Schickler: Just swim the meet
The Staples girls swimming team's home meet against Wilton last Friday should not have been postponed.
Officially, Wilton asked to postpone the meet because its new swimsuits, which were supposed to be delivered three days before the meet, had not arrived. Some people at Staples, however, wonder whether the real reason was that Wilton was going to be missing two swimmers -- including its best performer, KC Moss, who had a college interview.
Wilton coach Todd Stevens knew a month in advance that Moss wasn't going to be available for the meet, but he said her absence had no bearing in his decision to seek the postponement -- to which Staples Athletic Director Marty Lisevick agreed.
"The fact that KC Moss was out of town had nothing to do with our rescheduling the meet," Stevens said. "We're a swimming team and do not rely on one swimmer to lead us to victory. She's a valuable part of our program, and we would like to have her at all of our meets. We missed a week of practice [because of Tropical Storm Irene's aftermath] and we had to reschedule our season-opener we had against Fairfield Ludlowe."
Still, some Staples swimmers said the meet should have gone on.
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"I'm disappointed it was cancelled," Lady Wrecker captain Caroline Valerio said. "If it was because of the swimsuits, it shouldn't make a difference because they could swim in their practice suits and it wouldn't make a difference."
In fairness to Wilton, the whole uniform thing wasn't its fault. In fact, the national swimming bureaucracy and the CIAC deserve more blame and if anything, the Lady Warriors are the victims of their uniform gaffe. It all started when Wilton ordered its 2011 swimming suits in August, which contained two logos, the name of the school and its nickname. The national high school swimming federation reinterpreted the rules this summer, stating that a team is allowed to have only one logo and name in the same place on its swimming suit.
Wilton found out at the FCIAC swimming coaches meeting in August -- shortly after it received its new uniforms -- that two logos were unacceptable. After shelling out money for the suits, Wilton appealed the ruling to the CIAC and lost, thus it had to order new suits with one logo on it.
"They should have given us more warning on the rules change," Staples coach Mike Laux said. "It wasn't a good thing to reinterpret the rule at the last minute."
After ordering new swimming suits which conformed with the new regulations and were first supposed to arrive Sept. 15 and when they didn't arrive, Sept. 20 became the new due date. When they didn't arrive , Wilton found out that UPS lost the package, thus it decided to postpone Friday's meet.
"It [the swim suits] doesn't make a difference how fast you make a difference how fast you go," Laux said. "It's a matter of team pride. It's a swimming team and the [Wilton] coaches are sensitive to their needs. I understand where they are coming from, and I don't fault them."
The national federation definitely messed up on two fronts. If they are to reinterpret a rule and change it, they need to give much more notice before implementation. Because of time needed to implement the change, the new rule shouldn't have taken effect until the fall of 2012. In order to have it take effect this fall, they should have changed the rule last December.
"Rules are rules but it was a sudden change because no one was clear on it," Lady Wreckers captain Michelle Mastrianni said. "There should have been a grace period."
Staples captain Gabby Wimer said, "I don't understand why the rule was changed. For the past couple of years, Staples had more than one logo and it doesn't make a difference. I feel bad for Wilton because they ordered suits before the rule change and they had to reorder the suits."
Moreover, what difference does it make if a team wears one, two or even five logos on its swimming suits. As long as the logos are in good taste and don't peddle a commercial product, it's a non-issue.
However, the suits shouldn't have made a difference.
The 2011 Lady Warriors aren't the first team to have a mishap with the order of swim suits, and theoretically, they still could have faced Staples wearing their practice suits or personal suits. They did that Sept. 19 in a convincing victory over Fairfield Warde.
"Everyone on our team wanted to swim against Wilton," Laux said. "Many years [earlier in the millennium], we didn't have our suits for the first meet or first few meets. If we didn't have our suits [ready], we'd wear our own suits. We did it in the past and we would have swam the meet if it was us."
Stevens agreed to face Warde because it was a home meet where there was no diving and said he had no time to postpone the meet (originally, the suits were suppose to arrive right before the weekend leading up to the meet).
"When we went on the road, we wanted to look like a team," Stevens said.
He also said that Staples is a much better team than Warde.
Moreover, the field -- eh, water -- was leveled because the Lady Wreckers were missing their top swimmer, sophomore Verity Abel, who was sick. Staples also missed Abel last Wednesday in a 102-83 loss to Norwalk and might have edged the Lady Bears if its ace was in the lineup.
Despite missing Abel, the Lady Wreckers didn't try to postpone their meet with Norwalk. The Lady Warriors should have followed their example and make due with what they had.
"Wilton already had a meet and they could have still worn their [personal or practice] suits," Wimer said.