Meta Meet(s)

6  comments

Meta Meets are extra-special, additional, scholastic meets.

At first glance, think of a Meta Meet as a new type of highly competitive, All-Star, Invitational.  

Summary

  • The Meta Meet is held on Sunday, the day after the State Swimming and Diving Championships.
  • The meet features a single heat of each event for both girls and boys, just like a high school dual meet. The top finishers on one classification race against the top in the other classification.  
  • PA classifications are AA and AAA. Ohio classifications are Division 1 and Division 2.
  • Unlike a high school dual meet with one team in even lanes and the other in odd, these races seed times performed at the state final events so that the fastest qualified swimmers get the middle lanes.
  • In Olympic Years, the Meta Meet avoids short-course yards and races are conducted in a long-course meters course.
  • This gives swimmers opportunities to achieve or improve upon their Olympic Trials Cuts.
  • Selected participants from the I-League programs are invited to assist with the Meta Meet's operational duties such as ticketing, timing, and media.
  • Hopefully, these participants have an opportunity for a post-meet demonstration event.
  • The name, "Meta Meet," is a temporary placeholder name which should be changed in the future. Perhaps this meet obtains a title sponsor and all-star status.

Existing high school rule issues to overcome / compromise:

Scheduling the Meta Meet for the day after the conclusion of the season, and because the current rules terminate the high school season at the conclusion of the state championships, therefore:

  • The meet can not called an All-Star Event.
  • Athletes can not represent their high schools. 
  • Invites are not contingent upon the results of the high school performances.
  • Only seniors compete.

Thinking again!

Let's fix the rules and get PIAA Board to extend the "official season" to include one extra day after the last state championship meet has ended.

If the official swim season concluded one day later, one day after the second championship meet happened, then the high school swimmers and teams could have a Meta Meet that:

  • Could be called an All-Star Event.
  • Athletes could represent their high schools.
  • Invites could be contingent upon the results of the high school performances.
  • Athletes from grades 9 to 12 could compete.

PIAA Championship Meet Director, Melissa Metz, said she would not manage the Meta Meet.

  • At the end of the 4-and-a-half days of the state's swim and diving program, the energies of those with the PIAA are spent. Understandably. 
  • The PIAA focus as the Swimming & Diving meet ends shifts to basketball playoffs. 

In the past, when the State Championships were held at Penn State, an extra, one day meet did occur.

  • Holding a final meet, at the same venue, on the same weekend, has happened in the past.
  • Some of the teams in the WPIAL also hold a meet the day after the WPIAL Championships, generally at Mt. Lebanon.
  • Those day-after meets were club meets. So, something like that could be done again.  

Bonus benefits

When the official season concludes one day after the state championships, then the swimmers and divers who are not in the Meta Meet could participate in workshops, clinics, scrimmages too.

  • More to come.

Suggestion:

Hold an extra, mid-day meet on Sunday, the day following the PIAA State Championships, that includes top performers from boys and girls in both AAA and AA.

  1. Phase one: Invite the top four finishers from both the AAA and AA Meets compete in a time-final, dual meet format.
  2. Phase two: Invite the top three finishers from the PA AAA and PA AA Meets to compete along with the top finisher from the Ohio Division I and Ohio Division II Meets.
  3. Phase three: Invite the top two finishers from PA AAA, PA AA, Ohio Division I and Ohio Division II to a one-day, 4-way meet at Bucknell University in PA.
  4.  Phase four: Invite the top two finishers from PA AAA, PA AA, Ohio Division I and Ohio Division II to a one-day, 4-way meet in Akron in Ohio or Pittsburgh. The meet rotates hosts.

Proposed Schedule

Do not exceed the maximum number of meets permitted within a PIAA season.

The Meet Meet is a competition and the PIAA limits the number of meets for teams in a season. The PIAA limit has been 18 meets in one season. So, if a team uses all its meets, that team's swimmers would not be permitted to compete in the Meta Meet. 

No changes with the normal state championships.

Make no changes to the normal PIAA state championship meets. Continue the tradition of alternating the days for the PA AAA and AA Championship Meets. The first meet happens on Wednesday and Thursday and the other is Friday and Saturday in alternate years. The proposed change happens after the conclusion of the state meets with an extra session.

  • Diving begins in the morning and continues with some dives within the break of the swim meet and concludes after the last swimming event. Advantage: Swimmers get to see the divers.  
  • A mid-day meet allows swimmers from the Wednesday/Thursday meet time to return to the venue.
  • Swimmers in the Friday/Saturday Championship meets stay overnight and then depart after the meta meet.
  • Phase four, with the help of a couple charter buses, the meet could move out of Lewisburg's Bucknell to other venues such as Akron, home of the Ohio State Meets, or even Ohio's SPIRE or Pitt in Pittsburgh.

    6:30 am wake-up swim,
    7 am bus and breakfast (approx. a 4-hour ride)
    12 pm warm-up
    1:30 pm meet
    4 pm post-meet pot-luck
    5 pm bus back to home venue
    9 pm arrival back to Lewisburg.

Short Course, except Long Course every Olympic Year

In 2024, before the 2024 USA Olympic Trials and the Paris Olympics, plus in 2028, before the 2028 USA Olympic Trials and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, the meet is conducted in a 50-meter, LONG COURSE pool. 

The pool at Bucknell, as well as the other possible venues can all accommodate this switch to LCM from SCY. For diving, the lane lines might need to be moved, as is the case in most high school dual meets. 

The other three years, use the normal SCY format.

Liberal event offerings in a second session, post Meta Meet

To get the athletes a chance to swim other events, such as the 200 fly, 400 IM, a Meta Meet then Club Meet combo experience might be even more efficient.

  1. The first session could be the made for Network TV Meta Meet of AA vs. AAA. 
  2. The second session could be a sanctioned, club, meet of various distance with deck entries permitted.
Ponder points
  • Longer day.
  • Warm-up time / break after the Meta Meet.
  • No relays in second half.
  • Get cuts while on a taper for National Meets!
  • Repeating the same events just completed in the state championships is limiting and repetitive.

Efficiencies

  • Facility plus lodging and travel for some extends for one day.
  • Hopefully, I-League All Stars step into meet support roles as timers and with other duties. However, championship swimmers not in the Meta Meet (or only in relays) could step up and serve as timers.
  • Use a dual-meet format with fewer officials. Diving coaches judge diving. 
  • The Meta Meet has a time finals format with one heat of girls and one heat of boys.

Vision

Trusted, I-League All-Stars could come have a reward trip to the PA Meta Meet to serve as TIMERS, OFFICIAL trainees, broadcasters, volunteer coordinators. Then after the meet, before tear-down, these I-League All-Stars would have a demo event. The demo event could be a 100-free time trial, etc. 

Over-arching themes

  1. Fix what is broken.
  2. Do NOT change what is working well.
  3. Cultivate and support fast swimming (i.e., new challenges, long-course events in Olympic years.)
  4. Scale and engage more participation in efficient ways. 
  5. Build opportunities for playing well with others.
  6. Sponsors and income producing opportunities can help in other areas.
  7. Service and interactions among I-League participants and elite performers are welcomed.

The Meta Meet solves the following problems:

  1. The fastest swimmers do not go head-to-head within their state-championship races. Both PA and Ohio have the same issue with two distinct classes (or divisions).
  2. The boys and the girls are not in the same sessions at states in PA. So, they boys and girls of the same team seldom get to see each other race at states.
  3. Any extra classifications or divisions (such as a new Class A) would split the talent even further.
  4. Witnessing top performers and working at a high-level event would widen the perspectives, make for a most-interesting experience and reward devoted I-League All Star participants. Plus, a super-majority of the swimming officials would not need to stay at the venue to work another day.  
  5. Another team dynamic comes into play in the Meta Meet. High schools are represented, but so too are the swimmer's classification. All independent swimmers or lone qualifiers have no stake in the state championship team standings. In this meets, everyone has a purpose. 
  6. Since relays entered in the Meta Meet are from high school teams, coaches should bring an alternate, substitutions are permitted and the order can be adjusted. 
  7. Conventional wisdom says that less than 40-percent of swimmers at state championships are able to improve upon their seed times from districts. Perhaps that percentage improves at the Meta Meet. 
  8. The Meta Meet tests the swimmers with a format that is more similar to the Olympics and Olympic Trials with prelims, semis and finals. 

Other sports have post season All Star Games, and swimming and diving could do so too.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a comprehensive list of all high school all-star games that get national coverage. 

Football

The 2023 All-American Bowl is an annual high school football all-star game that in San Antonio, Texas.

Basketball

The 2023 McDonald’s All-American Game is an annual high school basketball all-star game. McDonald’s All-American game is considered to be the most prestigious All-Star event in high school basketball. The game is for American and Canadian boys’ and girls’ high school basketball graduates. The game consists of the top players, each team plays a single exhibition game after the conclusion of the high-school basketball season, in an East vs. West format. Many of the game’s all-time greats have made an appearance over the years, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Anthony Davis. The 2023 McDonald’s All-American game rosters have been revealed recently.

The Dapper Dan Roundball Classic was the first national All-Star basketball game for high school players founded by Sonny Vaccaro and his childhood friend in 1965. The game was played at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh where the best high school players from across the country were invited to compete. This game moved to Detroit, NC, Chicago and ended in 2007.

The 1990s saw Dapper Dan undergo dramatic and significant change. The club was re-christened as Dapper Dan Charities and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania was designated the primary beneficiary of the fundraising events. The money given to the Boys & Girls Clubs was earmarked for youth sports programs that would attract under-served urban youth into highly organized flag football, RBI baseball, basketball, hockey, field hockey, golf and wrestling leagues. In addition to basketball, there are also Dapper Dan all-star games for wrestling and football.

The Capital Classic high school basketball All-Star game is an annual event that features some of the best high school basketball players in the country. The game is sponsored by Under Armour Inc. and takes place at the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center1.

The Show Basketball Allstar game which has been running since 2001 and is a great tradition for high school basketball1.

Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game high school basketball showcase at Thomas More University in Kentucky.

GEICO ESPN High School Basketball Showcase which features some of the top high school basketball teams in the country.

Wrestling

The former Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic is now  the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic, an annual event that pits the best wrestlers in Pennsylvania against top wrestlers from throughout the nation. The first event is the WPIAL vs. Ohio. The event is considered to be the most prestigious high school all-star wrestling meet in the country. Each year, the best wrestlers in the WPIAL match up against the best in a selected state with the main event featuring the best in Pennsylvania against the country’s best wrestlers. The event was held at AHN Arena at Peters Township High School in McMurray, Pennsylvania. Title sponsor in 2023 is United States Steel Corporation.

Cheerleading

The 2023 NCA All-Star National Championship is a cheerleading competition that will be held in February 2023.

Possible points of Compromise

With many of the other post season high school All-Start events, participation is limited to the graduating seniors. Perhaps that would be a point for further discussion so as to include the best of the best and allow those in 9th, 10th and 11th grade to participate too.

With the new NIL opportunities, perhaps a showcase for the students could be established. NIL money might be able to be shared with athletes and help to finance parts of the meet's expenses.

Future Steps (in no particular order)

  1. Historical data is welcomed to uncover mythical champions among the AA and AAA top performers, as well as the Ohio's Division 1 and Division 2. 
  2. Historical data is welcomed to uncover how the PA vs. Ohio meets would have unfolded too.
  3. An email was sent to the past, current and future president of the Ohio HS Coaches Association. That organization holds it next conference in the fall of 2023. Perhaps a planning delegation from PA could attend the Ohio conference and continue discussions.
  4. Talks with facilities must occur. Perhaps a bid package can be constructed for internal review.
  5. Talks with the Governing Bodies to ascertain their support is critical.
  6. Draft budgets need to be prepared.

Dates of the Ohio and PA State Championships

Year

Ohio HS States

at C.T. Branin Natatorium in Canton, Ohio

PA HS States

Bucknell Univ in Lewisburg, PA

2017

?

March 15-18

2018

Feb 15-17

March 15-18
AA then AAA

2019

February 20-23

March 13-16

2020

?

Covid
March 11-14

2021

Feb 25-27

March 17-21
AA then AAA

2022

Feb 20-25

March 15-19

2023

Feb 21-25

March 14-18

AA then AAA

2024

?

?

Make and read the comments at the bottom of the page.

  • Ohio coach suggests a mid-season meet.

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Insert YOUR comments in the box at the bottom of this -- and all the other pages. Questions. Insights. re-writes, whatever.

Swim, water polo and SKWIM coach in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Also the webmaster for the International Swim Coaches Association.

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  • A coach from Ohio emailed:

    Thanks Mark for the note, I think this is a fantastic idea and would be a lot of fun for sure. My thought is what about a mid winter meet instead of post season just due to the timing of it. Might be something fun and could use the highest state meet returning finishers from the prior year. I would be happy to help in anyway and I think it would be something fun and different. Anyways, hope we can get you in to chat. Have a good weekend.

    • Humm. Interesting idea.
      I think the attraction of hitting the same weekend of a high school state’s taper is going to raise compelling support for out PA coaches, especially in an Olympic Trials year when the meet should go LCM.
      But, doing both (mid-winter & post season) might be a thing? Mid season and post season would really build the hype and institutional awareness. The travel for 1 kid (or a relay) from the eastern side or western side of our respective states for a school swim event might be a bigger burden and then there is some snow worries too.
      Plus, ISCA just began a National Club Championship Cup Meet in midwinter. https://swimisca.org/save-the-date/national-club-championship-cup-2023/

      What about a more localized, mid-winter meet that could fly under the radar and be within a day-trip? Say the WPIAL (PA District 7) vs NE Ohio? Rankings from the prior state meet makes great sense. But, why not the whole state. I’m trying to jump on the bus of INCLUSION. Kids (and schools) could evaluate their intention to compete in early December. If somebody passes — then go out with an invite to the next in line. Allow them 24 hours to confirm they are considering and give an extension for another 24 hours if necessary to decide.
      Pittsburgh does have a rather large club meet — Pitt Christmas Meet — prior to Christmas.
      Wonder what dates make the most sense.
      Ohio’s mid-season comes sooner than PA’s by a few weeks.

      • An Ohio coach emailed, again:

        Just throwing out some ideas, I know the end of the HS season the club coaches want their kids back for Champs, NCSA, ISCA, Sectionals, etc. I think we are on to something and could make it really cool.

  • Suggestion from a IL friend:

    Hold the All-Star Meet with Ohio & PA swimmers at the Ohio State Pool.

    Reaction: When the OSU pool was built, it is said that the late Coach Wadley’s intentions were to NOT have the OSU pool as a host for the Ohio HS Championships — so goes the rumor. But, an All-Star meet is not a state meet.
    OSU is further west than AKRON, so it would be a little more travel for the PA folks.

  • The swim and dive specific element to drive home to the PIAA, (not a global fact that applies to all other sports) is that swim and dive athletes often have legit shots to make the USA National / Olympic Team(s). It is better to not bend the rules for one, but do it in a universal way so all who come along can benefit.

    Also, some kids choose to by-pass the experience of being on their school teams in Olympic years. Two from Stanford just announced such a move. So, it happens at colleges and high schools. It is better to have those kids at the top of the sport in our realm, and to do that, a few accommodations are in good order.

    If we could do a long course meters one-day meet the day after states and have those kids swim as the high school athletes that they are — not club just yet — that would be great prestige for PIAA and the high schools. It is a tiny ask (an extra day in the official season) for a big gain, IMHO.

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