competes "against some really great teams and we did well against everyone, which is what counts the most," Loftus said. "It's always good to have a good record, but at the end of the day, what counts is what we do in championship meets and we definitely have the potential to do well in them."

While on the subject of swimming, one other thing that needs to change is the scoring system. It's plausible for a swimmer who completes his or her race (this includes the boys season this winter) in 59.8 seconds to finish behind someone in the standings who completed the race in 1:01.2. This doesn't make sense according to the rules of basic math, but if someone finishes in the top eight positions at trials, they are locked into the top eight no matter what they do at finals and those in the middle eight are locked there. The rationale behind this is to make sure no one coasts at trials. This is wrong and someone with the faster time should always be placed ahead of the slower time, regardless of heat.

That's how track is scored and this is how swimming should be scored as well -- the one with the fastest time wins the race.