Rocket scientists at NASA were embarrassed a few years ago when failure to convert measurements from English to metric caused the multi-million dollar Mars lander to crash into the side of the red planet.
Now the rocket scientists have company.
The hosts of the Virginia High School League state championships in Virginia Beach this past February are red faced after finding out that the 25-meter pool at the Princess Anne Recreation Center was a half inch too short. This oversight negated eight national records set at the state meet including one set by Brett MacLennan of Gar-Field High School. It’s amazing how no one, from the builder to the event hosts, ever discovered this discrepancy.
MacLennan swam a record-breaking 2:05.62 in the 200 meter individual medley, breaking the national mark by four tenths of a second.
The National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association, however, will not recognize MacLennan’s record or seven others after the half-inch oversight came to light. The pool was recently remeasured and the same result was announced this past week.
Having a national record snatched away is something that most of us will probably never experience. The mysterious, missing half-inch will have the swimmers who briefly held those records wondering “what if” for a long time.
The “short” pool shouldn’t diminish the accomplishments of MacLennan, who will be joining the Clemson University swim team this fall. He’s proven his excellence and his 200 meter masterpiece should still be viewed, like MacLennan himself, with high regard.