VIRGINIA BEACH – One last measurement confirmed what officials feared: the Princess Anne Recreation Center pool is still too short for eight high school swimming national records to count, including one set by Gar-Field’s Brett MacLennan.
The half-inch missing from the 25-meter pool will prevent the National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association from recognizing the times clocked at the February state championship.
”The last three times the pool was measured, it came up shorter than 25 meters,” said Dana Abbott, association president. ”There’s no way to get that measurement any longer.”
The final result, announced Wednesday, ends a monthslong process to allow the students’ records to be recognized.
MacLennan swam a 2:05.62 while finishing first in the 200-meter individual medley, breaking the national meters record by four tenths of a second. The national record is nullified, but his state championships in the 200 IM and 100 backstroke still stand.
”It kind of makes me a little mad that they would have a meet at a place where the pool’s too short, but what can you do?” MacLennan said when he first heard the news on July 2.
The final measurements at Princess Anne showed that Lane 1 was short by a half-inch and that Lane 8 was short by 3/16 of an inch, in line with past measurements. This time, the pool was measured along the edge in the two outside lanes. Previously, the pool had been measured down the center in the two inside lanes.
Bob White Sr., the association’s national records chairman, first raised concerns in a March association meeting.
”Normally, when you have a national record set, if you have one, that’s a lot,” White told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk. ”But they had eight out of 11 events. You seldom see more than one or two at a state championship.
”The minute I saw eight of them I thought, ‘Whoa, wait a minute.’ ”
White, who has served as national records chairman for 20 years, said he had never run into a similar problem before.
Despite the short measurements, any records set in the pool that the association recognized in previous years will stand, he said.
Twenty-eight All-American status qualifications from the February meet also were not disallowed. MacLennan, who will swim for Clemson University this fall, earned Automatic All-American status with his times.
The incident has caused swimming organizations to scrutinize pool measuring procedures and length standards. The Virginia High School League will look into establishing a method for how pools should be measured, said Ken Tilley, executive director.
Staff writer Keith McMillan contributed to this story.